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

This is mainly focused on the brief tornadoes possible and damaging wind gusts associated with Tropical Storm Barry. Leigh Morgan, al.com, "Hurricane Barry bringing torrential rain to parts of Alabama; what else is coming?," 13 July 2019 Back in April, a pre-production Corvette in vinyl-wrap concealer pulled Uber duty in a brief publicity stunt, taking GM CEO Mary Barra to a Manhattan charity event. Jeff Yip, Houston Chronicle, "Chevy’s first mid-engine Corvette debuts Thursday," 13 July 2019 There was a brief pause to wonder if Williamson would be enough to make Davis stay, but there was never much chance of that; things had gone from bad to worse in the divorce. Thomas Beller, The New Yorker, "Russell Westbrook, Kawhi Leonard, Anthony Davis, and the N.B.A. Free-Agent Kaleidoscope," 12 July 2019 For a brief time, we were united as a people, a nation, a planet. Mark Dawidziak, cleveland.com, "TV allowed all of us to ride along on Apollo 11 mission," 12 July 2019 The Russians did make a brief stand at Smolensk, and on August 19, a force of about 30,000 French troops clashed with 40,000 Russian troops at the Battle of Volutino. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Remains of Napoleonic General Believed to Have Been Found in Russian Park," 12 July 2019 Yet even in those brief bursts, the skill was obvious. Shawn Windsor, Detroit Free Press, "Why Michigan State basketball has a secret weapon in Marcus Bingham," 12 July 2019 Even when the show echoes those tropes with a scene explaining the narrative device in the first season, it’s done in a hand-waving kind of way, mercifully brief. Lawrence Ware, New York Times, "Done with ‘Stranger Things’? Here Is Your Next Netflix Binge," 11 July 2019 In a brief email statement, Davis, the solicitor, said city attorneys were disappointed by the ruling. Tim Prudente, baltimoresun.com, "Federal appeals court faults Baltimore police for gag orders, calls practice unconstitutional ‘hush money’," 11 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Hadiza Gagara Dagah is a co-author of the policy brief, Jump-starting the African Monetary Fund , on which this article is based. Danny Bradlow, Quartz Africa, "After the free trade agreement, we need to focus on realizing the African Monetary Fund," 6 July 2019 Writing clear, concise and accurate briefs for film-makers. The Economist, "Job listing: Data researcher for Economist Films," 25 June 2019 His commutation cites his legal work with other inmates, helping them write briefs and fill out court forms. Paul Elias, The Seattle Times, "Billionaire Boys Club’s Joe Hunt seeks cut in life sentence," 23 Oct. 2018 Cooper wrote copious briefs that showed Atlanta could provide the demand necessary to support international travel, providing the federal government with reams of data. J. Scott Trubey, ajc, "Roy Cooper, 91, helped Hartsfield-Jackson become international airport," 14 June 2018 Prosecutors and defense attorneys submitted written briefs Monday in the case against Noor Salman, after arguing the matter in court earlier this month. Gal Tziperman Lotan, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Judge in Noor Salman case to decide on Pulse shooter's calls to police," 30 Jan. 2018 Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar gave CBS News' Manuel Bojorquez a brief, guided tour. CBS News, "Inside the controversial migrant detention center in Homestead, Florida," 28 June 2019 The collection consists of bikini briefs, thongs, bras, waist trainers, body suits, thermal leggings and more, retailing from $22 to $98. Helen Murphy, PEOPLE.com, "Kim Kardashian Responds to Cultural Appropriation Backlash Over 'Kimono' Shapewear Name," 28 June 2019 The state of Ohio signed onto a legal brief that agrees with them. Sabrina Eaton, cleveland.com, "Supreme Court refuses to invalidate gerrymandered congressional districts in cases likely to affect Ohio," 27 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

White House officials have begun discussing such a scenario with some congressional aides, several people briefed on the talks said Monday. Damian Paletta, Washington Post, "White House presses for fall-back plan on debt ceiling if budget talks fall through," 15 July 2019 None of the documents or lawsuits available to the Free Press indicates when the board of directors was briefed about the transmissions or whether board members were involved in decisions to move ahead despite concerns. Freep.com, "FREE PRESS INVESTIGATION: OUT OF GEAR Ford knew Focus, Fiesta models had flawed transmission, sold them anyway," 11 July 2019 The parties will next brief the court on Tuesday afternoon, the group said. Cnn.com Wire Service, The Mercury News, "Trump administration considers delaying 2020 Census," 1 July 2019 But when briefed on the nonprofit's plans, the Israel Space Agency and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), the country's primary defense contractor, cautioned SpaceIL that its plans were only half-baked. Michael Greshko, National Geographic, "First privately funded moon lander crash-lands," 12 Apr. 2019 This came to light after the census case was briefed and argued, and thus could not factor into the court’s decision. S.m. | New York, The Economist, "The Supreme Court blocks a citizenship question on the 2020 census," 28 June 2019 The last time Sanders briefed the press from the podium was March 11, more than 100 days ago. Kathryn Watson, CBS News, "Sarah Sanders marks her last day at the White House, leaving job to Stephanie Grisham," 28 June 2019 Under the mayor’s order, which aldermen were briefed on Thursday, many services will no longer need the traditional letter of support from the local alderman to get the go-ahead. John Byrne, chicagotribune.com, "Aldermen skeptical about Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s plan to centralize ward services like trash cans, tree trimming," 27 June 2019 Activists who've helped to organize the vigil briefed O'Rourke on the street outside the fence. Todd J. Gillman, Dallas News, "At Florida detention site for migrant teens, Beto O’Rourke slams Trump, parries Julian Castro’s jabs," 27 June 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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Learn More about brief

Dictionary Entries near brief

bridoon

brids

Brie

brief

brief bag

briefcase

briefing

Statistics for brief

Last Updated

16 Jul 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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