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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 sententiously
Historical Examples
  • "People always gain by talking with a man like your Excellency," sententiously replied Mataseis.

    The Flying Horseman Gustave Aimard
  • "Your tears will not restore your son to you," sententiously observed Olivier.

    Therese Raquin Emile Zola
  • "Them that have little harm in themselves are sometimes the cause of plenty of harm to others," she said, sententiously.

    A Widow's Tale and Other Stories Mrs. (Margaret) Oliphant
  • "The King, Monsieur, never dies," said Cadoux sententiously.

    The Trampling of the Lilies Rafael Sabatini
  • “Plenty sick now,” said the chief, sententiously, motioning toward the spot where the whale had disappeared.

    The Young Alaskans Emerson Hough
  • "The downfall of an enemy is the consolation of the unfortunate," said Babalatchi, sententiously.

  • "Esau was the brother of Israel," answered Manasseh sententiously.

    The King of Schnorrers Israel Zangwill
  • "He was wise when he knew it," said she, sententiously, and continued her work.

    Barrington Charles James Lever
  • "It is right to pray, but we must beware of presumptuousness in our prayers," said Mrs. Veale sententiously.

  • "Eaten bread is soon forgotten," says he, sententiously, during a pause.

    Molly Bawn Margaret Wolfe Hamilton
British Dictionary definitions for sententiously


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 sententiously



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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