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[brev-i-tee] /ˈbrɛv ɪ ti/
shortness of time or duration; briefness:
the brevity of human life.
the quality of expressing much in few words; terseness:
Ironically, it is long-winded Polonius in Shakespeare's Hamlet who famously says that brevity is the soul of wit.
Origin of brevity
1500-10; < Anglo-French brevite, Old French brievete. See brief, -ity
2. compactness, succinctness, pithiness.
1, 2. length.
Synonym Study
2. Brevity, conciseness refer to the use of few words in speaking. Brevity emphasizes the short duration of speech: a response reduced to extreme brevity. Conciseness emphasizes compactness of expression: Her prose is clear in spite of great conciseness. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for brevity
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • More I could add, but brevity is best;-- These are our claims to honour you as Guest.

  • In a few words, for brevity was easy to him, Andrew told the story of their disaster.

    Salted With Fire George MacDonald
  • The Baroness listened to them without interest, and answered them with brevity.

    Vivian Grey Earl of Beaconsfield, Benjamin Disraeli
  • “Costumes for the maskenball,” I answered, taking refuge in brevity of reply.

    The First Violin Jessie Fothergill
  • I am explaining that this Lacedaemonian brevity was the style of primitive philosophy.

    Protagoras Plato
British Dictionary definitions for brevity


noun (pl) -ties
conciseness of expression; lack of verbosity
a short duration; brief time
Word Origin
C16: from Latin brevitās shortness, from brevisbrief
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for brevity

c.1500, from Latin brevitatem (nominative brevitas) "shortness" in space or time, from brevis "short" (see brief (adj.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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