brief

adjective
\ ˈbrēf \

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
b : curt, abrupt

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 [ 1brief ] : 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

Miu Miu sweater, $945, select Miu Miu boutiques, Jacquemus swim brief, $125, jacquemus.com Photo: Lachlan Bailey for WSJ. Elisa Lipsky-karasz, WSJ, "Gwyneth Paltrow Wants to Convert You," 4 Dec. 2018 The three states filed a brief Friday in the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, urging judges to reject a lawsuit filed against the FCC by 22 other states. Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica, "3 states try to help the FCC kill net neutrality and preempt state laws," 23 Oct. 2018 In our previous, but brief, photo glimpse of the newest Netflix addition, Kiernan Shipka aka Sabrina was clad in a crimson coat, the woods looking eerie behind her. Lauren Rearick, Teen Vogue, ""The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” Will Feature an Episode Inspired by “The Exorcist”," 31 Aug. 2018 The Senate session Monday is likely to be perfunctory and brief, absent any developments. Kristina Peterson, WSJ, "Partial Government Shutdown Likely to Stretch Into January," 27 Dec. 2018 Excess clear snot paired with other symptoms like a cough, fever, or general feeling of blahness that hangs around for three or four days may also signal the beginning a mild upper respiratory virus, like a brief cold, Dr. Voigt says. Amy Marturana, SELF, "What Your Snot Can Tell You About Your Health," 26 Dec. 2018 Thomas has a brief chat session with Santa via the Minitel, inviting him to come to his house that night. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Dial Code: Santa Claus is our new favorite holiday cult classic," 24 Dec. 2018 The announcement came with a brief trailer that introduced the show’s main characters. Andrew Liptak, The Verge, "DC Universe’s Doom Patrol arrives on February 15th," 21 Dec. 2018 As fans and viewers of the series know, John Ambrose — one of Lara Jean Covey's crushes — makes a brief appearance in the first film to deliver a bouquet of flowers to Lara. Lauren Rearick, Teen Vogue, "Social Media Thinks Cole Sprouse, KJ Apa, or Shawn Mendes Should Be Cast in “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before”," 20 Dec. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The paper also reported that briefs filed with the National Labor Relations Board show that Grinnell — a private liberal arts college with an $1.8 billion endowment — spends less than 2% of expenses on student wages. Kim Kelly, Teen Vogue, "Education Workers on Campuses Around the Country Are Demanding Better Labor Conditions," 10 Jan. 2019 Before the Golden Globes-buzz had a chance to die down, The Vogue100 hosted an intimate lunch to kick off red carpet season and de-brief on the awards show trends. Edward Barsamian, Vogue, "The Vogue100 Hosts an Intimate, Post-Golden Globes Lunch," 8 Jan. 2019 As requested by Robart, the city’s attorneys, in their filing, submitted a copy of the arbitrator’s decision and briefs that were filed during the appeal hearing. Steve Miletich, The Seattle Times, "Defending police reforms, Seattle tells federal judge that reinstatement of officer who punched woman is an ‘outlier’," 19 Dec. 2018 Throughout the episode, there were brief mentions of Jack leaving, and then at the end, Danny, Jamie (Will Estes), Eddie Janko (Vanessa Ray), and Jack's brother, Sean (Andrew Terraciano), all saw the teenager off on his new adventure. Jennifer Aldrich, Country Living, "Is Danny Reagan's Son on 'Blue Bloods' Leaving the Show?," 16 Nov. 2018 Save for one brief return to brunette in 2013, Witherspoon has oscillated ever so slightly between lighter and darker shades of blonde but this light spun gold look is one of her best. Macaela Mackenzie, Allure, "15 Celebrities Who Prove a Dye Job Makes a Huge Difference," 18 Oct. 2018 There’s too much plot to summarize all of it here, but in brief: Agnieszka is a peasant girl in a fantasy kingdom loosely inspired by Eastern European folklore. Vox Staff, Vox, "The most thought-provoking books the Vox staff read in 2018," 21 Dec. 2018 The department notified Congress of the decision in a brief, three-paragraph notice sent first to lawmakers and then to reporters. Matthew Lee, Fox News, "US cuts aid to Palestinians by more than $200 million," 24 Aug. 2018 The real problem, according to a Rand Corporation brief by Robert J. Reardon, would be Iran’s centrifuge production facilities. Zack Beauchamp, Vox, "Trump’s tweet to Iran threatens a war that would in all likelihood be absolutely catastrophic.," 23 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Aramco has been a backer of venture capital firms like Notion Capital, according to one person briefed on the arrangement. Theodore Schleifer, Recode, "Why Silicon Valley investors just can’t quit Saudi money," 25 Oct. 2018 The prosecutor, Rachel Mitchell, spoke at a meeting where all 51 Republican senators were present, two people briefed on the session said. Brooke Singman, Fox News, "Prosecutor tells wavering senators she wouldn't charge Kavanaugh, as vote looms," 28 Sep. 2018 The Treasury limits will be rolled out in phases, meaning not all Made in China 2025 sectors will be covered at once, said people briefed on this week’s action. Saleha Mohsin, Bloomberg.com, "Mnuchin Suffers Setback in U.S. Plan to Limit China Investments," 25 June 2018 The deal was reached after a late-night meeting on Wednesday at City Hall between Mayor Bill de Blasio and the City Council speaker, Corey Johnson, the people briefed on the negotiation said. New York Times, "Leaders Poised to Provide Discounted MetroCards to Low-Income New Yorkers," 7 June 2018 Chris McAuliffe briefs media about a lawnmower accident in the 2800 block of North Terrace on Wednesday evening. Scott Berson, miamiherald, "It sounded 'like a rock' was caught in the lawnmower. But it was a 5-year-old's foot | Miami Herald," 17 May 2018 Herbold said Seattle Fire Chief Harold Scoggins briefed council members on the plan. Heidi Groover, The Seattle Times, "As EMT strike looms, Seattle ambulance company brings in out-of-state replacement workers," 20 Dec. 2018 That may be the case, as analysts briefed by Qualcomm said that the chip’s power envelope was on par with the 845. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Meet Qualcomm's Snapdragon 855: AI boosts, a smarter camera, mobile gaming—and bye-bye, JPEG," 5 Dec. 2018 Marcoux on Tuesday briefed members of the Common Council's Zoning, Neighborhoods and Development Committee on projects in the Lakefront Gateway area. Tom Daykin, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Delayed Couture high-rise on Milwaukee's downtown lakefront to break ground by October," 10 Apr. 2018

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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Learn More about brief

Dictionary Entries near brief

bridoon

brids

Brie

brief

brief bag

briefcase

briefing

Statistics for brief

Last Updated

15 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for brief

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

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More Definitions for brief

brief

adjective

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

law : a document that states the facts a lawyer plans to use in a court case

: 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 \
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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with brief

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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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