From Latin tersus (“clean, cleansed, rubbed or wiped off; neat, spruce; terse”), perfect passive participle of tergō, tergeō (“to clean, cleanse, rub, wipe, wipe off”), from Proto-Indo-European *terh₁- (“to rub; to turn”).
- (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /tɜːs/
- (Canada, US) IPA(key): /tɝːs/
Audio (AU) (file)
- Rhymes: -ɜː(ɹ)s
- (by extension) Of speech or style: brief, concise, to the point.
- Synonyms: concise, succinct; see also Thesaurus:concise
- Antonyms: prolix, verbose, wordy; see also Thesaurus:verbose
- 1777, [George Riley], The Asses Ears, a Fable. Addressed to the Author of The Goat's Beard [William Whitehead], London: Printed for G. Riley, […], →OCLC; quoted in “Art. VIII. Asses Ears: A Fable. Addressed to the Author of The Goat’s Beard. 4to. 6d. Riley. 1777. [book review]”, in The Monthly Review; or, Literary Journal, Enlarged, volume LVI, London: Printed for R[alph] Griffiths; and sold by T[homas] Becket, […], March 1777, →OCLC, page 194:
- In eight terse lines has Phædrus told / (So frugal were the Bards of old) / A Tale of Goats; and clos'd with grace / Plan, Moral, all, in that ſhort space.
- 1832 September, [John Wilson], “Noctes Ambrosianae. No. LXII.”, in Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine, volume XXXII, number CXCVIII, Edinburgh: William Blackwood; London: T[homas] Cadell, […], →OCLC, page 409:
- Your last series contains some of the neatest, tersest, and most unpretendingly original criticism, I have lately met with.
- 1902, G. W. Parker, “Things and Other Things: Letters to Living Authors—IX. Sir [Arthur] Conan Doyle”, in Donald Macleod, editor, Good Words, London: Isbister and Company Limited […], →OCLC, page 817, column 1:
- The book contains some happily done portrait touches of Napoleon, [...] and this and other aphoristical sentences scattered throughout this volume, [...] form as terse and trenchant a character-sketch of the Emperor as may be found almost anywhere.
- 1946, Clayton Knight, The Quest of the Golden Condor, New York, N.Y.: Alfred A. Knopf, →OCLC, page 94:
- Many protested that they had nothing to do with the fighting. At a word from the General the soldiers ripped off the men's shirts and examined the front of their shoulders. If they found bruises that might have been made from the butt of a gun when it had been fired—the terse order was, "Shoot him!" And many of the young men of Trujillo had disappeared.
- 1977, John Barth, “The Literature of Exhaustion”, in Malcolm Bradbury, editor, The Novel Today: Contemporary Writers on Modern Fiction, Manchester: Manchester University Press by arrangement with Fontana Books; Totowa, N.J.: Rowman and Littlefield, →ISBN, page 73:
- [...] [Samuel] Beckett has become virtually mute, musewise, having progressed from marvellously constructed English sentences through terser and terser French ones to the unsyntactical, unpunctuated prose of Comment C'est and 'ultimately' to wordless mimes.
- 1979 August 23, John Richard Harrison, Speaker of the House, Francis Duncan O’Flynn, “[Questions for Oral Answer] Leased Cars—Exemptions”, in Parliamentary Debates (Hansard): First Session, Thirty-ninth Parliament (House of Representatives), volume 425, Wellington: P. D. Hasselberg, government printer, published 1980, →OCLC, page 2480:
- Mr SPEAKER: If the honourable member could be terse. / Mr O'Flynn: I shall be very terse. It may be my fault, Mr Speaker, but I doubt if you have quite appreciated the point.
- 2012 June 4, Lewis Smith, “Queen’s English Society says enuf is enough, innit?: Society formed 40 years ago to protect language against poor spelling and grammar closes because too few people care”, in The Guardian, London, archived from the original on 10 March 2016:
- Having attempted to identify a role for the society and its magazine, Quest, "for the next 40 years", the society chairman, Rhea Williams, decided it was time to close. She announced the group's demise in a terse message to members following the annual meeting, which just 22 people attended.
- (by extension) Of manner or speech: abruptly or brusquely short; curt.
- 2008, Julia James, The Italian's Rags-to-riches Wife (Bedded by … Blackmail; Harlequin Presents; 2716), Toronto, Ont., New York, N.Y.: Harlequin, →ISBN, page 107:
- 'Laura!' The voice halting her was terse. Brusque. She turned. [...] 'Before I go,' he said, and his voice was terse, tighter than ever. 'I want to ensure you understand something.'
- (obsolete) Burnished, polished; fine, smooth; neat, spruce. [from early 17th c.]
- 1601, Ben Jonson, Poetaster or The Arraignment: […], London: […] [R. Bradock] for M[atthew] L[ownes] […], published 1602, →OCLC, Act III:
- By Phœbus, here's a moſt neate fine ſtreete; is't not? I proteſt to thee, I am enamord of this ſtreete now, more then of halfe the ſtreetes of Rome, againe; tis ſo polite, and terſe; [...]
- Ester, Reset, Steer, Trees, ester, estre, re-est., reest, reset, retes, seter, steer, stere, teers, teres, trees
- inflection of :
terse f pl
terse f pl
terse f pl