\ 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
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
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

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Other Words from short


shortish \ ˈshȯr-​tish How to pronounce shortish (audio) \ adjective
shortness \ ˈshȯrt-​nəs How to pronounce shortness (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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Pyle said regulators across the country are aware of misrepresentations by insurers selling limited, short term, accident and defined sickness plans. Marshall Allen, ProPublica, "“Trumpcare” Does Not Exist. Nevertheless Facebook and Google Cash In on Misleading Ads for “Garbage” Health Insurance.," 21 Oct. 2020 The long-term health of free speech and the Internet ought to count for rather more than perceived short-term political advantage. Jessica Melugin, National Review, "Beware the Regulatory Crackdown on Big Tech," 20 Oct. 2020 But drought is usually referred to as a short-term issue, and what's happening in Colorado is not temporary. Jeff Berardelli, CBS News, "Colorado's record-breaking wildfires show "climate change is here and now"," 20 Oct. 2020 Albertsons, which owns chains such as Safeway, reported identical-store sales growth of 13.8% in its latest quarter and boosted its short-term projections. Gerald Porter Jr.,, "P&G, Albertsons Say Covid-19 Shopping Patterns Here to Stay," 20 Oct. 2020 That agreement seeks to strengthen the stability of the financial system and prevent a recurrence of the global crisis, when short-term funding markets dried up, leaving investment banks such as Lehman Brothers unable to finance long-term assets. Paul Kiernan, WSJ, "U.S. Banking Regulator Backs New Liquidity Requirements," 20 Oct. 2020 New gadgets, clothes and decor bring people joy, at least in the short term. Nicole Anzia, Washington Post, "Confession from an organizer: My home isn’t picture-perfect," 20 Oct. 2020 The weather has turned cold, officially kicking off cuffing season, the time of year when singles look for short-term relationships to get through the chilly months. Christen A. Johnson,, "Video dating can keep cuffing season alive this fall and winter as COVID-19 lingers," 20 Oct. 2020 For example, the study only observed a very short-term response among the subjects. Claudia Lopez Lloreda, Wired, "Can Placebos Work—Even When Patients Know They’re Fake?," 20 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb However, those numbers could prove to be short-lived if current COVID-19 trends continue and the White House and Congress fail to reach a deal on a new stimulus package to help keep airlines afloat. Jayme Deerwester, USA TODAY, "More people flying? TSA hits screens 1 million daily passengers for first time since pandemic began," 19 Oct. 2020 The pain was short-lived for the Lions' supporters. Julia Poe,, "Orlando City draws New York Red Bulls; clinches first playoff bid," 18 Oct. 2020 But the rebound could be short-lived for some platforms in particular. Laura Forman, WSJ, "Social-Media Investors Could Be Calling the Ad Game All Wrong," 16 Oct. 2020 The latter category was created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and is expected to be short-lived. Paul Grein, Billboard, "Sam Smith, Maluma, Doja Cat & More to Perform at 2020 MTV EMA," 15 Oct. 2020 But such respites have been typically short-lived in this election cycle and according to today’s news, the two candidates will each participate in dueling town hall events—with Trump on NBC and Biden on ABC, on Thursday night, at the same time. Libby Watson, The New Republic, "America’s Next Top Town Halls Are No Way to Pick a President," 14 Oct. 2020 But these nutrients are short-lived, so farmers plant crops, harvest, and quickly move on, obliterating still more of the Amazon. Matt Simon, Wired, "See Earth Transform Like You're a Time-Traveling Astronaut," 14 Oct. 2020 But even on the scale of a single plant destined for your garden, those seemingly insignificant or short-lived little wilting events can mean a far less satisfactory specimen in the garden. Paul Cappiello, The Courier-Journal, "Roots are the vampires of the plant world. Why you should get them in the ground ASAP," 9 Oct. 2020 The momentum would be short-lived, as Magnello took the ensuing kickoff 81 yards for touchdown to balloon the lead to 41-13 and abruptly ending the third quarter. Dashone Dunomes,, "Tre Magnello returns two kickoffs for touchdowns in East Jefferson's win over Riverdale," 7 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The company said water can get into the antilock brake computer, cause an electrical short and possibly an engine fire. Tom Krisher, Star Tribune, "Hyundai warns owners to park outside, recalls 180,000 SUVs," 11 Sep. 2020 Patagonia's political tag went viral after Twitter user @CoreyCiorciari posted a photo of the short's tag on Sept. 11. Coral Murphy, USA