using few words and often not seeming polite or friendly a terse style The President issued a terse statement denying the charges. Although he was terse, he didn’t rage at me. Word Origin early 17th cent.: from Latin tersus
‘wiped, polished’, from the verb tergere. The original sense was ‘polished, trim, spruce’, (relating to language) ‘polished, polite’, hence ‘concise and to the point’ (late 18th cent.).