pithier; pithiest
: consisting of or abounding in pith
: having substance and point : tersely cogent
pithily adverb
pithiness noun
Choose the Right Synonym for pithy

concise, terse, succinct, laconic, summary, pithy, compendious mean very brief in statement or expression.

concise suggests the removal of all that is superfluous or elaborative.

a concise description

terse implies pointed conciseness.

a terse reply

succinct implies the greatest possible compression.

a succinct letter of resignation

laconic implies brevity to the point of seeming rude, indifferent, or mysterious.

an aloof and laconic stranger

summary suggests the statement of main points with no elaboration or explanation.

a summary listing of the year's main events

pithy adds to succinct or terse the implication of richness of meaning or substance.

a comedy sharpened by pithy one-liners

compendious applies to what is at once full in scope and brief and concise in treatment.

a compendious dictionary

Example Sentences

… Gore's prowess had been blurred by his performance in the Quayle debate and by his four preceding years in the Senate, where the prevailing style is indirect and woolly-swathed in layers of "my distinguished colleague" and short on zingers and pithy remarks. James Fallows, Atlantic, July 2000 I read my poems in L.A., chatted up the literary set, waxed pithy and beleaguered at the book signings and wine and cheese receptions. Thomas Lynch, The Undertaking, 1997 He does not hold forth to his family or to his court of old men; he listens,  … then delivers short, pithy edicts that are then followed. Guy Martin, Esquire, June 1997 Unlike a great many other science books, the pithy, lyrical text never bogs down in a mudflat of facts. Leonard S. Marcus, Parenting, December/January 1996 The critic gave the film a pithy review. The book is filled with pithy sayings about love and loss. a pithy little Mother's Day card See More
Recent Examples on the Web The great man deserves something far more pithy and trenchant. David Benedict, Variety, 13 Dec. 2022 But chef, food writer, and YouTube star Sohla El-Waylly is the show’s MVP, dispensing blunt, pithy, yet never nasty feedback that reflects her own high culinary standards rather than any desire to humiliate the lovable cast. Time, 29 Nov. 2022 Posts have a five-hundred-character limit rather than Twitter’s two hundred and eighty, so people often communicate in short paragraphs rather than in pithy one-liners. Kyle Chayka, The New Yorker, 22 Nov. 2022 Each of these presidential expressions is pithy and powerful—and captures large truths in few words. Jon Meacham, Town & Country, 30 Oct. 2022 For instance, a pithy song that rhymes and repeats is probably more memorable than a long, winding one. Julie Beck, The Atlantic, 8 Nov. 2022 There are no memorable lines, witty jokes, or pithy observations whereby characters muse in a way that allows the playwright to make a larger point about the human experience. Jesse Eisenberg, The New Yorker, 7 Nov. 2022 On the question of where to start to address L.A.’s homelessness problem, Caruso acknowledged that there are no easy solutions or pithy 10-point plans to quickly alleviate the humanitarian nightmare. Cynthia Littleton, Variety, 13 Oct. 2022 The hospital’s website is loaded with pithy phrases to reassure patients: Trust us. Vernal Coleman, ProPublica, 12 Oct. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pithy.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History


see pith entry 1

First Known Use

1529, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of pithy was in 1529

Dictionary Entries Near pithy

Cite this Entry

“Pithy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pithy. Accessed 7 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition


pithier; pithiest
: consisting of or filled with pith
: being short and to the point
a pithy saying
pithily adverb
pithiness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on pithy

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