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adjective, pith·i·er, pith·i·est.
  1. brief, forceful, and meaningful in expression; full of vigor, substance, or meaning; terse; forcible: a pithy observation.
  2. of, like, or abounding in pith.

Origin of pithy

Middle English word dating back to 1300–50; see origin at pith, -y1
Related formspith·i·ly, adverbpith·i·ness, noun

Synonyms for pithy

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for pithy

Contemporary Examples of pithy

Historical Examples of pithy

  • The form of his judgment had to be pithy, striking, engraved within a ring.

  • Hamlet saw that pithy old Polonius was a preposterous and orotund ass.


    Christopher Morley

  • I crystallized my ideas into pithy sentences which a child could have understood.

  • Immense was the applause that followed the short, pithy speech of the Bourgeois.

    The Golden Dog

    William Kirby

  • I particularly enjoyed the pithy judgment in about five words on Comte.

British Dictionary definitions for pithy


adjective pithier or pithiest
  1. terse and full of meaning or substance
  2. of, resembling, or full of pith
Derived Formspithily, adverbpithiness, noun
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 pithy

early 14c., "strong, vigorous," from pith (n.) + -y (2). Meaning "full of substance or significance" is from 1520s; literal meaning "full of pith" not attested until 1560s. Related: Pithily; pithiness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper