terse (adj.) 1590s (implied in tersely), "clean-cut, burnished, neat," from Fr. ters "clean," from L. tersus "wiped off, clean, neat," from pp. 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.

Etymology dictionary. 2014.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • terse — terse …   Dictionnaire des rimes

  • Terse — Terse, a. [Compar. {Terser}; superl. {Tersest}.] [L. tersus, p. p. of tergere to rub or wipe off.] 1. Appearing as if rubbed or wiped off; rubbed; smooth; polished. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] Many stones, . . . although terse and smooth, have not this …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • terse — [ tɜrs ] adjective a terse statement or remark is very short and often shows that the person making it is annoyed ╾ terse|ly adverb ╾ terse|ness noun uncount …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • terse´ly — terse «turs», adjective, ters|er, ters|est. brief and to the point (said of writing and speaking, or writers and speakers): »“No” was Father s terse reply when I asked to play after bedtime. SYNONYM(S): See syn. under concise. (Cf. ↑concise …   Useful english dictionary

  • terse — [tə:s US tə:rs] adj [Date: 1600 1700; : Latin; Origin: tersus clean, neat , from tergere to wipe off ] a terse reply, message etc uses very few words and often shows that you are annoyed ▪ Derek s terse reply ended the conversation. >tersely… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • terse — terse; terse·ly; terse·ness; …   English syllables

  • terse — index cohesive (compact), compact (pithy), laconic, pithy, sententious, succinct Burton s Legal Thesauru …   Law dictionary

  • terse — *concise, succinct, laconic, summary, pithy, compendious Analogous words: *brief, short: compact, *close: *expressive, sententious, meaningful: *incisive, crisp, clear cut …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • terse — [adj] brief, short abrupt, aphoristic, boiled down*, breviloquent, brusque, clear cut, clipped, close, compact, compendiary, compendious, concise, condensed, crisp, cryptic, curt, cut to the bone*, elliptical, epigrammatic, exact, gnomic, in a… …   New thesaurus

  • terse — ► ADJECTIVE (terser, tersest) ▪ sparing in the use of words; abrupt. DERIVATIVES tersely adverb terseness noun. ORIGIN originally in the sense «polished, trim»: from Latin tersus wiped, polished …   English terms dictionary