I recently lost a friend and I’m looking for the words to describe him. He was a man of few words but his words were deliberate, they weren’t spur of the moment thoughts. He meant the things he said and they carefully and accurately described his true thoughts. Is there a word for this? Thank you, everyone! I have enjoyed reading your replies as I reflect on my friend. As some have mentioned, I think I may have already found the words and summarising it in one isn’t necessary.

  • 6
    He sounds thoughtful and succinct. Commented Feb 26 at 22:05
  • 23
    Quite frankly, I think you might already have found them: your point will be largely lost if it sounds as though you had to consult a thesaurus to make it. Commented Feb 27 at 8:43
  • I regret to say, in more than 60 years of listening, I've never met any word anything like that. Commented Feb 27 at 21:42
  • 1
    This is an interesting question in a way. The right word is not easy to find, in seeking to described a valued friend or relative. It is not always a single word that that is wanted. What you have yourself written sounds as if it says exactly what you wanted to express. You could shorten it a bit. If you deleted from "his words were" and continue "... a careful and honest expression of his true thoughts."
    – Tuffy
    Commented Feb 27 at 22:15
  • 2
    A “man of few words” is (1) one who is thoughtful and disciplined in speech (2) A man who expresses himself without talking very much (3) A man of few words will rarely be thoughtless in his speech - he will measure every word. Commented Feb 28 at 18:39

9 Answers 9


"I like men who have a future, and women who have a past."

With his razor-sharp tongue and pithy, piercing insights, Oscar Wilde was considered to be "the foremost wit of his age."
Philosophical Library; The Wisdom of Oscar Wilde (1967)

pithy (adj.)

Having substance and point : tersely cogent

Unlike a great many other science books, the pithy, lyrical text never bogs down in a mudflat of facts.
— Leonard S. Marcus, Parenting, December/January 1996

Precisely meaningful; forceful and brief:
A pithy comment.

(Of speech or writing) expressing an idea cleverly in a few words:

A pithy remark

Of language or style: full of concentrated meaning; conveying meaning forcibly through brevity of expression; concise, succinct; condensed in style; pointed, terse, aphoristic.

1753 Finding something to say to each, in his pithy, agreeable manner.
S. Richardson, History of Sir Charles Grandison vol. VI. liii. 339

Of a person: that speaks or writes pithily; terse, succinct, aphoristic.

1922 He was pithy; he was prudent; he never said a word too much.
E. von Arnim, Enchanted April (1989) 5
[OED online]

  • Your first definition of "pithy" might even be better: tersely cogent. But then again, it would be very strange to see any of these words appear in such a setting. Commented Feb 27 at 13:37
  • How is that a word for a man of few words, however well thought out? Commented Feb 27 at 21:38
  • @RobbieGoodwin At you talking about pithy or something else?
    – DjinTonic
    Commented Feb 27 at 21:43


using or involving the use of a minimum of words

This has in fact almost idiomatic character, as short sentences with highly condensed meaning are known as laconisms.

  • 2
    That's the word that occurred to me, too.  However, the Wikipedia page you link adds “…especially a blunt and elliptical rejoinder.”  I'm not sure whether the word often carries that nuance — it isn't mentioned in any of the dictionaries I checked — but if so, maybe it wouldn't be such a good match for OP's situation?
    – gidds
    Commented Feb 27 at 10:41
  • 2
    This doesn't convey the accuracy of the words, though. Commented Feb 27 at 11:09
  • How is that a word for one whose words are well thought out, however few? Commented Feb 27 at 21:40
  • "Laconic" derives from Lakon, an old name for Sparta. The Spartans were (supposedly) famous for the devastating one-liner comeback. The whole point of the term laconic is that you don't say much, but when you speak, it's carefully considered and right to the core of the matter. Commented Feb 28 at 14:43
  • 1
    Laconic does mean using few words, but connotes being abrupt or even rude, rather than thoughtful, so it might not be the best option for memorializing someone.
    – barbecue
    Commented Feb 28 at 16:35


marked by compact precise expression without wasted words

  • 5
    A phrase or sentence can be succinct, but I don't think it can be applied to a person.
    – nekomatic
    Commented Feb 27 at 17:07
  • 2
    I have heard people described as "succinct" but it is a word better used for the expression not the expressor. Commented Feb 28 at 6:34


Note that "considered" implies "thought given to" whereas considerate implies "kind to others".

Aside, I applaud your taking the time to think of the words, to describe a person who took time to think of their words. It is likely a thing they would appreciate.

In this case you are being both considered, and considerate.

  • This is probably the best match here for the question as asked.
    – barbecue
    Commented Feb 28 at 16:36

Another possible word choice would be measured.

You use measured to describe something that is careful and deliberate.

The men spoke in soft, measured tones.

Her more measured response will appeal to voters.





marked by brevity of expression or statement : free from all elaboration and superfluous detail


Apologies for the John Wick reference, but searching for one word in this case would lose on impact and meaning. I assume both are important to you. You could say: "He was a man of deep silences but when he did express himself he did so with well deliberated thought rooted in deep purpose"



tending not to speak much

I feel that laconic, which is listed as a synonym and suggested in other answers, would tend to describe utterances that were oblique or even sarcastic; but that taciturn does not have those overtones; it simply means 'doesn't say much'.

  • 2
    Neither connote careful use of words.
    – shmosel
    Commented Feb 27 at 20:45
  • 1
    How is that a word for one whose words are well thought out, however few? Commented Feb 27 at 21:41
  • Taciturn is more likely to imply shyness, reluctance to speak, or unfriendliness than wisdom and thoughtfulness.
    – barbecue
    Commented Feb 28 at 16:34



able to express thoughts and feelings easily and clearly

  • 2
    This doesn't convey "of few words", though. Commented Feb 27 at 11:08
  • How is that a word for a man of few words, however well thought out? Commented Feb 27 at 21:39

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.