The Word of the Week for July 21-27 is Brevity
Blogging on Brevity:
I recently discovered one of my new favorite bloggers, Sophie Lizard. (She actually gets PAID to blog – lucky girl!) Her July 7th post was my inspiration for this week’s word of the week. The entire post was about writing concisely, combining brevity and clarity to develop that perfect pithiness that readers crave – meaningful but brief content. This is definitely an area where I struggle (obviously) but I am working on it. The information in Sophie’s post is invaluable to any writer, not just bloggers. (By the way, Sophie’s blog is sited in my resources. If you don’t already, you should consider following her blog. I highly recommend it.)
I have really enjoyed doing the research for my first Word of the Week. Brevity, to me, is more than briefness. Exercising brevity in one’s written work means intentionally keeping it simple and getting the point across without sacrificing content. I am a work in progress and have yet to master this concept but I am excited at the thought of trying!
Pronunciation: brev·i·ty [brev-i-tee]
Definition of Brevity:
Dictionary.com (2013) defines Brevity as follows:
1.shortness of time or duration; briefness: the brevity of human life.
2.the quality of expressing much in few words; terseness: Brevity is the soul of wit.
This was my favorite of all the definitions I found because it quotes Shakespeare’s Hamlet, “Brevity is the soul of wit”. I could easily get off on a tangent about why that statement is so true, why brevity is necessary for wit and visa-verse but I think I’ll save that for another day (read Sophie’s blog!)…
Dictionary.com also lists several synonyms. I don’t mean to insult anyone’s intelligence, but I feel I should revisit middle school English here, just in case. (You never know who your audience may be.) I feel it’s important to consider language barriers, age, etc. A synonym is a word having either the same or close to the same meaning as another word.
Synonyms for brevity: compactness, succinctness, pithiness
I especially like the word pithy. Pithy (or pithiness) also implies briefness but includes a special meaningful quality, substance, or forcefulness.
Origins of Brevity: The Oxford Dictionary (2013) credits the origin of brevityto the 15th Century Old French word brievete, meaning “brief”. I found blog sites that argued the origins were Greek, but Greek is widely accepted as a sister language to Latin. The Latin words bravitas or brevis also mean brief. Since the “other sources” I found couldn’t provide any substantial evidence of Greek or Latin origins, I am inclined to believe The Oxford Dictionary in that the origins of the word are from the Old French. My guess, as uneducated as it may be, is there was no real word for Brevity in the ancient languages (Latin, Greek, etc.) and perhaps the French invented it, stemming from the word for brief – be it Latin, Greek, French, or otherwise.
If anyone wants to suggest a word for a future Word of the Week, please feel free to leave a comment. I am open to suggestions and keep a list.
Brevity. (n.d.). Dictionary.com Unabridged. Retrieved July 23, 2013, from Dictionary.com website: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/brevity
Brevity. (2013). Oxford Dictionary. Retrieved from http://oxforddictionaries.com/us/definition/american_english/brevity
Lizard, S. (2013). All Killer, No Filler: 6 Simple Tips for Concise Writing. Retrieved from http://beafreelanceblogger.com/how-to-write-concisely/