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

For the uninitiated, a brief summary: Ledbetter was the plaintiff in an anti-discrimination case against her employer, Goodyear, starting in 1998. Emily Farra, Vogue, "Lilly Ledbetter Talks Ambition, Equal Pay, and Women in Politics Ahead of the Tory Burch Foundation’s Embrace Ambition Event," 8 Mar. 2019 Besides a brief remark of her demise during the Season 8 premiere that Danny Reagan's (Donnie Wahlberg) wife, played by Amy Carlson, had died in a helicopter accident, there was no warning—and no proper goodbye. Jennifer Aldrich, Country Living, "'Blue Bloods' Reveals Linda Reagan Returned to Give Danny an Important Message," 1 Mar. 2019 Edward II enjoyed some brief popularity for a few decades, before eventually fading into relative obscurity—only to reemerge with a glorious vengeance in the modern era. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Beyond The Favourite: The Royal Family's Very Queer History," 22 Feb. 2019 In that brief moment between the London and Milan shows, the fashion flock decamped to Rome, where Bulgari threw a lavish festa on the 20th anniversary of its Bzero1 ring, whose sculptural curves were inspired by the city’s iconic Colosseum. Monica Kim, Vogue, "Bella! Diplo! Davika! Suho! Bulgari Goes Global for Bzero1’s Fantastic Roman Festa," 20 Feb. 2019 That rule even applies to Elizabeth Olsen who, after a brief time living on the dark side, has returned to the signature family look with her latest hairstyle. Lucy Wood, Marie Claire, "Elizabeth Olsen's New Blonde Hair With Wispy Bangs is the Epitome of Olsen Style," 11 Dec. 2018 So, something zipping at a third the speed of light is moving nearly 56,000 miles (90,000 km) per second — fast enough to circle Earth twice in that brief time. Elizabeth Howell, Space.com, "The Stuff Falling into This Black Hole Is Moving at Almost 56,000 Miles a Second!," 25 Sep. 2018 But her brief time on the bench has raised questions about her experience. Anchorage Daily News, "Trump picks Kavanaugh for Supreme Court," 10 July 2018 In a way, Trump’s entire brief political career has been an echo of Barr. Dara Lind, Vox, "William Barr hearing: attorney general nominee’s immigration record aligns with Trump’s," 16 Jan. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 The company makes products for men and women including boxers, briefs, bras, underwear, lingerie, nightwear, socks, swimsuits and accessories. Austen Erblat, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Italian lingerie maker Intimissimi opens at Town Center mall in Boca Raton," 13 July 2018 Taylor Swift is one of those whose stardom is an enduring exception to the norm of brief, hot musical stardom. The Aegis, "Wishing on a star [Editorial]," 13 July 2018 Ask everyone to keep the occasional call brief, to change their ringtones to silent and to leave their cellphones in their purses or desk drawers. Anchorage Daily News, "My employee is constantly on her cellphone at work. How can I rein her in without looking unfair?," 9 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 Dicken dutifully briefs me on something called ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, in which the hormone megadoses cause too many eggs to grow. Laura Regensdorf, Vogue, "At 35, I Went to a Millennial Egg-Freezing Clinic—and Now I’m Rethinking My Future," 12 Nov. 2018 After a January 2017 briefing on Russia's attempt to meddle in the election, Pence, like other members of Trump’s incoming team, did not appear concerned with how to deal with Russia, according to Comey. Leigh Hedger, Indianapolis Star, "Messer didn’t disclose DUIs when he replaced lawmaker killed by drunken driver," 18 Apr. 2018 Aramco has been a backer of venture capital firms like Notion Capital, according to one person briefed on the arrangement. Theodore Schleifer, Recode, "Why Silicon Valley investors just can’t quit Saudi money," 25 Oct. 2018 The prosecutor, Rachel Mitchell, spoke at a meeting where all 51 Republican senators were present, two people briefed on the session said. Brooke Singman, Fox News, "Prosecutor tells wavering senators she wouldn't charge Kavanaugh, as vote looms," 28 Sep. 2018 The Treasury limits will be rolled out in phases, meaning not all Made in China 2025 sectors will be covered at once, said people briefed on this week’s action. Saleha Mohsin, Bloomberg.com, "Mnuchin Suffers Setback in U.S. Plan to Limit China Investments," 25 June 2018 The deal was reached after a late-night meeting on Wednesday at City Hall between Mayor Bill de Blasio and the City Council speaker, Corey Johnson, the people briefed on the negotiation said. New York Times, "Leaders Poised to Provide Discounted MetroCards to Low-Income New Yorkers," 7 June 2018 Chris McAuliffe briefs media about a lawnmower accident in the 2800 block of North Terrace on Wednesday evening. Scott Berson, miamiherald, "It sounded 'like a rock' was caught in the lawnmower. But it was a 5-year-old's foot | Miami Herald," 17 May 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

12 Mar 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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