February 23, 2007


compendious means "abridged, succinct," not "voluminous," as writers often mistakenly believe--e.g.: "In an archive at Harvard he found a comendious [read bulky?], multivolume, handwritten journal entitled 'Amos Webber Thermometer Record and Diary'" (Wash. Post).

compendium forms either of two plurals: compendiums or compendia. The native grown plural is slightly preferable--e.g.: "One of the chief shortcomings of compendiums like this is finding what you want quickly" (Seattle Times).
--Garner, Brian A. The Oxford Dictionary of American Usage and Style. New York: Oxford U.,2000.

compendious: adj. adjective formal presenting the essential facts in a comprehensive but concise way.

• DERIVATIVES compendiously adverb.

• ORIGIN Latin compendiosus ‘advantageous, brief’.

--Compact Oxford English Dictionary http://www.askoxford.com/concise_oed/compendious.

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