short and sweet


Satisfyingly brief and pertinent, as in When we asked about the coming merger, the chairman's answer was short and sweet—it wasn't going to happen. This expression was already proverbial in 1539, when it appeared in Richard Taverner's translation of Erasmus's Adagia. Over the years it was occasionally amplified, as in James Kelly's Scottish Proverbs (1721): “Better short and sweet than long and lax.”

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.