pith [pith]
[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 tissue lining the rind and surrounding the sections of an orange, grapefruit, etc.
4. the essential part; substance; gist
5. importance: now usually in of great pith and moment
6. Archaic strength; vigor; force
1. to remove the pith from (a plant stem)
2. to pierce or sever the spinal cord of (an animal) in order to kill it or make it insensible for experimental purposes

English World dictionary. . 2014.


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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 — /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 …   Universalium

  • 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|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