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[pith-ee] /ˈpɪθ i/
adjective, pithier, pithiest.
brief, forceful, and meaningful in expression; full of vigor, substance, or meaning; terse; forcible:
a pithy observation.
of, like, or abounding in pith.
Origin of pithy
Middle English word dating back to 1300-50; See origin at pith, -y1
Related forms
pithily, adverb
pithiness, noun
1. succinct, pointed, meaty, concise. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for pithy
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The form of his judgment had to be pithy, striking, engraved within a ring.

  • Hamlet saw that pithy old Polonius was a preposterous and orotund ass.


    Christopher Morley
  • I crystallized my ideas into pithy sentences which a child could have understood.

    Love Among the Chickens P. G. Wodehouse
  • Immense was the applause that followed the short, pithy speech of the Bourgeois.

    The Golden Dog William Kirby
  • I particularly enjoyed the pithy judgment in about five words on Comte.

British Dictionary definitions for pithy


adjective pithier, pithiest
terse and full of meaning or substance
of, resembling, or full of pith
Derived Forms
pithily, adverb
pithiness, noun
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 pithy

early 14c., "strong, vigorous," from pith (n.) + -y (2). Meaning "full of substance or significance" is from 1520s; literal meaning "full of pith" not attested until 1560s. Related: Pithily; pithiness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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