brief

adjective
\ ˈbrēf \

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

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 Above, take a look back at their life together, from the milestones to the brief moments. Madeleine Luckel, Vogue, "Happy Birthday Kate Middleton! A Look Back at Her Life, and Romance, With Prince William," 9 Jan. 2019 Republicans seized on his brief hip-hop career to portray Delgado, who is black, as unfit for office. Luis Alonso Lugo, The Seattle Times, "Dems: Latino turnout up 174 percent over ’14 in early voting," 13 Nov. 2018 Brinkley declined to discuss her brief movie career — or anything else — with me. Stu Bykofsky, Philly.com, "Why Trump should have picked Philly Judge Genece Brinkley for U.S. Supreme Court | Stu Bykofsky," 12 July 2018 XXXTentacion signed several different deals during his brief career, and the Times reported that due to a clause in his most recent one, with the Universal Music Group, a new album won't likely be released before October. Gil Kaufman, Billboard, "XXXTentacion Signed $10 Million Record Deal Weeks Before Murder: Report," 9 July 2018 Born into a highly political family, Thorpe studied at Eton and Oxford before segueing a brief law career into politics. Julie Miller, HWD, "The Secret, Real-Life Love Affair Behind A Very English Scandal," 1 July 2018 The troubled rapper’s brief career was marked by legal troubles – including a 2016 arrest for attacking his pregnant girlfriend. Gina Martinez, Time, "Convicted Car Thief Arrested in XXXTentacion Murder Investigation," 21 June 2018 Connors was an old-school character who had a brief playing career but turned into one of the game’s more renowned pitching coaches in the 1980s and ’90s. Paul Sullivan, chicagotribune.com, "Former Cubs pitching coach Billy Connors dead at 76," 20 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The Air Force's Accident Investigation Board also determined the pilot raised the aircraft landing gear prematurely and that the daily brief was inadequate. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Air Force Releases Explanation for April's F-22 Belly Flop Accident," 19 Nov. 2018 The liberal American Civil Liberties Union, despite its support for gun control, filed a friend of the court brief in defense of the free-speech rights of the NRA. Fox News, "Andrew Cuomo using banks to target NRA, faces major legal test," 24 Sep. 2018 Still, the filers of the brief do argue that the problem is about net neutrality in a different sense. Colin Lecher, The Verge, "Verizon says throttling firefighters wasn’t about net neutrality — was it?," 23 Aug. 2018 After the brief, slightly tense conversation, Deacon retreats to his dressing room, only to be greeted by another unexpected visitor—Rayna. Jennifer Aldrich, Country Living, "Connie Britton Made a Surprise Appearance on the 'Nashville' Series Finale and Fans Lost Their Minds," 27 July 2018 The software suggests the most effective precedents, in addition to scouring the legal brief for errors. Noam Cohen, The New Republic, "There’s No App for Justice," 25 Apr. 2018 But Attorney General Pam Bondi's office, which represented the Florida Department of Revenue, argued in a brief that a federal telecommunications law prevents local governments from taxing satellite services. Jim Saunders, OrlandoSentinel.com, "U.S. Supreme Court lets stand Florida's satellite-TV tax," 8 Jan. 2018 The paper also reported that briefs filed with the National Labor Relations Board show that Grinnell — a private liberal arts college with an $1.8 billion endowment — spends less than 2% of expenses on student wages. Kim Kelly, Teen Vogue, "Education Workers on Campuses Around the Country Are Demanding Better Labor Conditions," 10 Jan. 2019 Before the Golden Globes-buzz had a chance to die down, The Vogue100 hosted an intimate lunch to kick off red carpet season and de-brief on the awards show trends. Edward Barsamian, Vogue, "The Vogue100 Hosts an Intimate, Post-Golden Globes Lunch," 8 Jan. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 Herbold said Seattle Fire Chief Harold Scoggins briefed council members on the plan. Heidi Groover, The Seattle Times, "As EMT strike looms, Seattle ambulance company brings in out-of-state replacement workers," 20 Dec. 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 Feb 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 \
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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