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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 tersely
  • He spent only a couple of minutes with media and spoke softly and tersely.
  • These shortcomings were recognized and described tersely on occasion.
  • These arguments, raised tersely in the government reply brief, may or may not have some basis in law and logic.
  • So if you all could answer her remaining questions as tersely as you can.
British Dictionary definitions for tersely


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 tersely



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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