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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
pith
noun
COLLOCATIONS FROM OTHER ENTRIES
pith helmet
COLLOCATIONS FROM CORPUS
■ ADJECTIVE
white
▪ Remove the skin and white pith and eat as it is for a simple, refreshing dessert.
▪ Remove zest from orange and lemon; avoid the bitter white pith.
▪ But do take care to remove all the white pith as this can make wine bitter tasting.
▪ Using a sharp knife, remove all of the white pith, which is quite bitter.
■ NOUN
helmet
▪ Small wonder that doctors are calling for the return of the parasol and pith helmet.
▪ The only real difference would be that the colonial governors sent to deal with the locals back then usually wore pith helmets.
▪ Two men in pith helmets stood on a canal towpath slapping each other's faces with fish in time to music.
▪ The pith helmet with an attentive elephant in waiting.
EXAMPLES FROM CORPUS
▪ Finally we both got fed up and left the pith on half the peel.
▪ Peel 3 more oranges, cutting away all the pith and membrane.
▪ Remove the skin and white pith and eat as it is for a simple, refreshing dessert.
▪ Remove zest from orange and lemon; avoid the bitter white pith.
▪ Small wonder that doctors are calling for the return of the parasol and pith helmet.
▪ The blanched pith soaked up the sugar syrup during the candying process and turned out to be spectacular.
▪ The only real difference would be that the colonial governors sent to deal with the locals back then usually wore pith helmets.
▪ We tried taking out the pith from behind the bud, and we tried leaving it in - it made little difference.
The Collaborative International Dictionary
Pith

Pith \Pith\, n. [AS. pi?a; akin to D. pit pith, kernel, LG. peddik. Cf. Pit a kernel.]

  1. (Bot.) The soft spongy substance in the center of the stems of many plants and trees, especially those of the dicotyledonous or exogenous classes. It consists of cellular tissue.

    1. (Zo["o]l.) The spongy interior substance of a feather.

    2. (Anat.) The spinal cord; the marrow.

  2. Hence: The which contains the strength of life; the vital or essential part; concentrated force; vigor; strength; importance; as, the speech lacked pith.

    Enterprises of great pith and moment.
    --Shak.

    Pith paper. Same as Rice paper, under Rice.

Pith

Pith \Pith\, v. t. (Physiol.) To destroy the central nervous system of (an animal, as a frog), as by passing a stout wire or needle up and down the vertebral canal.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary
pith

Old English piþa "pith of plants," also "essential part," from West Germanic *pithan- (cognates: Middle Dutch pitte, Dutch pit, East Frisian pit), a Low German root of uncertain origin. Figurative sense was in Old English. Pith helmet (1889, earlier pith hat, 1884) so called because it is made from the dried pith of the Bengal spongewood.

pith

"to kill by piercing the spinal cord," 1805, from pith (n.). Related: Pithed; pithing.

Wiktionary
pith

n. 1 The soft, spongy substance in the center of the stems of many plants and trees. 2 The spongy interior substance of a feather. 3 The spinal cord; the marrow. 4 (context figuratively English) The essential or vital part. vb. 1 (context transitive English) To extract the pith from (a plant stem or tree). 2 (context transitive English) To kill (especially cattle or laboratory animals) by cutting or piercing the spinal cord.

WordNet
pith
  1. n. soft spongelike central cylinder of the stems of most flowering plants

  2. the choicest or most essential or most vital part of some idea or experience; "the gist of the prosecutor's argument"; "the heart and soul of the Republican Party"; "the nub of the story" [syn: kernel, substance, core, center, essence, gist, heart, heart and soul, inwardness, marrow, meat, nub, sum, nitty-gritty]

Wikipedia
Pith

Pith, or medulla, is a tissue in the stems of vascular plants. Pith is composed of soft, spongy parenchyma cells, which store and transport nutrients throughout the plant. In eudicots, pith is located in the center of the stem. In monocots, it extends also into flowering stems and roots. The pith is encircled by a ring of xylem; the xylem, in turn, is encircled by a ring of phloem.

While new pith growth is usually white or pale in color, as the tissue ages it commonly darkens to a deeper brown color. In trees pith is generally present in young growth, but in the trunk and older branches the pith often gets replaced - in great part - by xylem. In some plants, the pith in the middle of the stem may dry out and disintegrate, resulting in a hollow stem. A few plants, such as walnuts, have distinctive chambered pith with numerous short cavities (See image at middle right). The cells in the peripheral parts of the pith may, in some plants, develop to be different from cells in the rest of the pith. This layer of cells is then called the perimedullary region of the pithamus. An example of this can be observed in Hedera helix, a species of ivy.

The term pith is also used to refer to the pale, spongy inner layer of the rind - more properly called mesocarp or albedo - of citrus fruits (such as oranges) and other hesperidia. The word comes from the Old English word piþa, meaning substance, akin to Middle Dutchpitt, meaning the pit of a fruit.

The pith of the sola or other similar plants is used to make the pith helmet.

The pith of the sago palm, although highly toxic to animals in its raw form, is an important human food source in Melanesia and Micronesia by virtue of its starch content and its availability. There is an easy, primitive process of starch extraction from sago pith that leaches away a sufficient amount of the toxins and thus only the starch component is consumed. The form of the starch after processing is similar to tapioca.

Usage examples of "pith".

My first experiences in Egypt, pursuing mummies and climbing up and down cliffs, had convinced me that trailing skirts and tight corsets were a confounded nuisance in that ambience For many years my working costume had consisted of pith helmet and shirtwaist, boots, and Turkish trousers, or bloomers.

Until last year along name the Fashoda crisis and quite early one morning Covess was discovered in spats and a pith helmet, working his way around Piccadilly trying to recruit volunteers to invade France.

Until last year along came the Fashoda crisis, and quite early one morning Covess was discovered in spats and a pith helmet, working his way around Piccadilly, trying to recruit volunteers to invade France.

A fecula is washed from the abundant pith, which is chemically a starch, very demulcent, and more digestible than that of rice.

By the Arabs the pith of the Date-bearing Palm is eaten in like manner.

He was, however, in his personalities, chiefly remarkable for two queer and twinkling little eyes, and for a habitual custom of licking his lips whenever he said any thing of pith or jocosity, or thought that he had done so, which was very often the case.

The small cap with its insufficient puggaree is replaced by the pith helmet, the shade of which is increased by a long quilted covering.

He received money from Jimmy, a Rover Boy book from Betty Raye, and Anna Lee surprised him with a genuine Jungle Jim pith helmet.

Fiery lights shivered across his defences and he turned, seething with dark crackling humour, and spoke to the two Scarlet Magi who assailed him, uttered intimate truths, fatal Abstractions, and the world about them was wracked to the pith.

Moist pith of farls of bread, the froggreen wormwood, her matin incense, court the air.

The pith of the matter was that the Sieur Brian Philip Francis de la Montaigne proclaimed before all men the greater chivalry and skill at arms of the knights of France and of Dauphiny, and likewise the greater fairness of the ladies of France and Dauphiny, and would there defend those sayings with his body without fear or attaint as to the truth of the same.

Travel trunks, maps, and guidebooks evoked a peripatetic life of adventure, while bush jackets and pith helmets allowed customers to buy into the illusion.

My favorite lemon ices are flavored with the zestthe yellow layer of peel but not the white part, or pith, which is quite bitter.

One bent grayhead wore a yellow pith helmet and a double-breasted blue suit.

None of them wore the jibba, and their faces were un bearded They rushed towards each other, and Penrod saw the khaki of their tunics and the distinctive shape of their pith helmets.