Pith is the central idea or essence of something. If you’re in danger, you could exclaim, “I would greatly appreciate it if someone would provide assistance.” Or, you could get right to the pith of your point by shouting, “Help!”

In botanical terminology, pith refers to a spongy, central cylinder of tissue found inside the stems of most flowering plants. If you know a lot about plants, that fact should help you remember the primary definition of pith. If not, just take our word for it. You can think about the pith of an argument like the pith of a plant: both lie at the heart or core of something.

Definitions of pith
  1. noun
    soft spongelike central cylinder of the stems of most flowering plants
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    type of:
    plant tissue
    the tissue of a plant
  2. noun
    the choicest or most essential or most vital part of some idea or experience
    synonyms: center, centre, core, essence, gist, heart, heart and soul, inwardness, kernel, marrow, meat, nitty-gritty, nub, substance, sum
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    bare bones
    (plural) the most basic facts or elements
    (metaphysics) essential nature or underlying reality
    haecceity, quiddity
    the essence that makes something the kind of thing it is and makes it different from any other
    distillation, quintessence
    the purest and most concentrated essence of something
    a critically important or characteristic component
    type of:
    cognitive content, content, mental object
    the sum or range of what has been perceived, discovered, or learned
  3. verb
    remove the pith from (a plant)
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    type of:
    get rid of, remove
    dispose of
Word Family

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