\ ˈshȯrt How to pronounce short (audio) \

Definition of short

 (Entry 1 of 4)

1a : having little length
b : not tall or high : low
2a : not extended in time : brief a short vacation
b : not retentive a short memory
c : expeditious, quick made short work of the problem
d : seeming to pass quickly made great progress in just a few short years
3a of a speech sound : having a relatively short duration
b : being the member of a pair of similarly spelled vowel or vowel-containing sounds that is descended from a vowel that was short in duration but is no longer so and that does not necessarily have duration as its chief distinguishing feature short i in sin
c of a syllable in prosody
(1) : of relatively brief duration
(2) : unstressed
4 : limited in distance a short trip
5a : not coming up to a measure or requirement : insufficient in short supply
b : not reaching far enough the throw to first was short
c : enduring privation
d : insufficiently supplied short of breath short of cash short on brains
6a : abrupt, curt I'm sorry I was short with you
b : quickly provoked a short temper
8 : payable at an early date a short loan
9a : containing or cooked with shortening also : flaky short pastry
b of metal : brittle under certain conditions
10a : not lengthy or drawn out a short speech
b : made briefer : abbreviated
11a : not having goods or property that one has sold in anticipation of a fall in prices
b : consisting of, relating to, or engaging in the sale of securities or commodities that the seller does not possess or has not contracted for at the time of the sale short sale a short seller
12 : near the end of a tour of duty
in short order
: with dispatch : quickly



Definition of short (Entry 2 of 4)

1 : in a curt manner
2 : for or during a brief time short-lasting
3 : at a disadvantage : unawares caught short
4 : in an abrupt manner : suddenly the car stopped short
5 : at some point or degree before a goal or limit aimed at or under consideration the bombs fell short quit a month short of graduation
6 : clean across the axle was snapped short
7 : by or as if by a short sale



Definition of short (Entry 3 of 4)

1 : the sum and substance : upshot
2a : a short syllable
b : a short sound or signal
3 shorts plural
a : a by-product of wheat milling that includes the germ, fine bran, and some flour
b : refuse, clippings, or trimmings discarded in various manufacturing processes
4a : knee-length or less than knee-length trousers usually used in plural
b shorts plural : short drawers
c : a size in clothing for short men
5a : one who operates on the short side of the market
b shorts plural : short-term bonds
6 shorts plural : deficiencies
8 : shortstop
b : a brief story or article (as in a newspaper)
for short
: as an abbreviation named Katherine or Kate for short
in short
: by way of summary : briefly


shorted; shorting; shorts

Definition of short (Entry 4 of 4)

1 transitive + intransitive : short-circuit The electrical system also received upgrades: Most rooms had only three or fewer outlets, and plugging in multiple devices usually shorted the circuit.— Steven Wyman-Blackburn The housing association gave her a "temperamental" electric shower but this cannot be used as the time as other electric items—including the television—as it will cause the circuit to short.— Anna Slater often used with out in U.S. English … microscopic particles of airborne dust are large enough to short out the chip's circuitry.— Michael Rothschild… were sabotaging the system by deliberately entering incorrect information into the computers and, if all else failed, hosing the computers down until they shorted out.— John Sedgwick
2 transitive, informal : shortchange, cheat When she returned minutes later, she handed me a twenty-dollar bill and a five. No change and no receipt, which meant I couldn't call her on the fact that she'd shorted Henry by sixty-six cents.— Sue Grafton
3 transitive, finance : to sell (a security) short in expectation of a fall in prices a heavily shorted stock Today [in 2003], only two per cent of all United States stock-market shares are shorted, and even with looser restrictions short selling is likely to remain uncommon.— James Surowiecki

Other Words from short


shortish \ ˈshȯr-​tish How to pronounce short (audio) \ adjective
shortness \ ˈshȯrt-​nəs How to pronounce short (audio) \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for short

Synonyms: Adjective

Synonyms: Adverb

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Adjective

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Examples of short in a Sentence

