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[sen-ten-shuh s] /sɛnˈtɛn ʃəs/
abounding in pithy aphorisms or maxims:
a sententious book.
given to excessive moralizing; self-righteous.
given to or using pithy sayings or maxims:
a sententious poet.
of the nature of a maxim; pithy.
Origin of sententious
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English < Latin sententiōsus meaningful. See sentence, -ous
Related forms
sententiously, adverb
sententiousness, sententiosity
[sen-ten-shee-os-i-tee] /sɛnˌtɛn ʃiˈɒs ɪ ti/ (Show IPA),
nonsententious, adjective
nonsententiously, adverb
nonsententiousness, noun
unsententious, adjective
unsententiously, adverb
unsententiousness, noun
2. preachy, didactic, sanctimonious, moralistic. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for sententious
Historical Examples
  • A proverb is a short, sententious saying, in the nature of a maxim, connoting a definite truth or suggestion by comparison.

    Jesus the Christ James Edward Talmage
  • His language has the richness and sententious fullness of the Chinese.

    The Last of the Mohicans James Fenimore Cooper
  • He combined the realistic modern method with the bitter, ironical, sententious method of Thackeray.

    Personality in Literature Rolfe Arnold Scott-James
  • "Grieved to hear it, Mr. Carew," was the grave, sententious reply.

    Sir Jasper Carew Charles James Lever
  • His sententious commonplaces were reported as so many oracular revelations dragged reluctantly from him.

    An Englishman in Paris Albert D. (Albert Dresden) Vandam
  • "Such do the most ill," Colonel John retorted, with sententious severity.

    The Wild Geese Stanley John Weyman
  • "I was never corrupted," said the other, with a sententious gravity whose hypocrisy was palpable.

    That Boy Of Norcott's Charles James Lever
  • Its short, sententious sentences were altogether to his mind.

    The Golden Shoemaker J. W. Keyworth
  • Some conversation next succeeded, delivered in brief, sententious remarks, when the old chief again turned to us.

    The Chainbearer J. Fenimore Cooper
  • Maria spoke in a sort of sententious wisdom which did not satisfy me at all.

    Daisy Elizabeth Wetherell
British Dictionary definitions for sententious


characterized by or full of aphorisms, terse pithy sayings, or axioms
constantly using aphorisms, etc
tending to indulge in pompous moralizing
Derived Forms
sententiously, adverb
sententiousness, noun
Word Origin
C15: from Latin sententiōsus full of meaning, from sententia; see sentence
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
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Word Origin and History for sententious

mid-15c., "full of meaning," from Middle French sententieux, from Latin sententiosus "full of meaning, pithy," from sententia "thought; expression of a thought" (see sentence (n.)). Meaning "addicted to pompous moralizing" first recorded 1590s. Related: Sententiously; sententiousness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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