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Pithy

Pithy is an adjective to describe something or someone as being particularly good with words in a way uses few words and is clever. There is sometimes an associated level of enthusiasm about the words or the person declaring them. Something can be pithier and the pithiest. The adverb form is pithily and the noun form is pithiness.

The adjective, pithy, may also be describing something or someone has having a lot of pith.

Pith has several varied definitions. Foremost, it is the white layer between citrus rind and the fruit itself. It can also be the core or idea of something. It also carries the meaning of pithy that is economy and cleverness with words.


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One can pith a citrus fruit by removing the pith. In the medical field specifically, pith is a verb that means to kill an animal by severing the spinal cord.

Examples

Some of the most popular faux verses are pithy paraphrases of biblical concepts or bits of folk wisdom. [CNN]

As for his compositions, they fuse together straight-ahead jazz melodiousness, pithy funk bass motifs and a delightful eccentricity. [The Telegraph]

As the company has matured, we’ve consciously moved to a slightly more deliberate pace of work (let’s call it “moving at a nice clip and breaking fewer things”, pithier version forthcoming). [Forbes]

The shortest – and pithiest – comment came from Graydon Carter, of Vanity Fair, who called his subject “a tinkerer, a diarist, a rake, a prince, an earl and a crusader” – his tart words accompanying an image of Snowdon in profile by Robert Mapplethorpe, taken in 1979. [Vogue]

Regardless, to my mind, The Casual Vacancy was pithily and ornately scripted, played out by the cream of British acting talent, and, vitally, it was a fine go at tackling rural class war and parish corruption. [Belfast Telegraph]

‘I spend my life doing things I keep trying to forget.’ There’s a great, appealing pithiness to that line—it’s beautifully phrased—and yet it’s complicated enough that after several readings you still feel you can explore it further. [The Atlantic]

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