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[sen-ten-shuh s] /sɛnˈtɛn ʃəs/
abounding in pithy aphorisms or maxims:
a sententious book.
given to excessive moralizing; self-righteous.
given to or using pithy sayings or maxims:
a sententious poet.
of the nature of a maxim; pithy.
Origin of sententious
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English < Latin sententiōsus meaningful. See sentence, -ous
Related forms
sententiously, adverb
sententiousness, sententiosity
[sen-ten-shee-os-i-tee] /sɛnˌtɛn ʃiˈɒs ɪ ti/ (Show IPA),
nonsententious, adjective
nonsententiously, adverb
nonsententiousness, noun
unsententious, adjective
unsententiously, adverb
unsententiousness, noun
2. preachy, didactic, sanctimonious, moralistic. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for sententious
Historical Examples
  • His language has the richness and sententious fullness of the Chinese.

    The Last of the Mohicans James Fenimore Cooper
  • "Such do the most ill," Colonel John retorted, with sententious severity.

    The Wild Geese Stanley John Weyman
  • "Grieved to hear it, Mr. Carew," was the grave, sententious reply.

    Sir Jasper Carew Charles James Lever
  • Its short, sententious sentences were altogether to his mind.

    The Golden Shoemaker

    J. W. Keyworth
  • "That's lucky," was the sententious comment of the old doctor.

    Three People Pansy
  • Maria spoke in a sort of sententious wisdom which did not satisfy me at all.

    Daisy Elizabeth Wetherell
  • "You can not always believe what you read," was the sententious rejoinder.

    Hester's Counterpart Jean K. Baird
  • I don't mean to be sententious, but this is the death-grapple that is coming.

    Before the Dawn Joseph Alexander Altsheler
  • "Avarice supersedes enterprise," added the sententious Augustus.

    Paul Clifford, Complete Edward Bulwer-Lytton
  • "I am glad to have proved the strength of my brother," was the sententious reply.

    Prisoners of Hope Mary Johnston
British Dictionary definitions for sententious


characterized by or full of aphorisms, terse pithy sayings, or axioms
constantly using aphorisms, etc
tending to indulge in pompous moralizing
Derived Forms
sententiously, adverb
sententiousness, noun
Word Origin
C15: from Latin sententiōsus full of meaning, from sententia; see sentence
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 sententious

mid-15c., "full of meaning," from Middle French sententieux, from Latin sententiosus "full of meaning, pithy," from sententia "thought; expression of a thought" (see sentence (n.)). Meaning "addicted to pompous moralizing" first recorded 1590s. Related: Sententiously; sententiousness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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