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

b : synopsis, summary

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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Some practical deals are possible, even in a brief meeting that is mostly about optics, say Russian analysts. Fred Weir, The Christian Science Monitor, "Upcoming Trump-Putin summit gives Russians hope for US thaw," 3 July 2018 The Washington Post has a briefer on all the provocative comments made by Corey Stewart. NBC News, "First Read's Morning Clips: A tricky tightrope for Doug Jones," 2 July 2018 In a brief, low-key 36-word announcement made on Twitter and via email, James’ agency, Klutch Sports, said James will sign a four-year, $154 million deal with the Lakers. Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY, "His legacy secure, LeBron James is a Cleveland hero forever even with Lakers decision," 1 July 2018 The Marlins held a brief 1-0 lead on Derek Dietrich's 10th home run, a solo shot off Tyler Anderson in the fourth. Clark Spencer, miamiherald, "Realmuto powers Marlins to win over Rockies with grand slam," 23 June 2018 At this very brief meeting, Mr. Greenberg, not his real name, the FBI informant, first shows up wearing a MAGA hat and Trump t-shirt. Fox News, "Sessions defends zero tolerance immigration policy," 19 June 2018 Later, a brief meeting between Howard, Simone, and Will (Evan Jonigkeit) determines Tess’ future at the restaurant. refinery29.com, "Sweetbitter Episode 6: Careful What You Wish For," 11 June 2018 Estimates on the number of people who identify as LGBTQ vary, according to a brief by the Kaiser Family Foundation, which does health policy research. Guy Boulton, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Froedtert Health and Medical College of Wisconsin to open clinic that focuses on LGBTQ community," 8 June 2018 To accept the history-making honor, Kardashian West made a brief, on-brand acceptance speech that showed just how 'influential' the star is. Halie Lesavage, Glamour, "Kim Kardashian Says She's 'Shocked' to Win CFDA Award Since She's 'Naked Most of the Time'," 4 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

In that brief, the advocates mentioned other cases in which federal courts, following the high court’s lead, had let law enforcement officials off the hook. Alan Feuer, New York Times, "Advocates From Left and Right Ask Supreme Court to Revisit Immunity Defense," 11 July 2018 In a brief filed Thursday, Downing wrote that Manafort is unable to adequately prepare for his two upcoming trails, the first of which starts later this month, while locked up. Adam K. Raymond, Daily Intelligencer, "Manafort Kept in Solitary 23 Hours a Day to ‘Guarantee His Safety,’ Lawyer Says," 6 July 2018 In a brief, expletive-laced mini-rant over his radio at the end of the stage, Busch didn’t hold back, criticizing Harvick. Michelle R. Martinelli, For The Win, "The absurd reason Kurt Busch left Sunday's race fuming at teammate Kevin Harvick," 3 July 2018 But unlike 2013, his brief, late-season comeback couldn't salvage Green Bay's playoff hopes. Nate Davis, USA TODAY, "Packers training camp questions: Besides Aaron Rodgers' return, why else might Green Bay surge?," 11 July 2018 The appeal was filed after Arias tried unsuccessfully to bar the public from seeing her appellate brief. Fox News, "Appeal by Jodi Arias cites 'circus-like atmosphere' at trial," 6 July 2018 In its own briefs, the government had argued that trying to determine Trump's underlying motive for the policy was beyond the scope of the Court's duties. Brian Fung, chicagotribune.com, "Supreme Court's travel ban ruling could have big implications for Trump's Twitter account," 26 June 2018 Waxler has unsuccessfully petitioned the agency to withdraw the approvals, arguing in his brief that laser manufacturers underreported or misclassified adverse events that occurred during clinical trials. Author: Roni Caryn Rabin, Anchorage Daily News, "Blurred vision, burning eyes: This is a Lasik success?," 12 June 2018 Without another word, Wystrach drops his Wranglers below his knees, flashing his blue-and-green boxer briefs. Billboard Staff, Billboard, "Billboard's 2018 Country Power Players List Revealed: The Industry's Most Influential," 5 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media. Zaheer Babar And Abdul Sattar, chicagotribune.com, "74 dead in election violence in Pakistan," 13 July 2018 Following his talks with Japan and South Korea, Pompeo will head to Beijing to brief the Chinese government on Trump's meeting with Kim. Ben Westcott, CNN, "Pompeo: No sanctions relief for North Korea until complete denuclearization," 14 June 2018 These truisms impelled Harry West, the CEO of Frog to give delegates to the Brainstorm Design conference in Singapore a thorough briefing on, well, how to brief. Fortune Staff, Fortune, "The 4 Questions You Must Ask When Briefing Any Designer," 7 Mar. 2018 The situation might have been different, according to the IG report, if Comey had been briefed on the Weiner laptop issue weeks earlier. Warren Richey, The Christian Science Monitor, "Inspector general on Comey: dissecting an error in judgment," 15 June 2018 On Tuesday, former senators Sam Nunn and Richard Lugar briefed Trump and Vice President Mike Pence on their lessons learned co-sponsoring a law aimed at securing and dismantling nuclear weapons after the fall of the Soviet Union. Fortune, "Trump Says He Doesn't Need to 'Prepare Very Much' for Kim Summit," 7 June 2018 According to three sources briefed on the numbers, advertising revenues for Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham are down in recent months. Gabriel Sherman, The Hive, "“This Was Lachlan’s Revenge”: As a Murdoch Son Moves to Consolidate His Power, Rupert Says “I’m Still Here”," 4 June 2018 Among those who have pushed back against Trump's spying claims are Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., who was one of the lawmakers briefed on the FBI actions. The Washington Post, NOLA.com, "Trump insists he didn't fire Comey over Russia probe, contradicting himself," 31 May 2018 An investigation by Gibson Dunn, an independent law firm, substantiated some of the claims, according to two people briefed on the findings. Mike Isaac, BostonGlobe.com, "At Uber, new questions arise about executive behavior," 14 July 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about brief

Dictionary Entries near brief

bridoon

brids

Brie

brief

brief bag

briefcase

briefing

Statistics for brief

Last Updated

8 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for brief

The first known use of brief was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

law : a document that states the facts a lawyer plans to use in a court case

: 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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on brief

What made you want to look up brief? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

something that serves to warn or remind

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Vocab Quiz

  • the-education-of-achilles-eugne-delacroix
  • Which is a synonym of discomfit?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!