Definition of pith in US English:



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

    • ‘Slugs are fond of the white pith inside empty grapefruit skins, which make good traps, and wilted comfrey leaves are also a good bait.’
    • ‘Peel the orange thickly, removing the white pith, and cut into segments.’
    • ‘I munch a mushroom, then strip a spiny ground herb to yield a mouthful of sweet white pith.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Coconut pith was a basic material for growing seedlings.’
    • ‘Slice the tomatoes in half lengthways and scoop out the seeds, making sure that you remove the white pith.’
    • ‘Remove the rind and white pith from the lemons and then cut the flesh into very thin slices, removing the pips.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Or why not sprinkle pomegranate seeds over the icing (just be sure to remove the bitter white pith first).’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Do this finely and lightly: any white pith will make the dressing bitter.’
    • ‘The pith is white but roots are rotted and the tissue in the crown is discolored.’
    • ‘The next step is to cut away the white pith from the flesh, leaving non behind.’
    • ‘Be careful to only get the outer rind, not the bitter pith.’
    • ‘But I can't eat citrus that has any white pith on it.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Cut away the outer skin so that there is no white pith left behind and then slice each across into thin slices.’
    • ‘Shave off any bitter white pith with a small knife and roughly chop the zest.’
    • ‘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.
      • ‘The stems and rachises both contain a high percentage of pith and vascular tissue.’
      • ‘We found that most samples exhibited little or no compaction or distortion from pith to bark along the major axis.’
      • ‘No dye was found in the central pith area of the stem segment except close to the basal cut surface.’
      • ‘The pith of the stems is used for antiphlogistic, antipyretic and other medicinal purposes.’
      • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It is the pith of civilization and of man's human existence.’
    • ‘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’.’
    • ‘The pith of traditional Chinese medicine differentiates itself from Western medicine in two main respects, he said.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Paul Harvey summed up the general pith of the global gist at noon, but he rarely broke news.’
    • ‘He published a book which he considered contained the pith of all his work.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Accordingly, the by-law in Morgentaler was held to be regulating morality and was clearly, in pith and substance, a criminal law enactment.’
    • ‘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.’
    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’
    • ‘Journalists are apt to focus upon the pith, that is.’
    • ‘However, it remains my belief that one should strive for pith and subtext once one has crossed that gate.’
    • ‘So anyway the story is short and lacking in pith.’
    • ‘I did it for a year and I never approached that level of pith.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘For another example of Francophone pith, see HERE.’
    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.

    • ‘Animals were pithed through the right orbit to the spinal column with a round copper rod of 1.5 mm in diameter.’
    • ‘Male frogs were anesthetized in tricaine methanesulfonate and then were decapitated and pithed.’
    • ‘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.