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

Unlike a home run pursuit, in which there will be more games without a homer than with one, the quest for .400 affords only the briefest of lapses during a season. Tom Verducci, SI.com, "The Hard, Historic Roads That Lead to Baseball's Magic Number: .400," 8 Aug. 2019 The IronBirds were to battle the Tigers again Tuesday night and wrap up the series Wednesday at 7:05 p.m. Aberdeen will be back in town Thursday for another brief, three-game series. Randy Mcroberts, baltimoresun.com, "Aberdeen IronBirds drop fourth straight game, blanked in Connecticut," 6 Aug. 2019 And while the parent company, called SCL Group, meddled in elections across the world, Cambridge Analytica had a more specific brief - to use the emerging science of Big Data to help Republicans win U.S. elections. Craig Timberg, chicagotribune.com, "Brittany Kaiser regrets that her work with Cambridge Analytica helped elect Trump," 5 Aug. 2019 In this instance, one of our Flight Attendants attempted to have a brief moment of fun with Customers during boarding. Kelly O'sullivan, Country Living, "Southwest Flight Attendant Goes Viral After Climbing Into Overhead Compartment," 2 Aug. 2019 The brief also claims the company has transferred billions of dollars to other businesses run by the Sacklers. Andrew Oxford, azcentral, "Arizona attorney general wants U.S. Supreme Court's help to take money from family behind opioid drugmaker," 31 July 2019 In this instance, one of our Flight Attendants attempted to have a brief moment of fun with Customers during boarding. Hanna Flanagan, PEOPLE.com, "Southwest Airlines Flight Attendant Crawls Into Plane's Overhead Bin as Passengers Board Aircraft," 31 July 2019 Democrats in the House of Representatives filed a brief supporting them. oregonlive.com, "Supreme Court says President Trump can proceed with plan to spend military funds for border wall construction," 26 July 2019 Logan, after years of witty banter and quotable quips, has nothing but a brief aside to an approaching parking officer for his final words. Shirley Li, The Atlantic, "The Veronica Mars Twist That Undoes a Strong Season," 23 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Prior to the sentencing both prosecutors and Henderson's attorneys filed briefs on their positions. Carol Robinson | Crobinson@al.com, al, "Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals confirms Charles Todd Henderson’s perjury conviction," 9 Aug. 2019 Sixty craft breweries from across the country filed a brief in July in support of environmental advocates who are fighting the deregulation attempt in a case before the Supreme Court. Phil Mccausland, NBC News, "Clean Water case ferments trouble for craft breweries and environmentalists," 2 Aug. 2019 The judge ordered that the surrounding villages file a joint brief within 30 days, and then gave Sterigenics a week to respond. Clifford Ward, chicagotribune.com, "Towns given a month to respond to plan for Stergenics to re-open Willowbrook facility," 26 July 2019 Earlier this week, network equipment maker Ericsson, which also licenses cellular patents, filed a brief in support of Qualcomm’s request to stay Koh’s order. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Qualcomm gets support from Justice Department, others in anti-trust appeal," 16 July 2019 The Florida Justice Association, a statewide group of plaintiffs’ attorneys, filed a friend-of-the-court brief last month backing arguments by Parkland parents and victims that the $300,000 overall limit should be rejected. Jim Saunders, sun-sentinel.com, "How would limit on Broward school district liability in Parkland lawsuits affect other Florida districts?," 5 July 2019 Immigration attorneys filed a brief in federal court last month with testimonials from children there. CBS News, "Alex Azar says HHS is trying to reunite migrant children at Homestead center "as quickly as possible"," 28 June 2019 On Wednesday, a union representing officers filed a brief in support of a lawsuit against a Trump policy forcing asylum seekers back to Mexico to await their court proceedings in the United States. Molly O'toole, latimes.com, "New Trump policy may strip unaccompanied migrant children of protected status," 28 June 2019 The pharmaceutical industry also filed briefs on Friday. Danny Hakim, New York Times, "3,271 Pill Bottles, a Town of 2,831: Court Filings Say Corporations Fed Opioid Epidemic," 19 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The source said the the FBI briefed the Democratic Caucus on its investigation into Betts on a conference call. John Nolen, CBS News, "FBI has unlocked phone belonging to Dayton shooter," 8 Aug. 2019 Created in response to the 2001 terrorist attacks, the DNI is charged with coordinating the work of the nation’s intelligence agencies and briefing the president every day on the findings. David Jackson, USA TODAY, "Trump names Joseph Maguire acting spy chief after succession turmoil," 7 Aug. 2019 He and other top military and defense leaders such as Undersecretary of Defense Mike Griffin are briefing aerospace and defense leaders this week on current threats and future needs. Lee Roop | Lroop@al.com, al, "Top general says SpaceX may have just changed space defense," 6 Aug. 2019 Following an earlier discussion in May, village trustees were briefed during a July meeting on the legal ramifications of home rule and its usage in neighboring communities. Daniel I. Dorfman, chicagotribune.com, "Glencoe officials once again explore path toward home rule," 1 Aug. 2019 Soon after the discovery of the infiltrators, I was called back to India in May. There was a meeting in which the then chief of army staff, General Ved Prakash Malik, briefed Vajpayee. Gopalaswami Parthasarathy, Quartz India, "What was it like to be a diplomat in Pakistan during the Kargil war: A former Indian envoy remembers," 28 July 2019 Lofgren: In fact, your investigation found that Manafort briefed Kilimnik on the state of the Trump campaign and Manafort's plan to win the election and that briefing encompassed the campaign's messaging, its internal polling data. NBC News, "10 key sections of Mueller's report that came up during the hearings," 25 July 2019 In a call briefing reporters, ICE officials did not provide data on where the arrests occurred. Tal Kopan, SFChronicle.com, "ICE arrests of immigrant families lagged behind hype," 23 July 2019 Meaning, that consumers are fully briefed on old licensing deals and have encyclopedic knowledge of what's on the bench of every media company in town. Tim Goodman, The Hollywood Reporter, "Tim Goodman: What If WarnerMedia Got a Redo on the HBO Max Reveal?," 15 July 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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Dictionary Entries near brief

bridoon

brids

Brie

brief

brief bag

briefcase

briefing

Statistics for brief

Last Updated

13 Aug 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

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