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

  • adj. Terse and energetic in expression; pithy.
  • adj. Abounding in aphorisms.
  • adj. Given to aphoristic utterances.
  • adj. Abounding in pompous moralizing.
  • adj. Given to pompous moralizing.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Full of meaning.
  • adj. Using as few words as possible; pithy and concise.
  • adj. Tending to use aphorisms or maxims, especially given to trite moralizing.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Abounding with sentences, axioms, and maxims; full of meaning; terse and energetic in expression; pithy.
  • adj. Comprising or representing sentences; sentential.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Full of pithy sentences or sayings; pithy; terse: as, a sententious style or discourse; sententious truth.
  • Given to the use of pithy or axiomatic sayings or sentences.
  • Same as sentential, 2.
  • Synonyms Laconic, pointed, compact.

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

  • adj. abounding in or given to pompous or aphoristic moralizing
  • adj. concise and full of meaning


Middle English, from Old French sententieux, from Latin sententiōsus, full of meaning, from sententia, opinion; see sentence.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin sententiōsus, from sententia ("opinion, purpose"). (Wiktionary)



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • "Is not this ten times better than to set out dogmatically with a sententious parade of wisdom, and telling the world a story of a roasted horse..." ---Tristram Shandy

    March 16, 2013

  • Not to be confused with tendentious.

    March 21, 2009

  • But why can’t I be moral?—Let me try—
    My heart thus pressing—fixed my face and eye—
    With a sententious look, that nothing means,
    (Faces are blocks in sentimental scenes)

    Goldsmith, She Stoops, Prologue

    January 8, 2007