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 [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 Amwell conducted a brief pilot program at Mass. General in 2013 to provide remote visits between doctors and patients with psychiatric, cardiac, and neurological diagnoses. Liz Kowalczyk, Sarah L. Ryley, Mark Arsenault, STAT, "Boston’s hospital chiefs moonlight on corporate boards at rates far beyond the national level," 9 Apr. 2021 The governor appealed to the Supreme Court, which heard verbal arguments earlier this week and issued a brief order on Thursday. James Brooks, Anchorage Daily News, "Alaska Supreme Court backs Gov. Dunleavy in dispute with Legislature over appointments to state boards," 9 Apr. 2021 On Thursday morning, Swift appeared on Good Morning America in a pre-recorded message to fans, sharing her excitement for the new version to be out in the world — while also offering a brief sneak peek at the title track. Benjamin Vanhoose, PEOPLE.com, "Taylor Swift Is 'Ecstatic' About Fearless (Taylor's Version) Dropping at Midnight — Hear a Preview!," 8 Apr. 2021 Longtime metro Detroit chef Matt Prentice, who once ran more than a dozen restaurants, has died after a brief illness. Susan Selasky, Detroit Free Press, "Longtime metro Detroit chef Matt Prentice dies at 62," 8 Apr. 2021 The Tinley Park Convention Center vaccination site was put on lockdown for a brief period Thursday morning due to police activity, according to Cook County Health. Paige Fry, chicagotribune.com, "Tinley Park Convention Center vaccination site put on lockdown after ‘police activity,’ Cook County Health says," 8 Apr. 2021 For those who don’t usually sweat the details of the federal budget process, a brief refresher on budget reconciliation is in order. Philip Wallach, National Review, "The Perils of Making Reconciliation a Filibuster Workaround," 8 Apr. 2021 Aside from that brief snowfall on the first of the month, the season has brought pleasant temperatures, with highs reaching 60 or higher 10 times within the past two weeks, according to AccuWeather. Cameron Fields, cleveland, "Thermometer hits 84 degrees this afternoon, breaking Cleveland’s record-high temperature for the day," 8 Apr. 2021 The National Weather Service said the main threat is damaging winds, though a brief weak tornado cannot be ruled out, mainly along and south of the Ohio River. Sarah Brookbank, The Enquirer, "Cincinnati weather: Storms expected Thursday, showers will continue through the weekend," 8 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun MacDonald’s legal brief cited the threat of COVID-19 to his already fragile health as a reason that he should be released. Gary Robertson, baltimoresun.com, "No release from Maryland federal prison for ex-Army captain guilty in ‘Fatal Vision’ murders," 10 Apr. 2021 The court’s brief, unsigned order followed earlier ones striking down limits on attendance at houses of worship meant to combat the coronavirus. BostonGlobe.com, "By 5-4 Vote, Supreme Court lifts restrictions on prayer meetings in homes," 10 Apr. 2021 This brief and somewhat more brooding work, conceived as incidental music for a play, again sees Smith in prime lyrical mode, masterfully articulating a poignant mythical scene. Zachary Lewis, cleveland, "Cleveland Orchestra treats Adella patrons to electic 20th-century program, with flute," 9 Apr. 2021 By zeroing in on his brief, triumphant tenure as owner of the Indians, Epplin captures Veeck at his best. Washington Post, "In Cleveland, four men helped bring baseball into the modern age," 9 Apr. 2021 MacDonald's legal brief cited the threat of COVID-19 to his already fragile health as a reason that he should be released. Gary D. Robertson, Star Tribune, "No release for ex-officer guilty in 'Fatal Vision' murders," 9 Apr. 2021 Parents can listen to children’s worries and express understanding about them in a brief and age-appropriate way. Dominique A. Phillips, The Conversation, "Here’s how to help your kids break out of their pandemic bubble and transition back to being with others," 7 Apr. 2021 More than 200 businesses signed a friend-of-the-court brief — written by GOP mega-lawyer Ted Olsen — opposing North Carolina’s anti-transgender bathroom law. Philip Elliott, Time, "Mitch McConnell Tries to Have it Both Ways on Corporate Cash," 7 Apr. 2021 The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan filed a brief supporting Matthews. Ed White, Detroit Free Press, "Woman in same-sex relationship wins appeal over kid custody in Michigan," 3 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb When she’s found inextricably linked to a dead man, Stabler stops by to brief her. Lillian Brown, Vulture, "20 Law & Order: SVU Episodes That Define Benson and Stabler’s Partnership," 1 Apr. 2021 Following the visits, the delegation will brief reporters. Rick Klein, Averi Harper, ABC News, "Power of 1 highlights challenges for Biden: The Note," 26 Mar. 2021 Aides are set to brief Mr. Biden this week on plans to invest between $3 trillion and $4 trillion in spending and tax credits on a wide range of efforts meant to bolster the economy. New York Times, "Biden’s Recovery Plan Bets Big on Clean Energy," 23 Mar. 2021 But a royal press pack has access to members of the family at official events, and aides often anonymously brief the media. NBC News, "Harry and Meghan criticism won't deter U.K. press' royal fascination, experts say," 10 Mar. 2021 President Biden asked senior officials last week to travel to the border in order to brief him on the matter. Emma Colton, Washington Examiner, "CBP shuts down border checkpoints due to influx of migrants, setting back anti-trafficking efforts," 10 Mar. 2021 The Queen is not expected to stay up to watch the special live, but her aides will and will reportedly brief her on it in the morning over breakfast. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "The Queen Won't Stay Up to Watch Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's Oprah Interview Tonight," 7 Mar. 2021 Biden economic adviser Brian Deese is scheduled to brief a bipartisan group of Senators in a call today to push his 1.9 trillion dollar covid relief plan. NBC News, "Meet the Press - January 24, 2021," 24 Jan. 2021 Two days after the moderates unveiled their outline, Collins, Murkowski, Romney and Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., met with McConnell in his spacious Capitol office suite to brief the leader on their plan. Nicholas Fandos, chicagotribune.com, "A dinner, a deal and moonshine: How the stimulus came together," 22 Dec. 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

11 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Brief.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/brief. Accessed 20 Apr. 2021.

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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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