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From Latin Laconia, from Ancient Greek Λακεδαίμων (Lakedaímōn, the region surrounding the city of Sparta)


laconism (countable and uncountable, plural laconisms)

  1. (uncountable, rhetoric) Extreme brevity in expression.
    • 1886, Thomas Hardy, The Mayor of Casterbridge, Chapter 20,[1]
      “Well, where have you been?” he said to her with offhand laconism.
    • 1995, Steve Wulf, “The Passing of an Era,” Time, 24 April, 1995,[2]
      [] Joe Montana is finally calling it quits. A retirement party in San Francisco and a press conference in Kansas City, Missouri, are planned for this week, and his agents are shopping him around to the networks as a broadcaster, even though Montana has a reputation for laconism.
  2. (countable) A very or notably brief expression.
    • 1716, Thomas Browne, Christian Morals, 2nd edition edited by Samuel Johnson, London: J. Payne, 1756, Part I, p. 37,[3]
      The hand of PROVIDENCE writes often by abbreviatures, hieroglyphicks or short characters, which, like the Laconism on the wall, are not to be made out but by a hint or key from that SPIRIT which indited them.
    • 1882, Adolphus William Ward, Charles Dickens, London: Macmillan, Chapter 6, p. 154,[4]
      Perhaps the most striking difference between [A Tale of Two Cities] and his other novels may seem to lie in the all but entire absence from it of any humour or attempt at humour; for neither the brutalities of that “honest tradesman” Jerry, nor the laconisms of Miss Pross, can well be called by that name.

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