brief

adjective
\ ˈbrēf How to pronounce brief (audio) \

Definition of brief

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : short in duration, extent, or length a brief meeting
2a : concise gave a brief description of events promises to be brief

brief

noun

Definition of brief (Entry 2 of 3)

1a : an official letter or mandate (see mandate entry 1 sense 1) especially, Roman Catholicism : a papal letter less formal than a bull
b : a specific instruction or responsibility his brief was to strengthen the army
2a : a concise article (as in a newspaper) a news brief
c law : a concise statement of a client's case made out for the instruction of an attorney usually by a law clerk
3 : an outline of an argument especially, law : a formal written presentation of an argument that sets forth the main points with supporting precedents and evidence a legal brief filed a brief
4 briefs plural [brief entry 1] : short snug pants or underpants wearing briefs
in brief
: in a few words : briefly today's news in brief

brief

verb
briefed; briefing; briefs

Definition of brief (Entry 3 of 3)

transitive verb

1 : to make an abstract or abridgment of brief a report summarized northeastern Siberian archaeology and has briefed many normally unavailable sources— Wendell Oswalt
2a : to give final precise instructions to were briefed before their mission
b : to coach thoroughly in advance
c : to give essential information to The president is being briefed by his advisors.
3 : to discuss (something, such as a military operation) in a briefing briefed the mission

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Other Words from brief

Adjective

briefness noun

Verb

briefer noun

Examples of brief in a Sentence

Adjective The meeting will be brief. The essay is brief but thorough enough. a few brief words of caution Noun Her brief is to manage the company's sales department. a one-page brief of the intelligence report Verb The captain briefed the crew on the new safety procedures. The President has been briefed by his advisers.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The meeting appeared to be brief, and appointees walked out while dozens of reporters and photographers waited to be admitted to the mayor's main conference room. Jim Schaefer, Detroit Free Press, "Worthy makes Kilpatrick the first Detroit mayor to face felony counts," 30 May 2020 Conversations are encouraged to be brief, and people can use a combination of other communication styles, like hand gestures or eye expressions. Andrea Romano, Travel + Leisure, "Japan Is Asking Theme Park Visitors to Avoid Screaming on Roller Coasters," 28 May 2020 The first training video was brief and straightforward. Haley Draznin, CNN, "How everyday Americans have turned disease detectives — armed with a phone," 26 May 2020 The note was brief, its message fitting easily on a small, sticky sheet. Michael Gehlken, Dallas News, "Cowboys WR CeeDee Lamb is known for making ‘unreal’ catches in big moments, but it’s his ‘dog’ mentality that sets him apart," 23 May 2020 The emails, provided after a Texas Public Records Act request, were brief and did not contain much information. Jeff Forward, Houston Chronicle, "Internal emails reveal little about Shenandoah police chief’s resignation," 20 May 2020 Sara Hill: His observation of this individual was very brief at a stoplight. Peter Van Sant, CBS News, "Solving the mystery behind the disappearance of Kelly Dwyer," 16 May 2020 While some admissions to the hospital may be brief, the sickest can stay for months or longer. oregonlive, "Oregon’s coronavirus hospitalizations have plummeted. See just how far in this graph.," 13 May 2020 Ensuring proper reverence, Mass should not be unnecessarily long; homilies should be brief. Madeline Mitchell, Cincinnati.com, "In-person Mass to resume, but this is not going to be 'a return to normal,' Archbishop says," 8 May 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Still, many of the newest job losses may indeed be temporary -- and brief. Mike Rogoway | The Oregonian/oregonlive, oregonlive, "Oregon Insight: Even as state reopens it continues shedding job at ‘alarming’ rate," 31 May 2020 As of Friday, two remained hospitalized in good condition, while the other five were discharged after brief hospital stays and doing well at home. Gina Barton, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Wisconsin sees its largest single-day increase in coronavirus cases and its first children with multisystem inflammatory syndrome," 29 May 2020 On Friday, the Uncut Gems star posted a brief but moving happy birthday message to the late Cameron Boyce, who played Sandler's onscreen son in 2010's Grown Ups and 2013's Grown Ups 2. Tyler Aquilina, EW.com, "Adam Sandler wishes his late Grown Ups son Cameron Boyce a happy 21st birthday," 29 May 2020 The letter also requests that the department brief the committee on all three matters after conducting its investigations. Grace Segers, CBS News, "House Democrats ask Justice Department to investigate police misconduct in George Floyd case," 28 May 2020 Most quickly settle their bets, say brief goodbyes and head home. Sportsday Staff, Dallas News, "A day without sports: A peek inside the lives of D-FW figures like Rick Carlisle, Chuck Morgan and more during coronavirus," 28 May 2020 The legal briefs pointed out that many DACA recipients are working as health care providers on the front lines in the battle against the pandemic. Daniel Gonzalez, azcentral, "U.S. Supreme Court will soon decide the fate of 650,000 'Dreamers.' Here's what could happen," 27 May 2020 Hill's brief is a response to a motion from Gov. Eric Holcomb that asked the high court to clarify whether Hill's suspension will result in his removal from office. Crystal Hill, The Indianapolis Star, "Indiana AG Curtis Hill's suspension starts next week. What happens in his absence?," 15 May 2020 Do not gather in groups or linger at any one location, except as needed for brief rests. Nina Agrawal, Los Angeles Times, "Long Beach to open more recreational areas on Monday," 10 May 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Conversations between Treasury and postal officials on the loan began last week where those terms were discussed, according to congressional staffers briefed on the meetings. Author: Jacob Bogage, Josh Dawsey, Anchorage Daily News, "Postal service launches review of package delivery fees as Trump pressure grows," 14 May 2020 The seizure and an accompanying search for his electronic storage accounts, confirmed by an investigator briefed on the case, represented a significant escalation of the inquiry by the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission. New York Times, "Richard Burr Steps Back From Senate Panel as Phone Is Seized in Stock Sales Inquiry," 14 May 2020 Of the roughly $3 trillion, about $1 trillion would go to state, local and tribal governments, according to two sources briefed on the proposal. Fox News, "House Dems unveil coronavirus bill estimated to cost $3T, in largest stimulus package yet," 12 May 2020 Responding to calls for all teachers and staff to be tested before schools reopen, Vice Minister of Education Park Baeg-beom told a briefing the government did not have the capacity to test all 600,000 of them. NBC News, "Tracing of S. Korea's new coronavirus outbreak focuses on LGBTQ clubs," 11 May 2020 Put another way, this briefing told us that Fort Meade in Maryland shared more information obtained from American Internet companies than from any other source. Barton Gellman, Washington Post, "After receiving top-secret documents from the NSA whistleblower, reporter Barton Gellman broke the news that the National Security Agency was spying on Americans. Here’s how it happened.," 11 May 2020 During the question-and-answer portion of Newsom’s daily briefing Wednesday, Wagner got on a reporter’s phone and mentioned Orange County’s vote on business guidelines from the previous day. Los Angeles Times, "All L.A. County residents, even those without symptoms, can now get tested for COVID-19," 29 Apr. 2020 White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, told the AP on Monday that Trump was first briefed by intelligence agencies about the virus on Jan 23, and then again on Jan 28. Washington Post, "Trump’s anti-China rhetoric aimed at boosting US leverage," 5 May 2020 Photo Illustration: Tom Hall/Bloomberg Welcome to the Brussels Edition, Bloomberg’s daily briefing on what matters most in the heart of the European Union. Viktoria Dendrinou, Bloomberg.com, "Brussels Edition: Back from the Brink," 29 Apr. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'brief.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of brief

