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

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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

There are glimpses, brief moments of more complicated self-reflection from Pusha—guilt, regret, and a fear of what karma might have in store. Josie Duffy Rice, The Atlantic, "The Gospel According to Pusha T," 12 July 2018 In brief remarks at a hotel in central Mexico City, Lopez Obrador called for reconciliation after a polarizing campaign and promised profound change but with respect for the law and constitutional order. Mark Stevenson, Fox News, "Mexico gives leftist Lopez Obrador big presidential win," 2 July 2018 There was a brief moment of danger in the top of the fifth, when a two-out single given up to Franklin Barreto placed runners on first and second. Orion Sang, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Tigers betrayed by bullpen in crushing 5-4 loss to Athletics," 25 June 2018 To see a small thin dog arrowing through the air at highway speeds, resistant to gravity, its forelegs out, its hind legs trailing, its thin proud snout straining forward, is to experience a brief moment of déjà vu. Christopher Solomon, Outside Online, "This Whippet Is One of the World's Great Athletes," 18 June 2018 Percolating arpeggiations fill in the background of many of the songs, but the band also has a knack for letting all the clutter drop out for brief moments of depth-adding silence. John Adamian, courant.com, "Music Festivals And Concerts Not To Miss This Week," 18 June 2018 But wait, rewind to the brief moment Hailey put her hand over her face. Victoria Rodriguez, Seventeen, "A Complete Timeline of Justin Bieber and Hailey Baldwin's Relationship," 14 June 2018 Like haiku's many of them work with brief, quick moments and feelings. Denise Coffey, Courant Community, "Michelle Constantine Cole's "Untitled:Twentyfive" To Be Released June 15," 6 June 2018 Even the small suspensions handed out to Jameis Winston and the Eagles’ Nigel Bradham were brief, one-day stories and neither player indicated the ruling of the commissioner would be challenged. Bob Ford, Philly.com, "What will the NFL do about Shady McCoy? | Bob Ford," 12 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

In the opening brief, Green and Engle assert that: The over-the-top media coverage, including livestreaming the initial trial, denied Arias a fair trial and an impartial jury. Michael Kiefer, azcentral, "First look: Jodi Arias' defense attorneys file 342-page brief in conviction appeal," 6 July 2018 Dozens of former intelligence and military officials, who had served both Republican and Democratic presidents, strongly condemned Trump’s ban in amicus briefs. Dan Rodricks, baltimoresun.com, "Anti-Muslim prejudice matters in a Maryland county, but not at the White House?," 28 June 2018 There were cheers and brief applause when the result was announced. Bill Leukhardt, Courant Community, "Plainville Voters Approve New Firetrucks," 19 June 2018 The day after the brief was filed, the SEC issued an order that ratified the appointment of its five judges and told them to review each of their pending cases. Bloomberg.com, "SEC's In-House Judges Draw Scrutiny From U.S. Supreme Court," 12 Jan. 2018 The case drew high interest — more than three dozen legal organizations and advocacy groups filed friend-of-the-court briefs urging that the rule be struck down. Greg Moran, sandiegouniontribune.com, "State high court strikes down rule requiring poor to pay for own court reporter in civil courts," 6 July 2018 The Justice Department has not intervened in that case, also filed by Blum, or filed a friend-of-the-court brief. Jaweed Kaleem, latimes.com, "Trump administration rescinds Obama-era policies encouraging affirmative action and backs race-neutral school admissions," 4 July 2018 Fourteen of the largest US tech companies—including Google, Apple, Facebook, and Microsoft—filed a brief in support of updating the Fourth Amendment for the digital era. Louise Matsakis, WIRED, "The Supreme Court Just Greatly Strengthened Digital Privacy," 22 June 2018 Genevieve Lakier, a professor at the University of Chicago Law School who helped write a friend-of-the-court brief filed by First Amendment scholars, welcomed Wednesday’s decision. Chris Dolmetsch, Bloomberg.com, "Judge Rules Trump Can’t Block People on Twitter," 23 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Kethledge’s reputation as a writer has intrigued Trump, according to an official briefed on the closed-door sessions with the President. Philip Elliott, Time, "Inside Donald Trump's Supreme Court Deliberations," 9 July 2018 According to a statement released by the NFL, Tepper was privately briefed on the details of the NFL's investigation. Jourdan Rodrigue, charlotteobserver, "Sale of Panthers to David Tepper finalized. Here's what we know, and what's next," 9 July 2018 Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who will lead the confirmation fight on Capitol Hill, spoke with Trump by phone on Friday, according to two Republican officials briefed on the exchange. Author: Robert Costa, David Weigel, Robert Barnes, Anchorage Daily News, "Trump weighs top picks for Supreme Court amid last-minute maneuvering," 8 July 2018 Thursday night’s meeting was held in the White House Situation Room and lasted at least 90 minutes, according to four officials briefed on the discussion who described it on the condition of anonymity. Michael D. Shear, BostonGlobe.com, "Trump’s spontaneous style leads to arguments in White House and chaos on borders," 23 June 2018 Administration officials have signaled support for imposing the tariffs in a dispute over allegations that Beijing steals or pressures foreign companies to hand over technology, according to officials briefed on the plans. NBC News, "Trump approves tariffs on a potential $50 billion worth of China goods, official says," 15 June 2018 Administration officials have signaled support for imposing the tariffs in a dispute over allegations that Beijing steals or pressures foreign companies to hand over technology, according to officials briefed on the plans. Ken Thomas And Paul Wiseman, chicagotribune.com, "U.S. announces tariffs on $50B in China imports," 15 June 2018 In recent weeks, national security officials have argued in White House meetings that trade enforcement and North Korea should be considered on separate tracks, according to the officials briefed on the discussions. Lingling Wei, WSJ, "U.S. Prepares to Proceed With Tariffs on Chinese Goods," 13 June 2018 In a burst of last-minute diplomacy, punctuated by a visit by Britain's top diplomat, the deal's European members gave in to many of Trump's demands, according to officials, diplomats and others briefed on the negotiations. Josh Lederman And Catherine Lucey, The Christian Science Monitor, "Trump pulls US out of Iran nuclear deal," 8 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

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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Learn More about brief

Dictionary Entries near brief

bridoon

brids

Brie

brief

brief bag

briefcase

briefing

Phrases Related to brief

a brief word

watching brief

Statistics for brief

Last Updated

10 Sep 2018

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

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)

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Comments on brief

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