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 With only the briefest of references to the first film, Birds of Prey begins with Harley torn up over her breakup with the Joker and suddenly vulnerable as his protection over her lifts. Jeva Lange, TheWeek, "Birds of Prey," 7 Feb. 2020 The $5 billion proposal, included in Trump’s budget last year, received the briefest of mentions in the 2019 address to Congress. Laura Meckler, Washington Post, "Trump plans to tout school choice in State of the Union," 1 Feb. 2020 Meghan has worked in television, and Harry served in the British Army for 10 years, including a brief stint in Afghanistan. Nicole Clausing, Sunset Magazine, "Fit for a Prince: Where in the West Should Meghan and Harry Move?," 16 Jan. 2020 His only previous government job was a brief stint a dozen years ago as head of the country’s prisons, which ended in his own incarceration. The Economist, "New man, old problems Guatemala’s new president, Alejandro Giammattei, outlines his plans," 9 Jan. 2020 Gordon's brief stint with Seattle likely finished with 11 targets, 139 yards receiving and one incomplete pass attempt on a trick play against the Panthers. Tim Booth, Houston Chronicle, "NFL suspends Seahawks WR Josh Gordon again," 16 Dec. 2019 White House lawyers have a deadline of noon on Monday to file a brief outlining their argument defending the president, and Democrats will file another brief in response by noon Tuesday. David Jackson, USA TODAY, "House Democrats call Trump a 'danger' to U.S. national security in formal argument for his removal," 18 Jan. 2020 Beckinsale was recently romantically linked to Saturday Night Live comedian Pete Davidson, and the pair had a brief (but PDA-packed) fling before going their separate ways. Ineye Komonibo, refinery29.com, "Kate Beckinsale Had The Best Response To Those Machine Gun Kelly Rumours," 9 Jan. 2020 The primary reason for a brief resting period to redistribute the liquid in the dough. Sarah Jampel, Bon Appétit, "For the Love of Cookies, Please Don't Skip This Step of the Recipe," 10 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun This week, the Department of Justice filed briefs in cases that will be heard in consolidated oral arguments at the Supreme Court next month. Ephrat Livni, Quartz, "Trump’s executive power grab continues in Supreme Court financial records cases," 7 Feb. 2020 The appeals court will make a final decision after both sides file briefs over the next month. Patrick Marley, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "After rejection, conservatives try again to get voter purge case to Supreme Court," 21 Jan. 2020 Like Borowski, Dee asked for legal briefs from the district attorney, the defense and the DOC on whether Dee has the authority to undo the impact of the minimum-mandatory three-year prison sentences. Bruce Vielmetti, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Wisconsin drunken drivers can get out of prison early with intense rehab. Some judges say that should end.," 26 Jan. 2020 Other than brief early 0-0 and 2-2 ties, Crosby led the entire game with the lead increasing every quarter. Elliott Lapin, Houston Chronicle, "Boys basketball: Crosby Cougars undefeated through the first half of district play," 25 Jan. 2020 The latest brief was filed Wednesday in the Second Court of Appeals in Fort Worth. Dallas News, "Cook Children’s describes duty of treating baby Tinslee as ‘unethical’ and ‘cruel’ in latest filing," 24 Jan. 2020 For example, the Catholic Association Foundation in its high court brief says Montana’s law is unconstitutional. Ephrat Livni, Quartz, "A major church and state case ignites ungodly amounts of debate at US Supreme Court," 21 Jan. 2020 President Trump’s lengthy brief to the Senate is heavy on rhetoric and procedural grievances, but entirely lacks a legitimate defense of his misconduct. Author: Lisa Mascaro, Eric Tucker, Zeke Miller, Anchorage Daily News, "McConnell abruptly eases rules for impeachment trial as Democrats charge coverup," 21 Jan. 2020 On Monday, January 20, Trump’s counselors submitted a 110-page brief to the Senate calling for a swift acquittal. Reed Nelson, refinery29.com, "What To Know About Donald Trump’s Senate Impeachment Trial," 21 Jan. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb This was not what had been briefed to the department and the department thinks the recommendation was extreme, excessive and grossly disproportionate to Stone’s offenses and the department will clarify its position later today at the court. Ali Dukakis And, ABC News, "DOJ announces reversal in Roger Stone sentencing recommendation after Trump tweet," 11 Feb. 2020 Kushner, the architect of the peace plan and senior adviser to President Trump, was in New York City to meet and brief the 15 members of the United Nations Security Council ahead of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ visit to the U.N. next week. Fox News, "Jared Kushner says Palestinians lost credibility by rejecting WH Mideast peace plan," 7 Feb. 2020 After hearing the proposal, Ms. Barra believed the terms didn’t offer enough incentive for electric vehicles, a major focus for the company, people briefed on the meeting said. Andrew Restuccia, WSJ, "The Auto Industry Wanted Easier Environmental Rules. It Got Chaos.," 3 Feb. 2020 Ben Gorzell, the city’s chief financial officer, just briefed Nirenberg on the possibility Tuesday morning, the mayor said. Joshua Fechter, ExpressNews.com, "San Antonio officials: City could keep aquifer protection program while shifting sales tax to public transit," 29 Jan. 2020 At a council committee briefing Tuesday, Thomas said the agency has added safety features, like pedestrian gates for at-grade crossings. Hayat Norimine, Dallas News, "As DART plans more work for Cotton Belt line, Far North Dallas residents continue pushback," 23 Jan. 2020 In a 20-minute police video briefing made public Tuesday, Sgt. Samuel Leal, azcentral, "Phoenix police release footage from fatal standoff," 22 Jan. 2020 Thomas has had multiple run-ins with law enforcement, including an arrest for assaulting a police horse, said an official briefed on the investigation who was not authorized to discuss it and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity. BostonGlobe.com, "Hanukkah stabbing suspect was kicked out of Marines’ boot camp - The Boston Globe," 1 Jan. 2020 The Chinese officials and their wives drove up to a checkpoint for entry to the base, said people briefed on the episode. SFChronicle.com, "US secretly expels Chinese officials suspected of spying after breach of base," 15 Dec. 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

12 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Brief.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/briefness. Accessed 18 Feb. 2020.

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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

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