What is the correct understanding of 'for the sake of brevity'? I have heard it in various contexts, being used to refer to very different kinds of meanings. Some have used it to mean 'in short', and sometimes as 'we are (feeling) brave enough to skip over this part' (obviously, these are my understanding of the usage).

For example, in a recent PhD defence, the student did not explain a portion of his work, with the above preface. I thought he meant that he is taking a (somewhat) brave chance that people will still follow the rest of the talk, given he is omitting to present the said part.

In any case, the real meaning is not clear to me. Is it to be taken literally?

  • 2
    It signals an intention to keep the discussion short. The phrase doesn't usually relate to bravery or cowardice. If you post the context, the community might be able to help further.
    – Lawrence
    Mar 12, 2017 at 7:10
  • 2
    Yes, as Lawrence notes Brevity is unrelated to Bravery. You're not being brave by skipping material, you're sacrificing detail for the sake of keeping it short. That's all. Nothing mysterious about it.
    – Dan Bron
    Mar 12, 2017 at 14:31

1 Answer 1


'For the sake of brevity' can either mean for the purpose of making something brief/concise or for the advantages of being concise by avoiding unnecessary details.


" Please note as well that Chapters 4 and 6 of Section I provide links, where possible, to Web sites with additional information about the early learning and child care programs featured in this report. For the sake of brevity, the references to Web sites are not repeated here".

"Although it is technically correct to use the phrase "prevent the spread of the hepatitis C virus", for the sake of brevity, we also use the phrases "hepatitis C prevention" and "prevention of hepatitis C"".

for the sake of:

1. Also for one's sake. Out of consideration or regard for a person or thing; for someone's or something's advantage or good.

For example, For Jill's sake we did not serve meat, or We have to stop fighting for the sake of family unity.

  1. For the purpose or motive of, as in You like to quarrel only for the sake of an argument.


concise and exact use of words in writing or speech.

  • +1. I know they're behind your links, but please spell out the source for each quote in the main body of your answer, so people know how credible the sources are without having to click (and so the answer will still be useful even if those links break, which we have no control over). Also note that we typically do not answer questions which can be immediately and conclusively answered by simply looking the term in question up in a dictionary or other general reference, but the quality and effort of your answer is is high enough that we won't worry about that. Thank you!
    – Dan Bron
    Mar 12, 2017 at 14:34

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