• WordNet 3.6
    • adj terse brief and to the point; effectively cut short; `yes'" "a crisp retort","a response so curt as to be almost rude","the laconic reply","short and terse and easy to understand"
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Terse Appearing as if rubbed or wiped off; rubbed; smooth; polished. "Many stones, . . . although terse and smooth, have not this power attractive."
    • Terse Elegantly concise; free of superfluous words; polished to smoothness; as, terse language; a terse style. "Terse , luminous, and dignified eloquence.""A poet, too, was there, whose verse
      Was tender, musical, and terse ."
    • Terse Refined; accomplished; -- said of persons. "Your polite and terse gallants."
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • terse Wiped; rubbed; appearing as if wiped or rubbed; smooth.
    • terse Refined; accomplished; polished: said of persons.
    • terse Free from superfluity; neatly or elegantly compact or concise; neat; concise.
    • n terse See terce.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • adj Terse tėrs compact or concise, with smoothness or elegance: neat
    • ***


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
L. tersus, p. p. of tergere, to rub or wipe off
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
L. tersustergēre, tersum, to rub clean.


In literature:

His terse direction contained a touch of repressed excitement which informed Grace that the surprise was at hand.
"Grace Harlowe's Golden Summer" by Jessie Graham Flower
Two hours later he rang for her, and gave tersely a variety of orders.
"The Girl in the Golden Atom" by Raymond King Cummings
We must be simple, precise, terse.
"Harvard Classics Volume 28" by Various
Nevertheless he selected a team from junior material, such as it was, and proceeded to tersely address them.
"Marjorie Dean, College Sophomore" by Pauline Lester
Evidently, terse as it was, its ring of fervor satisfied Mr. Ackerman for he smiled to himself.
"Steve and the Steam Engine" by Sara Ware Bassett
To be useful as an instrument of thought it should keep to the prosaic terseness of a telegraphic code.
"Human Traits and their Social Significance" by Irwin Edman
It states the biological case clearly and tersely.
"Evolution in Modern Thought" by Ernst Haeckel
Separate, tersely-phrased items could be assembled to make a record of individual men.
"Sand Doom" by William Fitzgerald Jenkins
Sir Edward's style was terse, not to say jerky.
"Devon, Its Moorlands, Streams and Coasts" by Rosalind Northcote
The terse directness, a part of the girl's nature and training, was embarrassing to the man of the world.
"Janet of the Dunes" by Harriet T. Comstock

In poetry:

Fair Alice! shed thy radiance more,
And charm us with thy verse;
So dulcet, so harmonious,
So graceful, sweet, and terse.
"Tribute" by Eloise Alberta Bibb
Under my skin lives a captive animal
That wildly moves and bites his way outside,
His dark blood throbs, his terse muscles
Tremble in such cramped bondage.
"The Dancer" by Martinus Nijhoff
I wish I had a simple style
In writing verse,
As in his prose had Ernie Pyle,
So true and terse;
Springing so forthright from the heart
With guileless art.
"Ernie Pyle" by Robert W Service
And then depart, where the incessant storm
Shepherds the planets like a drunken nurse.
It does not need an everlasting form
To dignify an ecstasy so terse.
"The Golden Corpse" by Stephen Vincent Benet
A bard of merit also notice claims,
Who wrote in numbers "musical and terse,"
Translating, (to immortalize his name),
Lucan 's "Pharsalia" into English verse.
"Enigma XXX." by Elizabeth Hitchener
Mr. Dooddle called his Caucus .... And he put it to them tersely:
"Gentlemen, it now behoves us, seeing all the votes we've got,
To be very, very careful lest we're criticised adversely.
Never mind the Red-haired voters; we have got them in the pot.
"Git-Yer-Gun" by C J Dennis

In news:

New York Life Insurance is using terse sayings to praise the virtues of buying life insurance.
Though Glück has held national fame since the late 1970s for her terse, pared-down poems, this first career-spanning collected may be the most widely noted, and the most praised, collected poems in some time.
Some are written in a terse, broken staccato.
I don't think Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich have helped themselves with their terse exchanges on illegal immigration and Fannie & Freddie.
The DoD may be terse, but the numbers speak volumes .
Terse Titus Young most likely has worn out his welcome with Lions.
RNC and CNN issue terse statements.
Prickly and terse about his Judaism.
Charlotte terse about Lee family settlement.
Prosecutors offer terse response to monumental failure: 'The jury has spoken.
Terse and Testy, and That's Just the Postgame Interview.
Terse Titus Young most likely has worn out his welcome with Lions.
IOWA CITY — Fran McCaffery's terse words said all that needed to be said.
Hemingway 's prose is said to be terse and rough, but I think he's gentle, because he's simple.
So there I was, sitting at home on my computer, minding my own business, when I got a terse email from my brother-in-law.

In science:

This is necessarily tentative because the paper [BF] is not yet available; we are relying on the terse description given in [BL3].
Family Gromov-Witten Invariants for Kahler Surfaces
This work was generalized throughout the years, and a terse geometric proof, and some consequences are presented by Edelman and Kostlan, .
The zeros of Gaussian random holomorphic functions on $\C^n$, and hole probability
XML is not terse and, therefore, somewhat human-legible (see Figure 1 for XML example of astronomical data).
ARCHANGEL Galaxy Photometry System
Foreign language interfaces for Prolog: A terse survey.
A Prolog-based Environment for Reasoning about Programming Languages (Extended abstract)
The developers’ present view is that supporting a terse notation for two or three very common cases that include obtaining a potential from a charge distribution as well as removing some longitudinal part of a tensor field most likely covers a large part of all relevant applications.
Continuum multi-physics modeling with scripting languages: the Nsim simulation compiler prototype for classical field theory