The Meaning of Brevity: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of brevity? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the word brevity, including its definition, usage, example sentences, and more!

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What does the word brevity mean?

According to Vocabulary and Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, the word brevity is a noun (pronunciation of brevity: ) that refers to the shortness of duration or something. This is often used to describe something’s conciseness, particularly in expression, speech or writing. This use of few words or compactness of expression is useful if you only have a short time or short duration of speech to express something, like a character limit on Twitter. Extreme brevity can lead to confusion in spite of great conciseness, so be careful. 

Many different languages also use words that mean brevity. Knowing numerous different translations for different words is useful if you are traveling abroad or communicating with someone who does not speak English. This list of translations for the word brevity is provided by Word Sense

  •  Czech: krátkost‎ (fem.)
  •  Persian: ایجاز‎ (ijâz)
  •  German: Kürze‎ (fem.)
  •  Latin: brevitās‎ (fem.)
  •  Bulgarian: кракост‎ (fem.), краткотрайност‎ (fem.)
  •  Tagalog: kaigsian‎
  •  Spanish: brevedad‎ (fem.)
  •  Nynorsk: stuttleik‎
  •  Swedish: korthet‎
  •  Finnish: lyhytaikaisuus‎
  •  Irish: gairide‎ (fem.), giorracht‎ (fem.)
  •  Turkish: kısalık‎
  •  Russian: кра́ткость‎ (fem.)
  •  Portuguese: brevidade‎ (fem.)
  •  Bokmål: korthet‎
  •  French: concision‎ (fem.), brièveté‎ (fem.)

How can the word brevity be used in a sentence?

The word brevity can be used in many different settings and circumstances. See the following dialogs for examples of brevity.

April was impressed by the employees’ brevity, and so were the rest of the company clients. Such brevity allowed for simplicity and ease of understanding about the products.

Lincoln was surprised by the brevity of the transcript of the conversation; he thought the witness would have provided more information. 

When her grandma died, America was shaken by the mortal restraints and the brevity of our lives. 

The comedians were lovers of brevity and concise expression. They believed that smart brevity and the use of brief expressions formed the funniest jokes. 

While the short piece of writing from the Princeton University class was a feat of usual elegant brevity, the professor felt that it missed the natural sounding English he had come to enjoy from the student.

Maya liked brevity – her favorite comic strip was only a single-panel newspaper piece, and her favorite concerto was barely over a minute long. 

Porteus was surprised with the brevity of the election campaign for the treasury seats. He thought the candidates would campaign through May, but by January, all but two had dropped out of the race.

The strengths of the book included a refreshing brevity and tight writing in the initial sections; it could have been a powerful piece, but the middle chapters written by journalists dragged on. 

Tom was a fan of the brevity of the short film format. He often felt that tight little vignettes would keep visitors around. The ​​movie’s brevity was a part of its appeal. Despite the good intentions of the filmmakers, the feature films Tom watched tended to drag on.

Shak was impressed by the ​​​authors’ willingness to practice incisive writing . The narrative crispness has a refreshing relative brevity to the author’s previous space travel writing. Implementing brevity for the service of the story improved the life of the protagonist in this mode of fiction.

What is the origin of the word brevity?

According to Etymonline, the word brevity has been used since the year 1500 to mean shortness, from the Old French brievete and French brevite. This comes from the Latin ​brevitātem of the nominative brevitas, meaning shortness in space of time, from the Latin brevis meaning short. This word was made famous in William Shakespeare’s quote, “Brevity is the soul of wit.” This is from S​​​​hakespea​re’s Hamlet, by the character Polonius. This word is of Proto-Indo-European roots. Related words include brief.

What are synonyms and antonyms for the word brevity?

There are many different words that a person can use in place of the word brevity. These are called synonyms, which are words and phrases that have the same definition as another word or phrase. Synonyms are very useful to learn if you are trying to grow your vocabulary or avoid repeating yourself. This list of synonyms for the word brevity is provided by Thesaurus

  •  rollback
  •  reduction
  •  layoff
  •  succinctness
  •  prudence
  •  condensation
  •  transience
  •  pithiness
  •  meanness
  •  sparingness
  •  restraint
  •  essence
  •  curtness
  •  synopsis
  •  carefulness
  •  conciseness
  •  discretion
  •  retrenchment
  •  parcity
  •  shrinkage
  •  niggardliness
  •  regulation
  •  care
  •  abridgement
  •  shortness
  •  austerity
  •  briefness
  •  terseness
  •  epitome
  •  miserliness
  •  skimping
  •  impermanence
  •  summary
  •  contraction
  •  scrimping
  •  abstract
  •  transitoriness
  •  curtailment
  •  recession
  •  consolidation
  •  economy
  •  providence
  •  ephemerality
  •  crispness
  •  conspectus
  •  thriftiness
  •  compression
  •  compendium
  •  husbandry
  •  parsimony
  •  digest
  •  caution
  •  moratorium
  •  stinginess
  •  deduction
  •  decrease
  •  cutback
  •  supervision
  •  pointedness
  •  breviary
  •  thrift
  •  précis
  •  boildown
  •  concision
  •  concentration
  •  brief
  •  direction

There are also numerous different words that have the opposite definition as the word brevity. These opposite words are called antonyms. Antonyms are another quick and easy way to expand your knowledge of the English language. This list of antonyms for the word brevity is also provided by Thesaurus. 

  •  spaciousness
  •  verbosity
  •  continuation
  •  expansion
  •  expanse
  •  limit
  •  dimension
  •  persistence
  •  linearity
  •  continuance
  •  season
  •  permanence
  •  duration
  •  height
  •  lengthiness
  •  tediousness
  •  longitude
  •  reach
  •  durability
  •  longevity
  •  unit
  •  lastingness
  •  breadth
  •  range
  •  loftiness
  •  extensiveness
  •  immutability
  •  elongation
  •  portion
  •  period
  •  magnitude
  •  span
  •  protractedness
  •  year
  •  sentiousness
  •  purview
  •  quantity
  •  interval
  •  mileage
  •  stretch
  •  width
  •  orbit
  •  compass
  •  stride
  •  realm
  •  longness
  •  stability
  •  endlessness
  •  ranginess
  •  radius
  •  tallness
  •  segment
  •  space
  •  panorama
  •  remoteness
  •  section
  •  term
  •  diameter
  •  measure
  •  piece

Overall, the word brevity refers to a briefness of time or shortness of writing. This is often used with regard to expression via speech or writing. This word comes from the Anglo-Normal brevité and the Old French brieveté with Latin roots.

Sources:

  1. BREVITY Synonyms: 17 Synonyms & Antonyms for BREVITY | Thesaurus 
  2. LENGTH Synonyms: 53 Synonyms & Antonyms for LENGTH | Thesaurus 
  3. brevity | Origin and meaning of brevity | Online Etymology Dictionary 
  4. brevity: meaning, origin, translation | Word Sense 
  5. Brevity | Definition of Brevity | Merriam-Webster 
  6. brevity – Dictionary Definition | Vocabulary