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

1836, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for brief

Adjective

Middle English bref, breve, from Anglo-French bref, brief, from Latin brevis; akin to Old High German murg short, Greek brachys

Noun

Middle English bref, from Anglo-French, from Medieval Latin brevis, from Late Latin, summary, from Latin brevis brief entry 1

Verb

verbal derivative of brief entry 2

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Time Traveler for brief

Time Traveler

The first known use of brief was in the 14th century

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Statistics for brief

Last Updated

3 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Brief.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/brief. Accessed 4 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for brief

brief

adjective
How to pronounce brief (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of brief

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: lasting only a short period of time
: using only a few words
of clothing : covering less of the body than is usual

brief

noun

English Language Learners Definition of brief (Entry 2 of 3)

: a brief statement or report
US, law : a document that states the facts a lawyer plans to use in a court case
chiefly British : instructions that explain what a person is supposed to do

brief

verb

English Language Learners Definition of brief (Entry 3 of 3)

: to give information or instructions to (someone)

brief

adjective
\ ˈbrēf How to pronounce brief (audio) \
briefer; briefest

Kids Definition of brief

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: not very long : short a brief explanation

Other Words from brief

briefly adverb

brief

verb
briefed; briefing

Kids Definition of brief (Entry 2 of 2)

: to give information or instructions to The captain briefed the crew on the plan.

brief

noun

Legal Definition of brief

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a concise statement of a client's case written for the instruction of an attorney usually by a law clerk

called also memorandum

2 : a formal written presentation of an argument that sets forth the main points with supporting precedents and evidence

Note: Briefs are filed either by a party or an amicus curiae with a court usually regarding a specific motion (as for summary judgment) or point of law.

Legal Definition of brief (Entry 2 of 2)

: to write a brief concerning (a motion or question of law)

History and Etymology for brief

Noun

Old French bref, brief letter, writ indicating legal proceedings, from Late Latin brevis, breve short document, summary, from Latin brevis, adjective, short

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More from Merriam-Webster on brief

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for brief

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with brief

Spanish Central: Translation of brief

Nglish: Translation of brief for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of brief for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about brief

Comments on brief

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