Definitions

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

  • adj. Brief and to the point; effectively concise: a terse one-word answer.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Polished, burnished; smooth; fine, neat, spruce.
  • adj. Brief, concise, to the point.
  • adj. Abruptly or brusquely short.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Appearing as if rubbed or wiped off; rubbed; smooth; polished.
  • adj. Refined; accomplished; -- said of persons.
  • adj. Elegantly concise; free of superfluous words; polished to smoothness.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Wiped; rubbed; appearing as if wiped or rubbed; smooth.
  • Refined; accomplished; polished: said of persons.
  • Free from superfluity; neatly or elegantly compact or concise; neat; concise.
  • n. See terce.

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

  • adj. brief and to the point; effectively cut short

Etymologies

Latin tersus, past participle of tergēre, to cleanse.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From the year 1599, from French ters ("clean"), from Latin tersus ("cleansed; neat, spruce"), perfect passive participle of tergō ("I rub, wipe, cleanse"). (Wiktionary)

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