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[turs] /tɜrs/
adjective, terser, tersest.
neatly or effectively concise; brief and pithy, as language.
abruptly concise; curt; brusque.
Origin of terse
1595-1605; < Latin tersus, past participle of tergēre to rub off, wipe off, clean, polish
Related forms
tersely, adverb
terseness, noun
unterse, adjective
untersely, adverb
unterseness, noun
1. succinct, compact, neat, concentrated. 1, 2. See concise. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for terse
  • My comments on the first manuscript were fairly terse and probably about a page long.
  • In the past security officers were usually terse ex-military types who wore holsters and brush cuts.
  • The film's style is so economical it seems almost terse.
  • Previously, officials limited themselves to terse announcements of such deaths.
  • And he had a unique knack of putting ideas into a few terse arresting words and phrases.
  • These beautifully illustrated books tell a wonderful story in two-word rhymes-terse verse.
  • To make a tedious tale tolerably terse, the appellant left that day and never returned.
British Dictionary definitions for terse


neatly brief and concise
curt; abrupt
Derived Forms
tersely, adverb
terseness, noun
Word Origin
C17: from Latin tersus precise, from tergēre to polish
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 terse

1590s (implied in tersely), "clean-cut, burnished, neat," from French ters "clean," from Latin tersus "wiped off, clean, neat," from past participle of tergere "to rub, polish, wipe." Sense of "concise or pithy in style or language" is from 1777, which led to a general sense of "neatly concise." The pejorative meaning "brusque" is a fairly recent development. Related: Terseness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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terse in Technology

Language for decryption of hardware logic.
["Hardware Logic Simulation by Compilation", C. Hansen, 25th ACM/IEEE Design Automation Conf, 1988].

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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