The value of book-learning
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Is it conciseness or concision?

Here's something I learned about 10 minutes ago. According to OED online, conciseness has just one definition: "Concise quality; brevity, terseness." Concision has three definitions:

  1. The action of cutting to pieces or cutting away; mutilation.
  2. In Phil. iii. 2 (from the Geneva version of 1557 onward) it translates Gr. {kappa}{alpha}{tau}{alpha}{tau}{omicron}{mu}{ghacu} ‘cutting off, cutting up’, used there instead of {pi}{epsilon}{rho}{iota}{tau}{omicron}{mu}{ghacu} ‘circumcision’, and applied contemptuously to the Judaizing Christians.[1]
  3. Conciseness.

If you use concision to mean conciseness, the reader will probably figure out the meaning from the context. But use conciseness, and the reader won't have to figure out your meaning; you'll subtract one chance that the reader will misunderstand your message.
1The funny-looking letters are Greek. I hope they show properly on your computer.


timm smith

was using this tagline on my emails:
concision in style, precision in thought, decision in life -victor hugo-
someone called me on it - said it should be conciseness. but obviously someone translated ol' victor this way....unless he actually said it - don't know if victor hugo spoke l'anglais


True. However, this does not promote conciseness over concision in all situations. There is a wide difference between mutilation, and conciseness.

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