from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The quality or state of being brief in duration.
  • n. Concise expression; terseness.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The quality of being brief in duration.
  • n. Succinctness; conciseness.
  • n. A short piece of writing.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Shortness of duration; briefness of time.
  • n. Contraction into few words; conciseness.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Shortness; especially, surprising or excessive curtailment of the thing spoken of: as, the brevity of human life. Specifically
  • n. Shortness in speech or writing; conciseness; condensation into few words.
  • n. Synonyms Compression, terseness, pithiness, succinctness, condensation, sententiousness, curtness.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the use of brief expressions
  • n. the attribute of being brief or fleeting


Latin brevitās, from brevis, short; see brief.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
First attested in English in 1509; either: (Wiktionary)



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  • Let me explain something to you. Um, I am not "Mr. Lebowski". You're Mr. Lebowski. I'm the Dude. So that's what you call me. You know, that or, uh, His Dudeness, or uh, Duder, or El Duderino if you're not into the whole brevity thing.

    July 18, 2010

  • ... is the soul of wit.

    December 17, 2006