Adjective One of my legs is slightly shorter than the other. He is short for his age. the shortest day of the year Life's too short to worry about the past. The movie was very short. You have done a lot in a short space of time. a short burst of speed I've only lived here for a short time. She has made great progress in a few short years. He visited for two short weeks. Adverb He threw the ball short. the bicyclist ahead of me unexpectedly pulled up short and I unavoidably plowed into him Noun The short before the main movie was very funny. Verb The lightning shorted the TV. The hair dryer must have shorted. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective That didn’t work when some of those irons didn’t always find the short grass. Dave Skretta, Chicago Tribune, 20 May 2022 That didn’t work when some of those irons didn’t always find the short grass. Doug Ferguson, Hartford Courant, 20 May 2022 Circus families and troupes have been honored in museums around the world, and in Ringling’s hometown of Sarasota, Florida, where short biographies are featured along the Circus Ring of Fame. Globe Staff,, 19 May 2022 In short order, Rogue has become one of the most consequential and unpredictable new retail adventures in New York. New York Times, 19 May 2022 Their hair is always worn long, the skirts short, sporty, and tight. Jihan Forbes, Allure, 19 May 2022 Some supermarket operators have tried to use store brands to fill the gaps, though those supplies have run short as well. Tarini Parti, WSJ, 19 May 2022 In this short documentary, Scientific American partners with Retro Report to dive deeper into common misconceptions about weight and to examine how weight bias impacts heavier patients. Kelso Harper, Scientific American, 19 May 2022 That’s because the feature relies in part on a technology called light detection and ranging, or lidar for short. Chris Velazco, Washington Post, 19 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb Although Lake Havasu came up short, losing to Willow Canyon and then being eliminated by Canyon View, Rieth allowed two runs in four playoff starts. Theo Mackie, The Arizona Republic, 19 May 2022 Though Singleton got roughly 45 percent of the vote, his bid again came up short. Carol Robinson |, al, 12 May 2022 But Lorenzo Cain and Peterson grounded out as the miraculous rally came up short. Todd Rosiak, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 11 May 2022 In Ohio's recent primary, progressive candidates vying for a chance to head to Capitol Hill came up short. Rick Klein, ABC News, 10 May 2022 Here, the Fluent website came up short on both counts. Jack Greiner, The Enquirer, 3 May 2022 The Utes scored only because Chase Anderson turned a routine eighth-inning single into a triple — Jacob Melton’s head-first diving attempt in center came up short — and Alex Baeza knocked him in with a one-out sacrifice fly to left. oregonlive, 1 May 2022 Alex Verdugo’s diving attempt at the ball came up short, allowing Mullins to reach second. Globe Staff,, 30 Apr. 2022 Bogdanovic was sprung for an open 3, fumbled the pass, gathered it in, relocated, got another open look … and came up short. Eric Walden, The Salt Lake Tribune, 28 Apr. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Neighbors of the fourplex paid $4,000 to repair damage from water that leaked into their yard and dripped into their basement, causing an electrical short. Elena Bruess, San Antonio Express-News, 10 Apr. 2022 Filmmakers recognized the surefire material from the early days, including an 1898 short and a nine-minute version in 1908. Shalini Dore, Variety, 13 Jan. 2022 Sin City figures prominently in the short that casts Holloway as general manager Les Snead, Eastwood as head coach Sean McVay, Gibson as defensive coordinator Raheem Morris, and Quaid as Rams owner/chairman E. Stanley Kroenke. Chris Gardner, The Hollywood Reporter, 26 Apr. 2022 While Xiang stands out as the big short, there’s no single trader or investor on the other end that gets the credit (or blame) for driving prices higher. Jack Farchy,, 29 Mar. 2022 The bizarre short follows Meloni as New York hedge-fund manager M. Berkoff in the 42 minutes before Earth is struck by an apocalyptic asteroid. Justin Curto, Vulture, 9 July 2021 The Anti-Lock Brake System (ABS) module could malfunction and cause an electrical short, which could result in an engine compartment fire. Detroit Free Press, 20 Feb. 2022 The Anti-Lock Brake System (ABS) module could malfunction and cause an electrical short, which could result in an engine compartment fire. USA TODAY, 19 Feb. 2022 In the documentary short—filmed in advance of the 2018 Mardi Gras season—Melancon recites the origin story of the Black Indians. Michal Pietrzyk, The New Yorker, 9 Feb. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The proposal would short the state about $300 million over a few months, but Democrats argued the state could fill that gap with the state's cash reserves surplus, which the party says is on track to surpass $6 billion by the end of the budget year. Kayla Dwyer, The Indianapolis Star, 19 May 2022 And just to show that the company thought of everything, the sensor, which also acts as the unit's controller, comes with a waterproof case to ensure your fun doesn’t short out. Jon Gugala, Outside Online, 15 May 2015 Using the wrong liquid can cause damage, and using too much liquid can cause your laptop or monitor to short out altogether. Zee Krstic, Good Housekeeping, 25 Apr. 2022 Some of them may sell or short the stocks, betting a deluge of shares is about to hit the market, driving the price into a slump known as an overhang. Gillian Tan,, 27 Mar. 2022 As a result of this price volatility, the world’s biggest nickel producer (the Chinese company Tsingshan Holding Group) potentially lost billions by trying to short the market. Walter Shapiro, The New Republic, 24 Mar. 2022 Traders expecting the gap between the shares and warrants to close in the coming months could buy the warrants and try to short the stock by borrowing shares, selling them and aiming to buy them back at lower prices. Amrith Ramkumar, WSJ, 8 Feb. 2022 The perpetrators specifically modified a commercially available DJI Mavic 2 drone to short out an electrical substation that provided power to thousands of people, per the report, which ABC News first obtained. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, 9 Nov. 2021 That’s not to short the north end of the island, which holds the Grosse Ile Woods Preserve and a bird sanctuary. Judy Rose, Detroit Free Press, 29 Aug. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'short.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of short


