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 The buzz: Indiana made a brief appearance in the Top 25 and achieved bowl eligibility by beating weak competition. Rainer Sabin, Detroit Free Press, "Big Ten football predictions: Will Michigan stun Ohio State? Who wins the West?," 28 Nov. 2019 Plana is convincing as the calm and reflective blindman, and Richard Riehle presents a Wilford Brimley-like local sheriff in his brief appearances. Jordan Riefe, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Key Largo': Theater Review," 16 Nov. 2019 Patrick has already detailed his thinking on both the race and the candidates themselves, thanks to his brief appearances in recent months as a pundit for CBS. BostonGlobe.com, "seriously reconsider a presidential bid," 13 Nov. 2019 Bean and Ashton made brief court appearances in Lane County Circuit Court to be arraigned and enter their pleas. oregonlive, "Prominent Portlander Terry Bean and his former lawyer, Derek Ashton, plead not guilty to alleged witness payoff," 13 Nov. 2019 Instead Judge Gary White handled the brief appearance, which came between accepting a plea for drunk driving and a continuance of a larceny case. Dave Altimari, courant.com, "After brief court appearance, Fotis Dulos says all he wants us to do is see his children. His estranged wife is still missing.," 6 Nov. 2019 What the Argentina international has displayed during his brief substitute appearances is his thirst to hunt down opposition ball-carriers and win possession back for his side. SI.com, "It's Time for Mauricio Pochettino to Ditch Christian Eriksen and Go All in on Giovani Lo Celso," 5 Nov. 2019 Sunday’s 36-save effort lifted his save percentage to .939 after seven starts plus a brief relief appearance Saturday, when Corey Crawford left the ice to enter concussion protocol for a few minutes. Jimmy Greenfield, chicagotribune.com, "3 takeaways from the Blackhawks’ 3-2 OT win over the Ducks, including Adam Boqvist looking like he’s here to stay," 4 Nov. 2019 Maybe the Wests would make a brief appearance: congratulate the newlyweds and leave. Corey Morris, The New Yorker, "Waiting for Kanye in Wyoming," 28 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The Justice Department filed a brief in support of the president's position that the subpoena cannot be enforced because the committee didn't sufficiently justify its purpose. Author: Robert Barnes, Ann E. Marimow, Anchorage Daily News, "Trump appeals to Supreme Court again, this time to block House committee’s subpoena seeking his financial records," 16 Nov. 2019 That is why 10 states filed a friend-of-the-court brief arguing against the Native rights claim. Morgan Marietta, The Conversation, "This year at the Supreme Court: Gay rights, gun rights and Native rights," 3 Oct. 2019 These cases are just the tip of the iceberg says Angelo Amador of the Restaurant Law Center, which has filed a brief urging the Supreme Court to take up the Domino's case. Jeff John Roberts, Fortune, "Domino’s Delivers a Dilemma to the Supreme Court: A Website Accessibility Case That Could Impact Thousands of Companies," 3 Oct. 2019 In brief: The Pinto Island steel terminal is running at or near capacity. al, "Demand for steel driving big year for state docks," 19 Sep. 2019 In July, his attorneys filed a brief with the state Court of Appeals. Hal Bernton, The Seattle Times, "Washington firefighter badly burned in 2015 Twisp River fire now fighting law that won’t let him collect damages," 19 Aug. 2019 On Tuesday, the Department of Homeland Security filed a brief in U.S. District Court in Washington D.C., outlining plans to begin construction in Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument and Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge in early October. Andrew Nicla, azcentral, "Feds to delay parts of Arizona border wall construction until October," 14 Aug. 2019 Or at least that’s what respondent Charles Glover argues in his brief. Ephrat Livni, Quartz, "The class issue embedded in a SCOTUS case about cops and traffic stops," 4 Nov. 2019 Late yesterday evening, Zhang sent a brief, four-paragraph email to all students, staff, and alumni. Dennis Normile, Science | AAAS, "Hong Kong student protesters demand more support from their universities," 29 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb President Donald Trump has been briefed on the incident and is monitoring the situation, Deputy White House Press Secretary Judd Deere said in a statement. Rob Picheta, CNN, "Two people killed in a 'terror incident' near London Bridge," 29 Nov. 2019 State Department officials in Kyiv and Washington were briefed on Zelensky’s concerns at least three times, the two sources said. BostonGlobe.com, "State Department officials in Kyiv and Washington were briefed on Zelensky’s concerns at least three times, the two sources said. Notes summarizing his worries were circulated within the department, they said.," 18 Nov. 2019 State Department officials in Kyiv and Washington were briefed on Zelenskiy’s concerns at least three times, the two sources said. Michael Biesecker, Twin Cities, "AP Exclusive: US officials knew of Ukraine’s Trump anxiety even before phone call," 18 Nov. 2019 State Department officials in Kyiv and Washington were briefed on Zelenskiy’s concerns at least three times, the two sources said. Michael Biesecker, chicagotribune.com, "U.S. officials knew Ukraine president was feeling pressure from Trump on Biden investigation before phone call, sources say," 18 Nov. 2019 The person said Sondland was never briefed about Biden being part of the issue and was not aware of it until the transcript of the phone call was released. The Washington Post, oregonlive, "Gordon Sondland to testify that ‘no quid pro quo’ came from Trump," 13 Oct. 2019 Teachers had been briefed on the possibility and were prepared for dim classrooms and no computers, officials said. Alejandro Serrano, SFChronicle.com, "Lights out: Thousands of Bay Area students told to stay home from school," 8 Oct. 2019 The next day, the White House issued a statement from a rear admiral who serves as Trump’s Homeland Security advisor, saying that Trump had been briefed on the possibility that Alabama was under threat. Los Angeles Times, "Trump and the hurricane: How much damage did he do?," 13 Sep. 2019 President Trump has been briefed on the shooting and the White House is monitoring the situation, White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said. Fox News, "At least 24 shot, 5 killed in West Texas rampage, official says; suspect dead," 31 Aug. 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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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

3 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Brief.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/briefest. Accessed 7 December 2019.

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on brief

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for brief

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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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