Terse Terse, a. [Compar. {Terser}; superl. {Tersest}.] [L. tersus, p. p. of tergere to rub or wipe off.] 1. Appearing as if rubbed or wiped off; rubbed; smooth; polished. [Obs.] [1913 Webster]

Many stones, . . . although terse and smooth, have not this power attractive. --Sir T. Browne. [1913 Webster]

2. Refined; accomplished; -- said of persons. [R. & Obs.] ``Your polite and terse gallants.'' --Massinger. [1913 Webster]

3. Elegantly concise; free of superfluous words; polished to smoothness; as, terse language; a terse style. [1913 Webster]

Terse, luminous, and dignified eloquence. --Macaulay. [1913 Webster]

A poet, too, was there, whose verse Was tender, musical, and terse. --Longfellow. [1913 Webster]

Syn: Neat; concise; compact.

Usage: {Terse}, {Concise}. Terse was defined by Johnson ``cleanly written'', i. e., free from blemishes, neat or smooth. Its present sense is ``free from excrescences,'' and hence, compact, with smoothness, grace, or elegance, as in the following lones of Whitehead: [1913 Webster]

``In eight terse lines has Ph[ae]drus told (So frugal were the bards of old) A tale of goats; and closed with grace, Plan, moral, all, in that short space.'' [1913 Webster] It differs from concise in not implying, perhaps, quite as much condensation, but chiefly in the additional idea of ``grace or elegance.'' [1913 Webster] -- {Terse"ly}, adv. -- {Terse"ness}, n. [1913 Webster]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • terse — terse …   Dictionnaire des rimes

  • terse — [ tɜrs ] adjective a terse statement or remark is very short and often shows that the person making it is annoyed ╾ terse|ly adverb ╾ terse|ness noun uncount …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • terse´ly — terse «turs», adjective, ters|er, ters|est. brief and to the point (said of writing and speaking, or writers and speakers): »“No” was Father s terse reply when I asked to play after bedtime. SYNONYM(S): See syn. under concise. (Cf. ↑concise …   Useful english dictionary

  • terse — [tə:s US tə:rs] adj [Date: 1600 1700; : Latin; Origin: tersus clean, neat , from tergere to wipe off ] a terse reply, message etc uses very few words and often shows that you are annoyed ▪ Derek s terse reply ended the conversation. >tersely… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • terse — terse; terse·ly; terse·ness; …   English syllables

  • terse — index cohesive (compact), compact (pithy), laconic, pithy, sententious, succinct Burton s Legal Thesauru …   Law dictionary

  • terse — (adj.) 1590s (implied in tersely), clean cut, burnished, neat, from Fr. ters clean, from L. tersus wiped off, clean, neat, from pp. of tergere to rub, polish, wipe. Sense of concise or pithy in style or language is from 1777, which led to a… …   Etymology dictionary

  • terse — *concise, succinct, laconic, summary, pithy, compendious Analogous words: *brief, short: compact, *close: *expressive, sententious, meaningful: *incisive, crisp, clear cut …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • terse — [adj] brief, short abrupt, aphoristic, boiled down*, breviloquent, brusque, clear cut, clipped, close, compact, compendiary, compendious, concise, condensed, crisp, cryptic, curt, cut to the bone*, elliptical, epigrammatic, exact, gnomic, in a… …   New thesaurus

  • terse — ► ADJECTIVE (terser, tersest) ▪ sparing in the use of words; abrupt. DERIVATIVES tersely adverb terseness noun. ORIGIN originally in the sense «polished, trim»: from Latin tersus wiped, polished …   English terms dictionary