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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 sententiously
Historical Examples
  • "Your tears will not restore your son to you," sententiously observed Olivier.

    Therese Raquin Emile Zola
  • "The King, Monsieur, never dies," said Cadoux sententiously.

    The Trampling of the Lilies Rafael Sabatini
  • "Whatever his Lordship agrees to," the gardener replied, sententiously.

    The Market-Place Harold Frederic
  • "Coffee is better without sugar," said Charles-Norton, sententiously.

    The Trimming of Goosie James Hopper
  • "Well, take care you don't wait too long," said Hoare, sententiously.

    Roland Cashel Charles James Lever
  • "Read it, and you 'll know all," said the other, sententiously.

    Davenport Dunn, Volume 1 (of 2) Charles James Lever
  • “Nothing but Indians and buffalo,” said Younkins, sententiously.

    The Boy Settlers

    Noah Brooks
  • "The downfall of an enemy is the consolation of the unfortunate," said Babalatchi, sententiously.

  • "A man always wants money, sir," said M'Caskey, sententiously.

    Tony Butler Charles James Lever
  • "He was wise when he knew it," said she, sententiously, and continued her work.

    Barrington Charles James Lever
British Dictionary definitions for sententiously


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 sententiously



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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