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 concepts apply in general, so our executive summary is brief and concise. Dave Lieber, Dallas News, "NEW! Full Transcript of The Watchdog’s 2020 Property Tax & Appraisal Protest Seminar," 13 May 2020 The brief and disconcerting episode raised doubts about Kushner’s familiarity with the laws and constitutional provisions governing US presidential elections. BostonGlobe.com, "Jared Kushner clarifies after saying he’s ‘not sure’ he can commit to date for presidential election," 13 May 2020 In a brief by scientific advisers to the UK government published last week, experts said widespread antibody testing could incentivize employers to take steps that would amount to discrimination. Amy Woodyatt, CNN, "Antibody tests could lead to job discrimination and encourage workers to play 'Russian roulette'," 12 May 2020 Al Capone is a famous American boogeyman, and a symbol of that mercifully brief and long-ago nightmare, Prohibition. Josephine Livingstone, The New Republic, "Al Capone, All-American Boogeyman," 12 May 2020 Portland’s initial foray into the WNBA was clumsy, brief and all wrong. oregonlive, "Canzano: Trail Blazers not exploring WNBA franchise -- but given Ducks and Beavers success they should be," 6 May 2020 After a brief -- and rare respite -- Venezuela’s currency is once again in free fall and inflation has started picking back up, with the annual rate climbing to about 3,500%, according to a Bloomberg index. Ben Bartenstein, Bloomberg.com, "Iran Is Hauling Gold Bars Out of Venezuela’s Almost-Empty Vaults," 5 May 2020 As Cooper signed off of his show Anderson Cooper 360° and Chris Cuomo's show, Cuomo Prime Time, began on Monday, the two journalists shared a brief but sweet on-screen exchange, discussing Cooper's new role as a dad. Jen Juneau, PEOPLE.com, "Why New Dad Anderson Cooper Isn't Taking Paternity Leave After the Birth of Son Wyatt," 5 May 2020 The Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, a conservative law firm, filed a brief Tuesday on behalf of the Independent Business Association of Wisconsin, Double Decker Automotive in Pleasant Prairie, and Shear Xcellence, a hair salon in Grafton. USA TODAY, "Packed beaches, Tupac files for unemployment, no Mother’s Day flowers: News from around our 50 states," 29 Apr. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun In a technical brief sent to diagnostic laboratories and obtained by STAT, Abbott lists a number of potential causes of false negatives, including improper collection, transport, or handling of samples and low levels of virus in a patient. Matthew Herper, STAT, "FDA says Abbott’s 5-minute Covid-19 test may miss infected patients," 15 May 2020 Americans’ names in intelligence briefs: What is unmasking? Deb Riechmann, The Christian Science Monitor, "Joe Biden's unmasking of Michael Flynn. What is 'unmasking'?," 14 May 2020 Latham & Watkins took over as counsel and filed the reply brief. Anne M. Peterson And Ronald Blum, Houston Chronicle, "Federal judge dismisses women's soccer claim of unequal pay," 2 May 2020 Michael Feroli, the chief U.S. economist at JPMorgan Chase, noted in a research brief. John Cassidy, The New Yorker, "The Man with the U.S. Economy (and Trump’s Reëlection Chances) in His Hands," 28 Apr. 2020 To help readers appreciate these challenges, The Economist is running a series of six weekly climate briefs alongside its extensive covid-19 coverage. The Economist, "Global warming The Economist’s coverage of climate change," 24 Apr. 2020 In lieu of a call, there's also an option to complete a design brief. Monique Valeris, Good Housekeeping, "We Asked Real Havenly Users About the Pros and Cons of the Interior Design Site," 25 Mar. 2020 And the archive’s existence, though brief, partly symbolizes why Brathwaite’s influence has been so enduring: his dedication to preserving and being a direct part of Caribbean literary culture. Gabrielle Bellot, The New York Review of Books, "Kamau Brathwaite and the Voice of the Caribbean," 27 Feb. 2020 The Newport Beach City Council on Saturday voted to back the litigation by the other beach cities and approved an amicus brief the city filed Friday in support of the action. Los Angeles Times, "Orange County beach ban results in mostly empty sands on Saturday," 2 May 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Conversations between Treasury and postal officials on the loan began last week where those terms were discussed, according to congressional staffers briefed on the meetings. Author: Jacob Bogage, Josh Dawsey, Anchorage Daily News, "Postal service launches review of package delivery fees as Trump pressure grows," 14 May 2020 The seizure and an accompanying search for his electronic storage accounts, confirmed by an investigator briefed on the case, represented a significant escalation of the inquiry by the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission. New York Times, "Richard Burr Steps Back From Senate Panel as Phone Is Seized in Stock Sales Inquiry," 14 May 2020 Of the roughly $3 trillion, about $1 trillion would go to state, local and tribal governments, according to two sources briefed on the proposal. Fox News, "House Dems unveil coronavirus bill estimated to cost $3T, in largest stimulus package yet," 12 May 2020 Responding to calls for all teachers and staff to be tested before schools reopen, Vice Minister of Education Park Baeg-beom told a briefing the government did not have the capacity to test all 600,000 of them. NBC News, "Tracing of S. Korea's new coronavirus outbreak focuses on LGBTQ clubs," 11 May 2020 Put another way, this briefing told us that Fort Meade in Maryland shared more information obtained from American Internet companies than from any other source. Barton Gellman, Washington Post, "After receiving top-secret documents from the NSA whistleblower, reporter Barton Gellman broke the news that the National Security Agency was spying on Americans. Here’s how it happened.," 11 May 2020 During the question-and-answer portion of Newsom’s daily briefing Wednesday, Wagner got on a reporter’s phone and mentioned Orange County’s vote on business guidelines from the previous day. Los Angeles Times, "All L.A. County residents, even those without symptoms, can now get tested for COVID-19," 29 Apr. 2020 White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, told the AP on Monday that Trump was first briefed by intelligence agencies about the virus on Jan 23, and then again on Jan 28. Washington Post, "Trump’s anti-China rhetoric aimed at boosting US leverage," 5 May 2020 Photo Illustration: Tom Hall/Bloomberg Welcome to the Brussels Edition, Bloomberg’s daily briefing on what matters most in the heart of the European Union. Viktoria Dendrinou, Bloomberg.com, "Brussels Edition: Back from the Brink," 29 Apr. 2020

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

20 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Brief.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/brief. Accessed 31 May. 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

Comments on brief

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