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 House Minority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Maryland, offered the resolution calling on Pence to invoke his authority during a brief session Monday. Anchorage Daily News, "House moves forward on impeachment as GOP blocks call to remove Trump under 25th Amendment," 11 Jan. 2021 On Disney+, there’s a brief warning of offensive content, but the content is still jarring. Josh Spiegel, Vulture, "A Crash Course in the History of Disney Animation Through Disney+," 11 Jan. 2021 Teigen isn’t one to switch up her hair color often—by wig or dye—which makes this change, albeit brief, very fun. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "Chrissy Teigen Looks Incredible With Bright Purple Hair," 11 Jan. 2021 Including this magic language in the will means that the only action required in court is filing an application for probate, giving notice, appearing for a brief hearing, filing a proof and an oath, and preparing an inventory. Dallas News, "Texas wins again: California and Florida probates can’t compete," 10 Jan. 2021 They are released from their cells once a day for a brief phone call, which Troy Marin, an inmate, said is due to the shortage of staff caused by the outbreak. oregonlive, "2 die, nearly 400 inmates sickened after COVID-19 outbreak at Oregon prison," 9 Jan. 2021 The commission will be required to brief Congress by October on their progress and then issue a formal plan by October 2022 that will detail a list of assets to be removed or renamed and the cost associated with doing so. al, "These 4 people will examine how to rename Confederate-named military bases," 9 Jan. 2021 Trump made his first public speech about the Capitol Hill siege on Thursday in a brief video posted to Twitter. Zachary Halaschak, Washington Examiner, "The Capitol Police officer, the Air Force veteran, and the Trump super fans: The five who died amid the siege of Congress," 8 Jan. 2021 In the spring of 2017 Harry had a brief relationship with chef and food-blogger, Tess Ward. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "Here’s Everyone Harry Styles Has Reportedly Dated," 6 Jan. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Many of the Senate Republicans are ready to move on from the Trump era while House Republicans, including the top leadership, signed on to a brief supporting a Texas lawsuit in hopes that the Supreme Court would overturn the results. New York Times, "Trump’s Attack on Coronavirus Relief Divides G.O.P. and Threatens Recovery," 23 Dec. 2020 The Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office appealed the decision, and the Ohio Attorney General’s Office filed a friend of the court brief urging the high court to overturn the 8th District’s ruling. Cory Shaffer, cleveland, "10-year prison sentence reinstated for Richmond Heights couple in daughter’s death," 21 Dec. 2020 Part of the brief was published in what became his great work, Mare Liberum, or The Freedom of the Seas. Daniel Yergin, The Atlantic, "The Ghosts Who Haunt the South China Sea," 15 Dec. 2020 By the time the high court ruled, 126 Republicans in the U.S. House – roughly two-thirds of the caucus – signed a friend of the court brief supporting the Texas lawsuit. Todd J. Gillman, Dallas News, "Electoral College certifies Biden’s victory, as Trump still refuses to concede," 14 Dec. 2020 On Thursday, 106 House Republicans led by Louisiana Congressman Mike Johnson signed on to a brief with the Supreme Court in support of a lawsuit filed in Texas against Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Erin Corbett, refinery29.com, "It’s Scary How Many Congresspeople Are Still Backing Trump’s Fight To Remain President," 11 Dec. 2020 The attorney general of Washington, D.C., Karl Racine, is leading an effort by Democratic attorneys general to file a counterpart to the Republican brief in the case later today. William Thornton | Wthornton@al.com, al, "Steve Marshall at White House today in support of Trump’s election fight," 10 Dec. 2020 In addition to the brief from members of Congress, Republican state lawmakers in Michigan's House are seeking to join the litigation as parties in the lawsuit. Todd Spangler, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan Republican lawmakers call on US Supreme Court to overturn election," 10 Dec. 2020 In a brief filed to the court, attorneys for Polis responded to a suit raised by High Plains Harvest Church, which was seeking injunctive relief from his 50% capacity limit on churches. Nicholas Rowan, Washington Examiner, "Colorado says Supreme Court decision prompted it to drop church restrictions," 9 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Defense Department won't even brief us on many things. Kathryn Watson, CBS News, "Biden outlines plan for new round of COVID relief once in office," 23 Dec. 2020 Israeli companies hired Khalaf to brief their own guides on the do’s and don’ts of travel in the conservative country (Don’t kiss in public. Washington Post, "Package-tour diplomacy: Thousands of Israeli tourists flock to Dubai after peace deal," 14 Dec. 2020 Zweibelson supervises 10 to 20 officers, and uses roll call to inspect officers’ equipment, brief them and address any problems or concerns, the lawsuit states. Rebecca Lurye, courant.com, "Hartford police sergeant sues city and chief over alleged harassment by a ‘favorite’ officer in department," 9 Dec. 2020 President Donald Trump has resisted the norms on government transition, in which the old and new teams brief each other and coordinate. Dallas News, "Here’s what Dr. Anthony Fauci says about vaccines, bars, hair salons and your Thanksgiving plans," 22 Nov. 2020 Democrats on Capitol Hill were summoning Murphy to brief them and threatening to haul her to a public hearing. Lisa Rein Washington Post, Star Tribune, "Trump appointee approves transition in unusually personal letter to Biden," 23 Nov. 2020 President Donald Trump has resisted the norms on transition in which the old and new teams brief each other and coordinate. Elisabeth Rosenthal, Star Tribune, "When will we be able to do without our masks? I asked Dr. Fauci," 23 Nov. 2020 President Donald Trump has resisted the norms on government transition, in which the old and new teams brief each other and coordinate. Dallas News, "Here’s what Dr. Anthony Fauci says about vaccines, bars, hair salons and your Thanksgiving plans," 22 Nov. 2020 At monthly meetings, Knitowski would brief staff on the startup’s prospects for getting bought by another company or attracting angel investors, another former manager recalled. Garance Burke, Fortune, "Meet the financially troubled startup helped power Trump’s campaign," 18 Nov. 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

17 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Brief.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/brief. Accessed 25 Jan. 2021.

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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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Comments on brief

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