/pith/, n.
1. Bot. the soft, spongy central cylinder of parenchymatous tissue in the stems of dicotyledonous plants.
2. Zool. the soft inner part of a feather, a hair, etc.
3. the important or essential part; essence; core; heart: the pith of the matter.
4. significant weight; substance; solidity: an argument without pith.
5. Archaic. spinal cord or bone marrow.
6. Archaic. strength, force, or vigor; mettle: men of pith.
7. to remove the pith from (plants).
8. to destroy the spinal cord or brain of.
9. to slaughter, as cattle, by severing the spinal cord.
[bef. 900; ME; OE pitha; c. D pit. See PIT2]

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  • Pith — is a light substance that is found in vascular plants. It consists of soft, spongy parenchyma cells, and is located in the center of the stem. It is encircled by a ring of xylem (woody tissue), and outside that, a ring of phloem (bark tissue). In …   Wikipedia

  • Pith — Pith, n. [AS. pi?a; akin to D. pit pith, kernel, LG. peddik. Cf. {Pit} a kernel.] 1. (Bot.) The soft spongy substance in the center of the stems of many plants and trees, especially those of the dicotyledonous or exogenous classes. It consists of …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • pith — O.E. piþa pith of plants, also essential part, from W.Gmc. *pithan (Cf. M.Du. pitte, E.Fris. pit), a Low Ger. root of uncertain origin. Figurative sense was in O.E. The verb meaning to kill by piercing the spinal cord is from 1805. Pith helmet… …   Etymology dictionary

  • pith — [pith] n. [ME pithe < OE pitha, akin to MDu pitte, pit of a fruit, kernel, pith of a tree] 1. the soft, spongy tissue in the center of certain plant stems 2. the soft core of various other things, as of a bone or feather 3. the spongy, fibrous …   English World dictionary

  • pith|y — «PIHTH ee», adjective, pith|i|er, pith|i|est. 1. full of substance, meaning, force, or vigor; crisply concise and to the point: »pithy phrases, a pithy speaker. SYNONYM(S): pointed …   Useful english dictionary

  • pith — [pıθ] n [U] ↑segment, ↑pith, ↑peel [: Old English; Origin: pitha] 1.) a white substance just under the outside skin of oranges and similar fruit ▪ Peel the oranges with a sharp knife to remove all pith. 2.) a soft white substance that fills the… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • Pith — Pith, v. t. (Physiol.) To destroy the central nervous system of (an animal, as a frog), as by passing a stout wire or needle up and down the vertebral canal. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • pith — index center (essence), contents, corpus, essence, gist (substance), import, main point …   Law dictionary

  • pith — [ pıθ ] noun uncount 1. ) the white substance under the skin of oranges and similar fruits a ) the white substance inside the stems of some plants 2. ) the main and most important part of a problem, argument, etc …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • pith — *substance, purport, gist, burden, core Analogous words: *center, nucleus, heart, focus: spirit, *soul …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

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