Terse \Terse\, a. [Compar. {Terser}; superl. {Tersest}.] [L. tersus, p. p. of tergere to rub or wipe off.] 1. Appearing as if rubbed or wiped off; rubbed; smooth; polished. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] Many stones, . . . although terse and smooth, have not this power attractive. --Sir T. Browne. [1913 Webster] 2. Refined; accomplished; -- said of persons. [R. & Obs.] ``Your polite and terse gallants.'' --Massinger. [1913 Webster] 3. Elegantly concise; free of superfluous words; polished to smoothness; as, terse language; a terse style. [1913 Webster] Terse, luminous, and dignified eloquence. --Macaulay. [1913 Webster] A poet, too, was there, whose verse Was tender, musical, and terse. --Longfellow. [1913 Webster] Syn: Neat; concise; compact. Usage: {Terse}, {Concise}. Terse was defined by Johnson ``cleanly written'', i. e., free from blemishes, neat or smooth. Its present sense is ``free from excrescences,'' and hence, compact, with smoothness, grace, or elegance, as in the following lones of Whitehead: [1913 Webster] ``In eight terse lines has Ph[ae]drus told (So frugal were the bards of old) A tale of goats; and closed with grace, Plan, moral, all, in that short space.'' [1913 Webster] It differs from concise in not implying, perhaps, quite as much condensation, but chiefly in the additional idea of ``grace or elegance.'' [1913 Webster] -- {Terse"ly}, adv. -- {Terse"ness}, n. [1913 Webster]