- March 26, 2008
- Posted by: Madrigal Admin
- Category: Word of the Week Blog
The meaning of compendious
Compendious is a seldom-used adjective reflecting the rarity of what it describes. It describes a piece of writing that is like or of a compendium. A compendium is a comprehensive account containing the substance or essentials of a subject (often an exclusive subject) in a concise or succinct form (especially in book form). It is a list of items or compilation of various items; or a brief summary of a larger work or of a field of knowledge.
It can be used as a synonym for: summary, comprehensive, succinct, or packed. Compendious has been in the language a long time, having come to the language from Middle English. It is based on the Latin compendere, meaning to weigh together.
There are some diverse examples of compendiums available on the web:
1. A Middle English Compendium – very useful for looking up words such as compendious. It quotes an example from A Defence of the Proscription of the Yorkists in 1459:
Ye shalle have audience, safe oon thinge … that ye be as succynt and compendious as ye may.
B. Compendium of The Social Doctrine Of The Church to His Holiness Pope John Paul II Master Of Social Doctrine And Evangelical Witness To Justice And Peace – for some post-Easter reading.
C. Hasselhoff compendium – for those interested in David Hasselhoff (ex-Baywatch star and celebrity) it describes itself as a source of ‘all things hoff’ [sadly no longer available but there is Wikipedia listing].