Can someone please explain to me what "pithy" means and what does the phrase specifically refer to?
Talia, pithy is generally a synonym for "concise" usually referring to "substance" within a written work, or essay. In slang terms a rough comparison might be made to the term "meaty" when it refers to depth of thought, or a well substantiated argument.
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e.g.: The lawyer authored a pithy presentation intended to sway the jury.
e.g.: The student's essay was full of generalizations and lacked a pithy thesis.
Edited 5 time(s). Last edit at 07/15/2006 03:52AM by lg.
Pith being he choicest or most essential or most vital part of some idea or experience.
I'm not sure Johnny, but my guess is that it has the same root as "pit", as in olive pit, or cherry pit.
same root yes, but was two separate words as far back as old english
It was a pithy question.
Pith is also the botanical term for the soft centre of plants eg in reeds - the stuff you remove to make a whistle, similar soft material, like the white lining under orange peel and also the spinal cord (or marrow) - hence pith's more general meaning of 'essence'. Pith helmets used to be made of a pith-like soft wood, as did floats and canoes.
I never took to time to think through where Pith Helmets got the name.
Makes sense now !
Not like they were taking a pith in them or anything
And then there's "pithing a frog", when you mash its brain with a needle ready for dissecting.
Linda, I'm surprised that definition does not appear in more of the dictionaries I found online as it does here:
COD and Chambers both include it.
pith // n. & v.
1 spongy white tissue lining the rind of an orange, lemon, etc.
2 the essential part; the quintessence (came to the pith of his argument).
3 Bot. the spongy cellular tissue in the stems and branches of dicotyledonous plants.
4 a physical strength; vigour. b force; energy.
5 archaic spinal marrow.
1 remove the pith or marrow from.
2 slaughter or immobilize (an animal) by severing the spinal cord.
[Old English pitha, from West Germanic]
Linda, I'm sure the reason so many online dictionaries do NOT have the definition you provided above is that I typed in "pithy" as the key word and not "pith", see the examples here: [www.onelook.com] />
Just wondering, why did you made "Keep it pithy" the title of your post?
Oh ok...I avoid him whenever possible
He is doing a good job at spreading the phrase. I want one of those t-shirts.