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
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

His brief stint as a Magnolia customer service agent. Taylor Mead, House Beautiful, "Baby Crew Gaines’s Reaction to the Camera Crew at Magnolia Market Is the Cutest Thing Ever," 13 Feb. 2019 After a brief stint in college, Bertie spent some time in military training with mediocre results, much to his parents' dismay. Lauren Hubbard, Town & Country, "What Was Queen Victoria Like as a Mother?," 13 Jan. 2019 Kelly didn’t particularly distinguish himself with major policy achievements during his brief stint at DHS. Andrew Prokop, Vox, "John Kelly is out as White House chief of staff, Trump announces," 8 Dec. 2018 Larry Culp’s first shareholder letter as General Electric Co.’s CEO was relatively brief and deployed less frequently some words and phrases that longtime leader Jeff Immelt often used to define the goals of the once-sprawling conglomerate. Inti Pacheco, WSJ, "GE CEO Letters Decoded: Shrinking Ambitions and Disappearing Buzzwords," 1 Mar. 2019 The closure was brief, only lasting just under 30 minutes between 10:13 a.m. and 10:45 a.m., per a New York Times report. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "Rogue Drone Sighting Shut Down All Fights at Dubai International," 15 Feb. 2019 The brief snippet of the series, titled Vader Immortal, showed a real-time 3D render of Vader that looked like something from a high-end smartphone. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Oculus Quest, a fully wireless VR headset, shipping spring 2019 for $399," 26 Sep. 2018 But denim has irreversibly altered the fashion landscape, despite its relatively brief history. Halie Lesavage, Glamour, "22 Iconic Denim Moments We're Still Talking About Today," 20 Aug. 2018 The teaser revealed a brief snippet of the transformation required to take Kim Possible from cartoon hero to IRL hero. Lauren Rearick, Teen Vogue, "Best Moments From Comic-Con 2018," 22 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The government’s brief is not due until Jan. 22, but DOJ lawyers asked the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, based in Richmond, Va., to put the appeal on ice until the shutdown ends. Dylan Scott, Vox, "Why the government shutdown is good legal news for Trump," 27 Dec. 2018 Mayfield has his own signature line of underwear from PSD, and the boxer briefs come in two varieties: Browns or Sooners colors. Tom Withers, The Seattle Times, "Mayfield ends impressive camp with Browns imitating GM," 21 Aug. 2018 That two goal advantage was brief, however, as the NWSL's leader in goals and assists quickly responded. Special To The Oregonian, OregonLive.com, "Portland Thorns fall to Orlando Pride as winless streak extends to 5 games," 12 May 2018 Several third parties have filed briefs in the appeal. Brent Kendall, WSJ, "Appeals Court to Consider AT&T’s Deal for Time Warner," 5 Dec. 2018 The state attorneys general and other entities suing the FCC have until November 16 to file reply briefs. Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica, "FCC tells court it has no “legal authority” to impose net neutrality rules," 12 Oct. 2018 Below is a brief, edited transcript of Nilay’s conversation with Sruthi on how Mount Pleasant moved people out of their homes to make way for Foxconn. Gautam Srikishan, The Verge, "What Foxconn’s really doing in Wisconsin, with Reply All’s Sruthi Pinnamaneni," 11 Dec. 2018 In brief, all filmmakers and production companies can choose to voluntarily submit their movies to the MPAA’s ratings board, a group of people employed by the organization who are mostly anonymous. Alissa Wilkinson, Vox, "Critics called Lars von Trier’s new movie “repulsive.” It’s being released twice.," 6 Dec. 2018 Internal joint cyber cd Intel piece for D, scenesetter for McDonough brief, Trainor [head of FBI cyber division] directed all cyber info be pulled. Brooke Singman, Fox News, "FBI agent says bureau leaked stories, then used them to get FISA warrants," 28 Aug. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

In late November and December that figure had been estimated at between 400 and 600 square kilometers, according to officials briefed on the matter. Matthew Lee, The Seattle Times, "US commander: IS hold in Syria, Iraq on verge of collapse," 5 Feb. 2019 Per the New York Times, pilots from United Airlines, Southwest Airlines and American Airlines were briefed on the update in a meeting with Boeing over the weekend. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "FAA 'Tentatively' Approves Software Update For The Grounded Boeing 737 Max 8," 25 Mar. 2019 The source told Fox News that Collins, Murkowski and Flake huddled with Manchin on the sidelines Thursday evening to discuss the nomination, right before the GOP lawmakers were briefed by Mitchell. Brooke Singman, Fox News, "Prosecutor tells wavering senators she wouldn't charge Kavanaugh, as vote looms," 28 Sep. 2018 But Euronews' partners NBC News have been briefed by US and Canadian law enforcement officials who say that mental illness is currently the leading theory based on their preliminary investigations. Samantha Ketterer, Houston Chronicle, "Boy, 4, who apparently shot himself, in serious condition," 11 July 2018 Gwinnett’s Board of Commissioners was briefed Tuesday on the final draft of the county’s historic transit development plan — and the amount of heavy rail recommended was more than double what was suggested in previous versions. Tyler Estep, ajc, "Gwinnett’s transit plan now (sort of) includes rail to Gwinnett Place," 26 June 2018 For one thing, the issue itself—suppression of favorable evidence by the prosecution—had not been briefed or argued by either side during the proceedings. Longreads, "The Bungled Bank Robbery That Ended in a Landmark Legal Ruling," 26 June 2018 Damage Control Trump was briefed by Comey before his inauguration about the allegations and immediately went into damage control mode, Comey said. Bloomberg.com, "Bloomberg," 13 Apr. 2018 Federal security clearances are also forthcoming, which allow state election officials to be briefed more quickly on classified intelligence. Benjamin Wofford, Vox, "The midterms are already hacked. You just don’t know it yet.," 25 Oct. 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

9 Apr 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
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

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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an enemy or opponent

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