Pith Definition

The soft, spongy tissue in the center of certain plant stems.
Webster's New World
The soft core of various other things, as of a bone or feather.
Webster's New World
The spongy, fibrous tissue lining the rind and surrounding the sections of an orange, grapefruit, etc.
Webster's New World
The spinal cord.
American Heritage Medicine
The essential part; substance; gist.
Webster's New World
To remove the pith from (a plant stem).
American Heritage
To sever or destroy the spinal cord of, usually by inserting a needle into the vertebral canal.
American Heritage
To pierce or sever the spinal cord of (an animal) in order to kill it or make it insensible for experimental purposes.
Webster's New World

Origin of Pith

  • Old English piþa, from Proto-Germanic *piþan (compare West Frisian piid 'pulp, kernel', Dutch peen 'carrot', Low German Peddik 'pulp, core'), from earlier *piþō (oblique *pittan). Doublet of pit. The verb meaning "to kill by cutting or piercing the spinal cord" is attested 1805.

    From Wiktionary

  • Middle English from Old English pitha

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

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