Old English piþa, from Proto-Germanic *piþan (compare West Frisian piid (“pulp, kernel”), Dutch peen (“carrot”), Low German Peddik (“pulp, core”)), from earlier *piþō (oblique *pittan). Doublet of pit. The verb meaning "to kill by cutting or piercing the spinal cord" is attested 1805.
- (botany) The soft, spongy substance in the center of the stems of many plants and trees.
- The spongy interior substance of a feather.
- (anatomy) The spinal cord; the marrow.
- (botany) The albedo of a citrus fruit.
- (figuratively) The essential or vital part.
- The pith of my idea is truth.
- enterprises of great pith and moment
- (essential or necessary part): core, essence, general tenor, gist, heart, heart and soul, inwardness, kernel, marrow, meat, nitty-gritty, nub, quintessence, soul, spirit, stuff, substance
- (transitive) To extract the pith from (a plant stem or tree).
- (transitive) To kill (especially cattle or laboratory animals) by cutting or piercing the spinal cord.