from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Containing or stating briefly and concisely all the essentials; succinct.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. containing a subset of words, succinctly described; abridged and summarized
  • adj. briefly describing a body of knowledge

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Containing the substance or general principles of a subject or work in a narrow compass; abridged; summarized.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Containing the substance or general principles of a subject in a narrow compass; short; abridged; concise: as, a compendious system of chemistry; a compendious grammar.
  • Narrow; limited.
  • Short; direct; not circuitous.
  • Synonyms Succinct, Summary, etc. See concise.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. briefly giving the gist of something


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English, from Late Latin compendiōsus, from Latin compendium, a shortening; see compendium.


  • He got this tree up, shortened the stem, shaped the root, shod the point with some of his late old iron; and with this primitive tool, and a thick stake baked at the point, he opened the ground to receive twelve stout uprights, and he drove them with a tremendous mallet made upon what might be called the compendious or Hazelian method; it was a section of a hard tree with a thick shoot growing out of it, which shoot, being shortened, served for the handle.

    Foul Play

  • Wendy Doniger's compendious account of religious traditions that constitute an "ism" only in the broadest possible sense begins with an account of being egg-pelted by one such hardliner who objected to her suggestion that some Sanskrit texts are interested in divine female sexuality.

    The Hindus: An Alternative History by Wendy Doniger – review

  • So began an on-again/off-again romance fully charted in this compendious collection of Marcus's occasional writings on his hero.

    Bob Dylan: Writings 1968-2010 by Greil Marcus – review

  • These amounted to a compendious accounting for the possessions of most if not all squatters on the entire length of territory stretching east of Melbourne and from the Murray to Bass Strait, and all three parties to the Loughnan affair were listed, viz.No. 24.

    The Loughnan Affair again

  • If so, Mr. Romney self-administered the follow-up inoculation by throwing out that he probably pays, oh, 15% of his compendious income in taxes.

    Behold the Taxpayer Behind the Tree

  • The movie also sketches in the five-year-long, globe-girdling voyage during which he collected the compendious data for his book, along with much peripheral information about his health (wretched), his relationship with his devoutly religious wife (strained) and his apparently never-ending connection to his dead 10-year-old daughter (feverish).

    Kurt Loder Reviews ‘Creation’ » MTV Movies Blog

  • 'Magnum Contact Sheets' Thames & Hudson, 508 pages, $150 , a compendious record of these deliberations spanning nine decades, attests to the decisions and revisions that produce definitive images.

    Photo-Op: Miles and Miles and Miles

  • He's also known for his compendious technical knowledge and his tactical sophistication and willingness to question orthodoxies, qualities he's demonstrated as an insightful newspaper columnist.

    Can Fletcher Be a Leader of Champions?

  • Children's Games is the title of the work, conjuring Pieter Bruegel's great painting of the same name, and there are traces here of the Flemish painter's compendious humour and spirit, just as there is something of Magritte in the queer scenarios of Alÿs's little paintings.

    Francis Alÿs: A Story of Deception; Ernesto Neto: The Edges of the World

  • Emily Howell has a compendious memory that involves an intimate understanding of the works of 36 composers "starting with Palestrina, [an Italian court musician of the 16th century] and ending with David Cope in the 21st century".

    David Cope: 'You pushed the button and out came hundreds and thousands of sonatas'


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  • Noah Webster's 1806 A Compendious Dictionary of the English Language is regarded as the first American dictionary of the English Language.

    April 25, 2011