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

The institute said Friday in a brief statement that Tonatiuh Guillén thanked President Andrés Manuel López Obrador for the opportunity to serve the country. Washington Post, "The Latest: Mexico migrant agency chief presents resignation," 15 June 2019 Pompeo did not take questions after giving the brief statement. Time, "U.S. Blames Iran for Oil Tanker Attacks Near Persian Gulf, Secretary of State Says," 13 June 2019 Werksman downplayed his client's purported wealth in a brief interview with CNN, saying, for example, that the Maserati was leased. Scott Glover, CNN, "US Customs supervisor had 'highly suspicious' contact with Chinese officials, prosecutors say," 13 June 2019 In a brief statement, the NBA said Stevens' ban is effective immediately and will carry through the entire 2019-2020 NBA season, including the playoffs. Samuel Chamberlain, Fox News, "Warriors part-owner who shoved Kyle Lowry gets one-year ban, fined $500G," 7 June 2019 Trump, who was on vacation in New Jersey during the unrest in Charlottesville, delivered a brief statement on the violence. CBS News, "Book excerpt: Jim Acosta's "The Enemy of the People"," 7 June 2019 The Health and Human Services Department announced the policy shift in a brief six-paragraph statement. Amy Goldstein, Anchorage Daily News, "Trump administration imposes new restrictions on fetal tissue research," 5 June 2019 Its headmaster, Simon O’Malley, made a brief statement welcoming Princess Charlotte to the fold. Glamour, "Princess Charlotte Officially Hit Another Royal Childhood Milestone," 25 May 2019 The university declined to comment beyond a brief statement. Ben Guarino, The Verge, "An academic reported sexual harassment. Her university allegedly retaliated," 12 Nov. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Another 32,340 people representing all 50 states -- most of them 25 or younger -- signed on to one of 15 friend-of-court briefs filed this year. oregonlive.com, "‘Climate change kids’ case argued before federal appeals court Tuesday: Watch live," 4 June 2019 The intimates line debuted with Brazilian Olympian Tom Hintnaus posing in briefs for famed photographer Bruce Weber; Calvin Klein intimates really exploded in the ’90s, after Mark Wahlberg and Kate Moss shot a racy commercial for the line. Chavie Lieber, Vox, "The Calvin Klein brand hired big-name fashion designer Raf Simons to build relevancy. Now he’s out.," 27 Dec. 2018 Arriving at the end of the month, Wang’s Uniqlo collaboration is launching with the most basic of basics: bodysuits, tees, leggings, bras, and briefs for men and women in a range of neutral colors and Wang’s favorite shade of neon green. Steff Yotka, Vogue, "Alexander Wang Is Launching a New Uniqlo Collaboration That’s All About Underwear," 10 Oct. 2018 Sessions referred the case to himself earlier this year and invited interested parties to submit briefs. Tal Kopan, CNN, "Jeff Sessions primed to overhaul asylum law," 11 June 2018 Her attorneys enlisted the help of the Lambda Legal Defense Fund, which advocates for gay rights, and the New York Civil Liberties Union, both of which wrote briefs on her behalf. New York Times, "When Living Your Truth Can Mean Losing Your Children," 25 May 2018 Attorneys have until June 22 to submit briefs on the question, and Isgur will hear oral arguments on July 12. David Barron, Houston Chronicle, "Court to hear more arguments in Comcast SportsNet bankruptcy case," 22 May 2018 Both sides in the appeal have been given until April 16 to file written briefs with the 5th Circuit. Mark Schleifstein, NOLA.com, "Federal judge denies stay in Bayou Bridge Pipeline case," 8 Mar. 2018 But the 301-page opinion might best be seen as an unofficial brief to the U.S. Supreme Court, which is expected to issue a decision before July that... Jess Bravin, WSJ, "Ohio Gerrymander Struck Down as Supreme Court Weighs Issue," 3 May 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Paul Ziemkiewicz, a director of WVU's Energy Institute testified before Congress in mid-May to brief lawmakers about advancements in the field. Megan Geuss, Ars Technica, "China’s saber-rattling on rare-earths trade has US officials looking for options," 30 May 2019 After Democrats and some Republicans objected to administration plans to brief only senior House Republicans, the meetings were expanded to include Democrats, and two were scheduled. Chris Megerian, latimes.com, "Justice Department leaders brief lawmakers on Russia investigation," 24 May 2018 According to The Times, details were confirmed by sources who were briefed on the discussions or memos written about the discussions by McCabe and others. Brooke Singman, Fox News, "Goodlatte subpoenas McCabe memos, materials in response to Rosenstein 'wire' report," 28 Sep. 2018 But presumably she's been briefed on them—plus, Arya's not the type to run from a fight. Katherine J. Igoe, Marie Claire, "Is Arya's Reanimated Family What She's Running From In 'Game of Thrones'?," 19 Apr. 2019 From there, we were ushered into a clean room where we were briefed on some of the reports from the project’s vast files: sightings from across the country, just a handful of stories of lights in the skies. Andrew Liptak, The Verge, "The History Channel’s scripted ‘Project Blue Book’ arrives later this year," 23 July 2018 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

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

18 Jun 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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