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
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
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 He was arrested Sunday night after evading officers following a brief pursuit, according to court documents. Bradford Betz, Fox News, "Houston tiger roaming neighborhood evokes memories of 400-pound tiger found living in Harlem apartment," 13 May 2021 The driver then led the officer on a brief pursuit before turning onto Swan Place, which is a dead end. BostonGlobe.com, "Teen arrested on multiple firearms charges in Arlington after allegedly driving through crosswalk," 12 May 2021 Police located the vehicle and arrested two people after a brief foot pursuit. Allana Haynes, baltimoresun.com, "Howard County police news from April 30-May 7," 11 May 2021 Except for a brief period in the 1920s when the city was under a city manager form of government, the council has not allowed an open comment period for the public at meetings of the full body, which are largely ceremonial sessions. Robert Higgs, cleveland, "Cleveland City Council agrees to allow public comment at meetings, must still draw up the rules," 10 May 2021 The only way that rosé gets its familiar salmon pink hue is from this brief pressing period. Rachel King, Fortune, "Why you need to consider more than just one shade of rosé," 8 May 2021 The French backed off and Mexico enjoyed a brief period of calm and unity. Amanda Schuster, Forbes, "Why El Diablo Is The Ideal Cinco De Mayo Cocktail," 5 May 2021 There are 50 Democratic senators, not 60 -- like President Barack Obama had for a brief period after taking office -- or closer to 70, which helped FDR and LBJ get their signature programs over the line. Gregory Krieg, CNN, "'The honeymoon is over': Biden faces tougher tasks ahead as progressives demand more," 1 May 2021 During the brief foot pursuit, officers made verbal commands to Mr. Alvarez to drop the weapon. Tim Fitzsimons, NBC News, "'Why are you shooting me?': Video shows Chicago police fatally shooting Anthony Alvarez," 29 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris receive the president's daily brief at 9:50 a.m. Rick Klein, Averi Harper, ABC News, "Biden seeks to meet GOP at its new reality: The Note," 14 May 2021 The administration of President George W. Bush files a friend-of-the-court brief with the Supreme Court, opposing the University of Michigan’s affirmative action program. Cnn Editorial Research, CNN, "Affirmative Action Fast Facts," 26 Apr. 2021 The Juvenile Law Center, along with dozens of other civil-rights organizations, told the justices in a friend-of-the-court brief in Jones that some states had not responded to the Miller ruling with their preferred level of caution. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "Blame Anthony Kennedy for the Supreme Court’s Mangled Ruling on Juvenile Life Without Parole," 23 Apr. 2021 The president's schedule said Biden will receive his daily brief in the Oval Office at 10:15 a.m. Daniel Chaitin, Washington Examiner, "First lady Jill Biden to undergo medical procedure," 13 Apr. 2021 The brief was to create hides with no natural characteristics. Nargess Banks, Forbes, "See How Scottish Heritage Leather Brand, Bridge Of Weir, Views Modern Luxury," 28 Apr. 2021 In contrast, McCarthy, Scalise and Brooks voted against impeachment, signed onto the Texas amicus brief and supported objections to the Electoral College certification. Clare Foran, CNN, "Anti-Trump conservative group to grade GOP lawmakers on whether they uphold (or undermine) democracy," 26 Apr. 2021 Districts may have larger and more split-age classes for kindergarteners and first-graders, the research brief said. Los Angeles Times, "For high school seniors, return to campus is a trip back in time," 26 Apr. 2021 But in an unusual twist, the brief was written by state Attorney General Dana Nessel's office, which represents the state, but went against the commission in this matter. Adrienne Roberts, Detroit Free Press, "Nessel's involvement in Michigan unemployment benefits lawsuit is unusual," 21 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Zhang Xiaoming, deputy director of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office in Beijing, was expected to brief Hong Kong officials next week on the proposal next week on the proposal, HK01 said. Karen Leigh, Bloomberg.com, "China Moves to Tame Hong Kong Opposition With ‘Patriotism’ Test," 10 Nov. 2020 When she’s found inextricably linked to a dead man, Stabler stops by to brief her. Lillian Brown, Vulture, "20 Law & Order: SVU Episodes That Define Benson and Stabler’s Partnership," 1 Apr. 2021 Following the visits, the delegation will brief reporters. Rick Klein, Averi Harper, ABC News, "Power of 1 highlights challenges for Biden: The Note," 26 Mar. 2021 Aides are set to brief Mr. Biden this week on plans to invest between $3 trillion and $4 trillion in spending and tax credits on a wide range of efforts meant to bolster the economy. New York Times, "Biden’s Recovery Plan Bets Big on Clean Energy," 23 Mar. 2021 But a royal press pack has access to members of the family at official events, and aides often anonymously brief the media. NBC News, "Harry and Meghan criticism won't deter U.K. press' royal fascination, experts say," 10 Mar. 2021 President Biden asked senior officials last week to travel to the border in order to brief him on the matter. Emma Colton, Washington Examiner, "CBP shuts down border checkpoints due to influx of migrants, setting back anti-trafficking efforts," 10 Mar. 2021 The Queen is not expected to stay up to watch the special live, but her aides will and will reportedly brief her on it in the morning over breakfast. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "The Queen Won't Stay Up to Watch Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's Oprah Interview Tonight," 7 Mar. 2021 Biden economic adviser Brian Deese is scheduled to brief a bipartisan group of Senators in a call today to push his 1.9 trillion dollar covid relief plan. NBC News, "Meet the Press - January 24, 2021," 24 Jan. 2021

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

17 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Brief.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/brief. Accessed 18 May. 2021.

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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
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

Comments on brief

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