\ 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 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)

transitive verb

3 : to sell (a security) short in expectation of a fall in prices

intransitive verb

: short-circuit often used with out in U.S. English … 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

Keep scrolling for more

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

little, low, low-lying, low-slung, sawed-off

Synonyms: Adverb

abruptly, suddenly

Synonyms: Verb

beat, bilk, bleed, cheat, chisel, chouse, con, cozen, defraud, diddle, do, do in, euchre, fiddle, fleece, flimflam, gaff, gyp, hose [slang], hustle, mulct, nobble [British slang], pluck, ream, rip off, rook, screw, shake down, shortchange, skin, skunk, squeeze, stick, stiff, sting, sucker, swindle, thimblerig, victimize

Antonyms: Adjective

altitudinous, high, lofty, tall, towering

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of short in a Sentence


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.


He threw the ball short. the bicyclist ahead of me unexpectedly pulled up short and I unavoidably plowed into him


The short before the main movie was very funny.


The lightning shorted the TV. The hair dryer must have shorted.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Polls show that the number of people who believe Guaidó will succeed in ousting the government in the short term has dropped since February. Washington Post, "Venezuelans brace for more hardship after Trump stiffens sanctions," 6 Aug. 2019 French World Cup and European Championship winner Fabien Barthez then got the call in 2000, but suffered with inconsistency and enjoyed only short-term success., "Peter Schmeichel: The Great Dane Who Redefined Modern Goalkeeping," 6 Aug. 2019 Burroughs said that some studies show a short-term increase in aggressive thoughts and feelings after playing video games, but nothing that rises to the level of violence. Mae Anderson,, "There is no link between video games and violence, according to experts," 6 Aug. 2019 The yield curve goes flat when the spread between the Fed Funds, and other short-term benchmarks such as the 2-year treasuries, disappears. Shawn Tully, Fortune, "The Bond Market Has a Message for the Fed: You’re Not in Charge Anymore," 6 Aug. 2019 When short-term Treasury yields are higher than long-term rates, a rule of thumb says a recession may arrive in about a year. Author: Stan Choe, Anchorage Daily News, "S&P 500 plunges in worst loss of year as trade war escalates," 6 Aug. 2019 That’s helped ease the short-term loss of tackle Nesta Silvera, who underwent foot surgery last week but is expected to return within six to eight weeks. Christy Cabrera Chirinos,, "Hurricanes confident depth, experience will keep defensive line humming," 6 Aug. 2019 Money for short-term goals should be in safe investments, while funds for intermediate and long-term needs can gradually get more risky. NBC News, "What to do with your 401(k) when the market tanks," 5 Aug. 2019 Greater digital ambitions aren't likely to spare more short-term newsroom cuts, which have already ravaged the local news industry in recent years., "Newspaper publishers Gannett, GateHouse Media to merge," 5 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

