[ 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

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 Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for brevity

British Dictionary definitions for brevity


/ (ˈbrɛvɪtɪ) /

noun plural -ties

conciseness of expression; lack of verbosity
a short duration; brief time

Word Origin for brevity

C16: from Latin brevitās shortness, from brevis brief
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

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