Précis

Précis

prāˈsē

Noun

  • A summary or abstract of a text or speech.

Verb

  • Make a précis of (a text or speech).

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Example Sentences

“After reading the précis of the required textbook, I decided that I didn’t want to take the course.”

“Before you put pen to paper, it’s helpful to make a précis to guide your writing.”

“A well-written précis can make a dull book seem more interesting than it really is.”

Word Origin

French, mid-18th century

Why this word?

“Précis” in English is a noun and a verb, but it’s taken directly from a French adjective, which means “precise.” When it’s used as a noun, “précis” refers to a summary of the main points in a speech or piece of writing. It could be a formal part of a paper, such as an abstract, or you could be giving a précis of the TV show you watched last night. Used as a verb, “to précis” means “to write a brief summary of a text” — drafting bullet points of the important details in a report to relay to your boss, for example. It helps to be precise in the précising of the précis. 

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