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


circa 1586, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1904, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for short


Middle English, from Old English sceort; akin to Old High German scurz short, Old Norse skortr lack

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Time Traveler for short

Time Traveler

The first known use of short was before the 12th century

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Dictionary Entries Near short



short account

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Statistics for short

Last Updated

21 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Short.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for short


\ ˈshȯrt How to pronounce short (audio) \
shorter; shortest

Kids Definition of short

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : not long or tall short hair a short boy short stories
2 : not great in distance a short trip
3 : not lasting long : brief in time a short delay a short memory
4 : cut down to a brief length "Doc" is short for "doctor."
5 : less than the usual or needed amount Fruit was in short supply. We met on short notice.
6 : having less than what is needed : not having enough I'm short of money. The team was short two players.
7 : not reaching far enough The throw was short.
8 : easily stirred up a short temper
9 : rudely brief I didn't mean to be short with you.
10 : of, relating to, or being one of the vowel sounds \ə, a, e, i, u̇\ and sometimes \ä\ and \ȯ\

Other Words from short

shortness noun



Kids Definition of short (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : with suddenness I stopped short.
2 : to or at a point that is not as far as expected or desired He threw the ball short.



Kids Definition of short (Entry 3 of 3)

1 shorts plural : pants that reach to or almost to the knees
2 shorts plural : short underpants
3 : something (as a movie) shorter than the usual or regular length



Legal Definition of short

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : treated or disposed of quickly in court the calendar for short causes
2 : having a short term short loans short leases
3a : not having goods or property that one has sold in anticipation of a fall in prices a seller who was short at the time of the sale
b : consisting of or relating to a sale of securities or commodities that the seller does not possess or has not contracted for at the time of the sale a short position — see also short sale 1 at sale
4 : not involving or providing a sufficient amount of money to cover a loan — see also short sale 2 at sale, short refinance



Legal Definition of short (Entry 2 of 2)

: by or as if by a short sale sold the stock short

More from Merriam-Webster on short

Nglish: Translation of short for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of short for Arabic Speakers


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