TODAY, "'Vote the a-holes out': Patagonia's new tag want to stand up to climate deniers," 16 Sep. 2020 For the second time this month, Hyundai is telling some SUV owners to park outdoors because an electrical short in a computer could cause vehicles to catch fire. Tom Krisher, Star Tribune, "Hyundai warns owners to park outside, recalls 180,000 SUVs," 11 Sep. 2020 Brake fluid may leak inside the Hydraulic Electronic Control Unit (HECU), possibly resulting in an electrical short. Detroit Free Press, "Car safety recalls for August 27-Sept. 3," 4 Sep. 2020 Brake fluid may leak inside the Hydraulic Electronic Control Unit (HECU), possibly resulting in an electrical short. USA TODAY, "Car recalls for August 27-Sept. 3," 4 Sep. 2020 In this promotional short, Honda touts improved cupholders and far-back seats in its new minivan. Washington Post, "Style Invitational Week 1391: ‘Covid’-free zone!," 2 July 2020 Boris Johnson, who picked up a pair of skimpy shorts and a widened vocabulary on his gap year at Geelong grammar school, holds Australia up as a model of prosperity outside the European Union. The Economist, "Britain and Australia Why the Conservative Party adores Australia," 13 June 2020 While the Viking was in green digital camo, cut off just above the knees into a pair of ragged shorts, Dreadlocks was in blue Navy coveralls. August Cole, Wired, "AI, AR, and the (Somewhat) Speculative Future of a Tech-Fueled FBI," 5 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Dyson ended up scoring the tying run, on a grounder to short with two outs that shortstop Jorge Polanco could have been quicker on. La Velle E. Neal Iii, Star Tribune, "Twins fall 4-3 to White Sox; Josh Donaldson ejected while hitting home run," 18 Sep. 2020 Laredo City Council on Tuesday voted to gather a coalition of leaders from fellow cities and counties that have been shorted in this funding in order to lobby Congress and Gov. Greg Abbott to amend the distribution calculation. Julia Wallace, Houston Chronicle, "Webb County receives only $37K in coronavirus relief funds from state government," 28 May 2020 The paychecks of about 54,000 people are still being shorted to repay past-due student loans, despite a federal moratorium that has been in place for six weeks, according to court documents filed late Monday by the Trump administration. Danielle Douglas-gabriel,, "Trump administration is still garnishing the wages of 54,000 student loan borrowers," 12 May 2020 Bearish bets in Wayfair were at $8.11 billion with 23.18 million shares shorted, or 38% of float, according to S3 data. Janet Freund,, "Wayfair Shares Rise to Record While Short Sellers Get Clobbered," 10 May 2020 If the college football season gets shorted or canceled altogether, what happens to funding for the non-revenue sports then? oregonlive, "Granting athletes in spring sports another season of eligibility creates other problems: Oregon track & field rundown," 31 Mar. 2020 Still, the gains that investors generate from short selling can quickly evaporate if the broader market or individual stocks that are heavily shorted start to rebound. Paul R. La Monica, CNN, "How some investors have profited from the stock market's huge losses," 31 Mar. 2020 The Thunder have essentially shorted the futures of three NBA teams. Ben Cohen, WSJ, "Russell Westbrook Plays for the Rockets. Why Not?," 12 July 2019 When that thin plastic sheet breaks (due to too much jostling in the cargo hold of an airplane, for instance), the electrodes can come together, shorting out the battery. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "New electrolyte recipe keeps lithium-ion batteries from catching fire," 23 Aug. 2018

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.

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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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Statistics for short

Last Updated

23 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Short.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for short


How to pronounce short (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of short

 (Entry 1 of 4)

: extending a small distance from one end to the other end : having little length : not long
: not great in distance
: having little height : not tall



English Language Learners Definition of short (Entry 2 of 4)

: to or at a point that is not as far as expected or desired : to a point not reaching what is needed for something
: in a sudden manner
: for or during a short time



English Language Learners Definition of short (Entry 3 of 4)

: pants that end at or above the knees
: a short movie
British : a small amount of liquor that you drink quickly



English Language Learners Definition of short (Entry 4 of 4)

: to cause (something) to have a short circuit
: to stop working because of a short circuit


\ 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

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