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 Any light, brief, spotty showers try to hold off until afternoon, but a small umbrella may be a good idea during the day. Washington Post, "D.C.-area forecast: Clouds can’t hold back springlike temperatures this weekend," 10 Jan. 2020 The brief explains: [T]he scheme here satisfies all of the requirements set forth in this Court’s precedents interpreting that text. Ephrat Livni, Quartz, "A criminal cover-up on the world’s busiest bridge hits the US Supreme Court," 10 Jan. 2020 Since past SoftBank deals were made after the briefest of meetings between Son and a startup founder, SoftBank’s rigor appears to be newly discovered in the wake of its big investments souring. Owen Thomas, SFChronicle.com, "SoftBank has pumped up Silicon Valley twice. Will we ever learn?," 8 Jan. 2020 Getting from a brief, where the company spells out its aims for the work, to early creative executions took an average of six weeks. Nat Ives, WSJ, "Smucker Says Marketing Shake-Up Saved It From Boring Ads," 7 Jan. 2020 Which made the brief both surprising and not: Of the 207 signatories (all but two of them Republican) most if not all of them have campaigned on a belief that Roe should be overturned. Katie Mcdonough, The New Republic, "Abortion Without Roe," 3 Jan. 2020 Thirteen Republicans did not sign the brief, including eight who are up for reelection this year. NBC News, "Over 200 members of Congress ask Supreme Court to 'reconsider' Roe v. Wade," 2 Jan. 2020 The improbable winner of 11 Tony Awards, including the 2018 Best Musical prize, is making a brief touring stop at Minneapolis’ Orpheum Theatre. Dominic P. Papatola, Twin Cities, "Review: ‘The Band’s Visit’ is a small musical with a ton of heart," 11 Dec. 2019 But the brief video starts only at the onset of the takedown and doesn't show what led to it. Jason Hanna, Joe Sutton And Melissa Alonso, CNN, "A Chicago police officer slammed a man to the street during an arrest. The department is investigating," 29 Nov. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun But their time at home as a family was brief: Joe began his own 41-month prison sentence in March 2016 and was released last March. Michele Corriston, PEOPLE.com, "RHONJ's Teresa Giudice Breaks Her Silence on Reunion with Husband Joe in Italy: 'I'm Unbreakable'," 14 Nov. 2019 There is one brief, judiciously placed sequence enacted in slow motion. Ben Brantley, New York Times, "‘Is This a Room’ Review: Why’d She Blow the Whistle?," 24 Oct. 2019 The list of lefties who can launch baseballs there is brief. Chandler Rome, Houston Chronicle, "Astros drop Game 1 of World Series to Nationals," 22 Oct. 2019 Such an order typically is brief, ranging from a few days to about three weeks. Matthew Daly, courant.com, "Sen. Richard Blumenthal’s bipartisan ‘red flag’ gun laws plan has support in Congress," 7 Aug. 2019 But her time with the dowager queen was brief: Katherine died in childbirth in September 1548, and her husband, clouded by accusations of impropriety and treasonous intentions, was executed less than a year later. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian, "Is This the Childhood Home of Lady Jane Grey, England’s Nine-Day Queen?," 3 July 2019 Progressive Asian Americans have fought back with their own barrage of op-eds, social media campaigns, petitions and amicus briefs to defend college access for traditionally underrepresented minority groups. Jenn Fang, NBC News, "The Decade in Asian America," 31 Dec. 2019 This three-pack of boxer briefs features supportive stretch nylon for all-day comfort. CNN Underscored, "The best styles to shop from Nordstrom's Half Yearly Sale," 27 Dec. 2019 The editors decide which stories will have more length and context, which will end up as two to three paragraph briefs and which won’t make the page. Sue Mcmillin, The Denver Post, "McMillin: Nothing can quite replace the smell of newsprint in the morning, but e-editions are close," 26 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The city’s audit and accountability committee was then briefed on the bidding process and OK’d moving the sale on to City Council. Madison Iszler, ExpressNews.com, "Former hotel building downtown could be turned into mixed-income apartments," 30 Dec. 2019 Before heading out, participants are briefed on harp seal biology, etiquette, and safety on the ice. Jennifer Hayes, National Geographic, "Inside the fragile world of Québec’s harp seals," 19 Dec. 2019 Players who are new to the rivalry will be briefed. Michelle Gardner, azcentral, "ASU looks to ride momentum of Oregon victory into rivalry week," 25 Nov. 2019 Their presence at the Baghdad meeting, which was first reported by The Wall Street Journal, unsettled participants, according to four people who attended the event or were briefed on it. Yeganeh Torbati, ProPublica, "How Mike Pence’s Office Meddled in Foreign Aid to Reroute Money to Favored Christian Groups," 6 Nov. 2019 Investigators in the inquiry have negotiated with a Bolton lawyer about a date for a closed-door deposition, The New York Times reported Thursday, citing two people briefed on the matter. Carol E. Lee, NBC News, "John Bolton's lawyers have been in contact with House committees leading inquiry," 26 Oct. 2019 Neumann would be left with less than 10% of the shares and voting rights at the company, according to three people briefed on the plan. Los Angeles Times, "WeWork board weighs $9.5-billion takeover bid from SoftBank," 21 Oct. 2019 After noticing that he was being followed, Khan took pictures of his pursuers, culminating in a confrontation in downtown Zurich when the men tried to take his mobile phone, according to people briefed on the events. Patrick Winters, Bloomberg.com, "Credit Suisse Starts Investigation After Former Star Is Shadowed," 23 Sep. 2019 Elliott said he will be briefed daily while overseas. USA TODAY, "Thousands of koalas feared dead as wildfires ravage Australia," 30 Dec. 2019

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

15 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Brief.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/brief. Accessed 19 January 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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