The Palmer/Arians era was exciting but short-lived. Jeremy Cluff, azcentral, "Arizona Cardinals fans apparently not among NFL's most tortured fan bases," 2 Aug. 2019 Lights Out is Comedy Central's latest 11:30 p.m. entry, after the network's short-lived shows Larry Wilmore's The Nightly Show and The Opposition With Jordan Klepper. Katherine Schaffstall, The Hollywood Reporter, "David Spade Pokes Fun at Jeffrey Epstein, Caitlyn Jenner in 'Lights Out' Premiere," 30 July 2019 But their relief at this possible new colleague is short-lived, for reasons the audience should discover for itself. Christine Dolen,, "Review: ‘She Shorts’ puts women in the spotlight," 15 July 2019 Strikes can also be targeted and short-lived, as evidenced by a nine-hour strike last month by the UAW against Faurecia, which has operations in Michigan and supplies parts to Ford, FCA and Tesla. Eric D. Lawrence, Detroit Free Press, "Strike or no strike, UAW-Detroit Three contract talks could be brutal affair," 15 July 2019 The relationship peaked with the pomp of Mr. Trump’s U.K. state visit last month but its effect now appears short-lived. Michael R. Gordon, WSJ, "Kim Darroch Resigns as U.K. Ambassador to U.S. After Leaked Cables," 10 July 2019 The community gathering, however short-lived, can improve everyone’s health before the gang scatters. Lila Maclellan, Quartz at Work, "Why you should totally go to the pub with your mates when you’ve just been laid off," 8 July 2019 But the momentum gained was short-lived, as Pittsburgh regained the lead against Guerra. Todd Rosiak, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Pirates 6, Brewers 5: Stumbling into the break," 7 July 2019 Some in Khartoum, Sudan’s capital, cheered the deal — but that jubilation might prove short-lived, as there’s still a lot of skepticism about the agreement that keeps elements of the Transitional Military Council in power. Jen Kirby, Vox, "Sudan’s military and civilian opposition have reached a power-sharing deal," 5 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Promising to work out in shorts all season, a break from past head coaches, Zapien has already put his mark on the program in another subtle way. Robert Avery, Houston Chronicle, "Fall is in the air as Pasadena ISD’s football camps get to work in an urgent way," 7 Aug. 2019 High school football practice for AHSAA schools began Monday, and the governing body mandates three days in shorts and helmets before full-pad practices begin Thursday. Josh Bean |, al, "Alabama HS football player collapses at practice," 6 Aug. 2019 Swim parents—mostly both parents of each Dolphins swimmer—meanwhile gathered in knee-length shorts and polo shirts to commiserate one another on the early morning scramble. The Economist, "What the mighty Dolphins say about America," 1 Aug. 2019 Sometimes people like Derrick do not look so good in shorts. Scott Patsko,, "Everything Freddie Kitchens said at his Browns training camp press conference July 31," 31 July 2019 Big Juicy Melons, which features a blond woman in cutoff shorts and a bikini top holding two watermelons in front of her breasts. Mikaela Lefrak, Washington Post, "Competitive pinball is having a revival. This time around, women want their turn.," 29 July 2019 Kravitz sported the revealing dress with a pair of high-waisted biker shorts and a bra top with low-heeled white grandma pumps. Liana Satenstein, Vogue, "Zoë Kravitz Wears the Ultimate Cool Girl Bridal Label in Paris," 29 June 2019 Pulling off biker shorts or Bermuda shorts is all a matter of proportions. Zanna Roberts Rassi, Marie Claire, "How to Style Long Shorts," 15 Apr. 2019 Other images show families huddled together garbed in the over-sized sweatshirts, along with kids and teens posing in an array of crop tops, hoodies and biker shorts. Morgan M. Evans, Fox News, "Kanye West launches Yeezy campaign with nude Kim Kardashian lookalike models," 13 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Importing hundreds of thousands of foreign workers undermines the dreams of American students, cuts short the careers of older native workers and risks embedding those from nations known for intellectual property theft into our country. Letters To The Editor, The Mercury News, "Letter: Lofgren’s ‘High-Skilled Immigrants Act’ good for Silicon Valley tech," 16 July 2019 So far the trial is going well for the tech entrepreneur, a commanding presence in the witness box who has taken to treating the court to short explainers on the software industry’s workings. The Economist, "Britain’s biggest fraud trial pits Mike Lynch against Hewlett Packard," 18 July 2019 Between February and May, Barrett managed to make her payments on time, by shorting other bills and relying on payday loans. Wendi C. Thomas, ProPublica, "The Nonprofit Hospital That Makes Millions, Owns a Collection Agency and Relentlessly Sues the Poor," 27 June 2019 Her news outlet must decide whether to short its readers on coverage of a gubernatorial candidate on a matter of principle, or capitulate to the candidate’s insulting demands. Monica Hesse, Washington Post, "The ‘Billy Graham Rule’ doesn’t honor your wife. It demeans her — and all women.," 11 July 2019 Tyler Saladino moved to from third base to short, and catcher Manny Pina came in to play third. Todd Rosiak, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "The Brewers' Orlando Arcia is injured and Keston Hiura shaken up in a frightening collision," 6 July 2019 Photo: Utrecht/Action Press/ZUMA Press L. Asher Corson, a cryptocurrency analyst at Chicago proprietary trading firm Consolidated Trading, said traders who want to short bitcoin don’t have many choices besides CME. Alexander Osipovich, WSJ, "Is There a Big Short in Bitcoin?," 25 June 2019 Colorado’s four runs in the ninth came on five hits, one of those hits awarded on a botched pop-up to short left and another coming on a misplayed liner to center. Tim Reynolds, The Seattle Times, "Blackmon has 3 hits, Rockies 2-hit Marlins 6-1," 29 Mar. 2019 Last summer the city council approved payouts to the 29 surviving sanitation strikers to make up for circumstances that shorted their retirement accounts. Wendi C. Thomas, National Geographic, "Where the Streets Have MLK's Name," 12 June 2019

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.

See More

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 transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for short


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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about short

Dictionary Entries near short





short account


short and

Statistics for short

Last Updated

9 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for short

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for short



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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on short

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for short

Spanish Central: Translation of short

Nglish: Translation of short for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of short for Arabic Speakers

Comments on short

What made you want to look up short? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a usually brief trip or an expedition

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Summer 2019 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a-bowl-of-peach-sorbet-with-cut-peaches-next-to-it
  • Which is a synonym of desideratum?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!