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

Synonyms for brevity

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.

Antonyms for brevity

1, 2. length. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for brevity

Contemporary Examples of brevity

Historical Examples of brevity

  • More I could add, but brevity is best;-- These are our claims to honour you as Guest.

  • In a few words, for brevity was easy to him, Andrew told the story of their disaster.

    Salted With Fire

    George MacDonald

  • The Baroness listened to them without interest, and answered them with brevity.

    Vivian Grey

    Earl of Beaconsfield, Benjamin Disraeli

  • “Costumes for the maskenball,” I answered, taking refuge in brevity of reply.

    The First Violin

    Jessie Fothergill

  • I am explaining that this Lacedaemonian brevity was the style of primitive philosophy.

British Dictionary definitions for brevity


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