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The meaning and origin of the expression: Brevity is the soul of wit

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Brevity is the soul of wit

What's the meaning of the phrase 'Brevity is the soul of wit'?

There's no briefer way of expressing this thought than Shakespeare's; making further explanation redundant.

What's the origin of the phrase 'Brevity is the soul of wit'?

Brevity is the soul of wit'The proverbial expression 'Brevity is the soul of wit' is from Shakespeare's Hamlet, 1602:

This business is well ended.
My liege, and madam, to expostulate
What majesty should be, what duty is,
Why day is day, night night, and time is time,
Were nothing but to waste night, day and time.
Therefore, since brevity is the soul of wit,
And tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes,
I will be brief: your noble son is mad:
Mad call I it; for, to define true madness,
What is't but to be nothing else but mad?
But let that go.

See also: the List of Proverbs.

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