Definition of pith in US English:



  • 1Spongy white tissue lining the rind of an orange, lemon, and other citrus fruits.

    • ‘Cut away the outer skin so that there is no white pith left behind and then slice each across into thin slices.’
    • ‘But I can't eat citrus that has any white pith on it.’
    • ‘Do this finely and lightly: any white pith will make the dressing bitter.’
    • ‘I munch a mushroom, then strip a spiny ground herb to yield a mouthful of sweet white pith.’
    • ‘The next step is to cut away the white pith from the flesh, leaving non behind.’
    • ‘Remove a lid from the first set of oranges and scoop out the contents and pith with care so you don't split the skin.’
    • ‘I picked a horse chestnut off a low branch; the spikes were soft and I tore it apart but there was nothing inside except a kind of white pith.’
    • ‘Slugs are fond of the white pith inside empty grapefruit skins, which make good traps, and wilted comfrey leaves are also a good bait.’
    • ‘Coconut pith was a basic material for growing seedlings.’
    • ‘Remove the zest of the oranges and set aside, peel the bitter white pith and discard, then pulp the oranges and combine the pulp with the zest.’
    • ‘Peel the orange thickly, removing the white pith, and cut into segments.’
    • ‘Slice the tomatoes in half lengthways and scoop out the seeds, making sure that you remove the white pith.’
    • ‘The pith is white but roots are rotted and the tissue in the crown is discolored.’
    • ‘Or why not sprinkle pomegranate seeds over the icing (just be sure to remove the bitter white pith first).’
    • ‘Remove the rind and white pith from the lemons and then cut the flesh into very thin slices, removing the pips.’
    • ‘Be careful to only get the outer rind, not the bitter pith.’
    • ‘Shave off any bitter white pith with a small knife and roughly chop the zest.’
    • ‘Core the red peppers, halve, cut out all the white pith and place the pepper pieces skin side up on a grill tray.’
    • ‘Cut off the thick skin and white pith, then slicing between the membranes cut off the segments.’
    • ‘Remove the lemon rind using a potato peeler and trying not to peel away any of the white pith (this can give a bitter taste later).’
    1. 1.1Botany The spongy cellular tissue in the stems and branches of many higher plants.
      • ‘We found that most samples exhibited little or no compaction or distortion from pith to bark along the major axis.’
      • ‘The pith of the stems is used for antiphlogistic, antipyretic and other medicinal purposes.’
      • ‘No dye was found in the central pith area of the stem segment except close to the basal cut surface.’
      • ‘The stems and rachises both contain a high percentage of pith and vascular tissue.’
      • ‘The lowest values were recorded in stem pith cells.’
    2. 1.2archaic Spinal marrow.
  • 2The essence of something.

    ‘a book that he considered contained the pith of all his work’
    • ‘The kans included in this text are stripped of all but the most essential elements in order to confront the student with the pith of each story.’
    • ‘The pith and substance of his argument seems to be that the standard of proof of paranormal phenomena should be one that would satisfy ordinary people sitting on a jury.’
    • ‘The pith of traditional Chinese medicine differentiates itself from Western medicine in two main respects, he said.’
    • ‘In pith and substance, it is not ‘declaratory relief’ as that term is used in s. 108 of the CJA either in a public or a private law context.’
    • ‘Paul Harvey summed up the general pith of the global gist at noon, but he rarely broke news.’
    • ‘It was contended by the petitioners that the Parliament had no legislative competence to enact this law as its provisions, in pith and substance, fall under the Entry of List II.’
    • ‘For Frank Lenahan, a University Cafe stalwart enjoying a mid-morning coffee with his friends, however, the soap ‘lacked the vigour and pith of Scottish life’.’
    • ‘It is the pith of civilization and of man's human existence.’
    • ‘Thank you for going to the heart of events, plucking out the pith and making a Promethean offer of it to a dazed and confused humanity.’
    • ‘He published a book which he considered contained the pith of all his work.’
    • ‘Accordingly, the by-law in Morgentaler was held to be regulating morality and was clearly, in pith and substance, a criminal law enactment.’
    essence, essential part, main point, fundamental point, heart, substance, heart of the matter, nub, core, quintessence, point, crux, gist, salient point, focal point, nucleus, meat, kernel, marrow, burden
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  • 3Forceful and concise expression.

    ‘he writes with a combination of pith and exactitude’
    • ‘I did it for a year and I never approached that level of pith.’
    • ‘However, it remains my belief that one should strive for pith and subtext once one has crossed that gate.’
    • ‘For another example of Francophone pith, see HERE.’
    • ‘I am not a great connoisseur of literature and my choices may be controversial but they are solely intended to encourage pith and to share the pleasure I get when I come across sentences that strike me as complete in themselves.’
    • ‘Journalists are apt to focus upon the pith, that is.’
    • ‘So anyway the story is short and lacking in pith.’
    succinctness, conciseness, concision, pithiness, economy of language, brevity
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[with object]
  • 1Remove the pith from.

  • 2Pierce or sever the spinal cord of (an animal) so as to kill or immobilize it.

    • ‘Male frogs were anesthetized in tricaine methanesulfonate and then were decapitated and pithed.’
    • ‘Animals were pithed through the right orbit to the spinal column with a round copper rod of 1.5 mm in diameter.’
    • ‘Part of the traditional butchering practice involved a technique known as pithing, where a hole was made in the animal's skull.’
    • ‘Adult frogs were anaesthetized in 15% ethanol, then killed by pithing.’
    • ‘Cattle are humanely stunned with a captive bolt stunner that penetrates or piths the brain rendering the animal unable to feel pain.’


Old English pitha, of West Germanic origin.