May 18, 2016
- pithy (adjective)
- What does it mean?
- 1 : consisting of or filled with the loose spongy tissue that forms the center of the stem in most plants2 : being short and to the point
- How do you use it?
- Mrs. Taggart was amused by our group's pithy summary of Shakespeare's play _Hamlet_ as "the story of a prince who fakes insanity after the death of his father."
- Are you a word wiz?
The writer of today's example sentence could have used a few other words in place of "pithy." Which of the following could NOT have been used without changing the meaning of the sentence?We'll get to the point: answer D is correct. "Verbose" means "using more words than are needed" and so is an antonym of "pithy." The other choices all mean very brief in statement or expression and so are synonyms of "pithy." Use "concise" to suggest the removal of all that is superfluous or elaborative, as in "a concise description." "Terse" is best used to imply a pointed conciseness, for example, "a terse reply." Choose "succinct" to imply the greatest possible compression, as in "a succinct letter of resignation." And "pithy" adds to "terse" and "succinct" the implication of richness of meaning or substance, as in "a comedy sharpened by pithy one-liners."