Merriam-Webster Word of the Day: Laconic

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day is laconic. Read on for what it means, how it’s used, and more.

What It Means

Someone described as laconic uses few words in speech or writing. The word often also implies brevity to the point of seeming rude, indifferent, or mysterious.

// Her bubbly and loquacious personality was a humorous yet complementary contrast to her girlfriend’s more laconic demeanor.

LACONIC in Context

“The genius of ‘Wall-E’ lies in its ability to inspire empathy with a pair of robots that can speak only a few words. It helps that Wall-E and Eve are both extremely cute, as robots go; if the trash cube robot didn’t have those giant, sad basset hound eyes, we wouldn’t have cared if he found love. But the cutest and most laconic robot of ‘Wall-E’ is the Axiom’s custodian, M-O.” — Michael Baumann, The Ringer, 13 June 2022

Did You Know?

We’ll keep it brief. Laconia was an ancient country in southern Greece. Its capital city was Sparta, and the Spartans were famous for their terseness of speech. Laconic comes to us by way of Latin from Greek Lakōnikos, meaning “native of Laconia.” In current use, laconic means “terse” or “concise to the point of seeming rude or mysterious,” and thus recalls the Spartans’ taciturnity.

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