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[turs] /tɜrs/
adjective, terser, tersest.
neatly or effectively concise; brief and pithy, as language.
abruptly concise; curt; brusque.
Origin of terse
1595-1605; < Latin tersus, past participle of tergēre to rub off, wipe off, clean, polish
Related forms
tersely, adverb
terseness, noun
unterse, adjective
untersely, adverb
unterseness, noun
1. succinct, compact, neat, concentrated.
Synonym Study
1, 2. See concise. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for tersely
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • "Now stop this nerve strain and this foolishness," he said tersely.

    Her Father's Daughter Gene Stratton-Porter
  • "That I have the jewels," he told her tersely, looking straight ahead.

    The Black Bag Louis Joseph Vance
  • As Susan so tersely expressed it, they would "canvass the nation for freedom."

    Susan B. Anthony Alma Lutz
  • "Not lack of brains, but lack of money," she tersely replied.

    Susan B. Anthony Alma Lutz
  • The conditions of a well bound book may be tersely enumerated.

    The Library Andrew Lang
  • "The eleventh android," he said tersely, and strode out of the laboratory.

    Ten From Infinity Paul W. Fairman
  • "Shootin' up Tcherekin," he said tersely, and Malinkoff's eyebrows rose.

    The Book of All-Power Edgar Wallace
British Dictionary definitions for tersely


neatly brief and concise
curt; abrupt
Derived Forms
tersely, adverb
terseness, noun
Word Origin
C17: from Latin tersus precise, from tergēre to polish
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 tersely



1590s (implied in tersely), "clean-cut, burnished, neat," from French ters "clean," from Latin tersus "wiped off, clean, neat," from past participle of tergere "to rub, polish, wipe." Sense of "concise or pithy in style or language" is from 1777, which led to a general sense of "neatly concise." The pejorative meaning "brusque" is a fairly recent development. Related: Terseness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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