\ˈshȯrt \

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

9a : short subject

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

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Other Words from short


shortish \ˈshȯr-​tish \ adjective
shortness \ˈshȯrt-​nəs \ 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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Her face is bare, her short, blonde hair pulled unfussily back. Chloe Schama, Vogue, "Joanna Kulig, the Dazzling Star of Cold War, Is About to Have a Very Big Year," 10 Dec. 2018 Those investors buy convertibles while taking a short position in the stock of the issuing company. Daniel Kruger, WSJ, "Rising Rates Revitalize Convertible-Bond Sales," 10 Dec. 2018 The duo worked together on a few short films on Kimberly's YouTube channel, including a follow-up story for Daniel's Halloweentown character, Kal. Hannah Orenstein, Seventeen, "27 Celebrities Who Dated Their Co-Stars IRL," 7 Dec. 2018 There will also be a short film by Fabian Constant featuring Monse muse Dilone and Monse's own office dog Louise. Marina Liao, Marie Claire, "Monse's Pre-Fall 2019 Collection Shoot Features Adorable Dogs for a Great Reason," 6 Dec. 2018 Thanks to the chronic lack of short term memory that afflicts so many Riverdale residents, Veronica is almost won over by Hiram swooping in to save the day at her speakeasy. Emma Dibdin, Harper's BAZAAR, "Betty's In Serious Trouble on This Week's Riverdale," 6 Dec. 2018 Bush's casket was then taken to the U.S. Capitol, with an arrival ceremony scheduled at 4:45 p.m. A short service took place there on Monday afternoon, where remarks were given by Paul Ryan, Mike Pence, and Mitch McConnell. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "All the Details on George H. W. Bush's Funeral," 6 Dec. 2018 Your gift giver can even book it on Amazon by answering a few short questions. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "What Do I Want for Christmas? Take This Quiz to Find Out the Answer," 30 Nov. 2018 An added bonus for guests is its location: Richmond, Massachusetts, in the heart of the Berkshires, is a short distance from music venue Tanglewood and within a reasonable drive from the new art center MASS MoCa in North Adams. Robert Khederian, Curbed, "How a fashion designer transformed an 18th-century home into a dreamy inn," 21 Nov. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

Their lack of neighborliness and obliviousness to their children’s impact on the well-being of others cut our trip short and ruined an otherwise good vacation. Seattle Times Readers, The Seattle Times, "Rant & Rave: Noisy kids ruined camping trip," 24 Sep. 2018 Mané and Keïta were both teammates at RB Salzburg, although the Africain pair saw their time together cut short when the Senegalese winger moved to Southampton in 2014, having made just two appearances together in the Austrian Bundesliga., "Report Claims That Naby Keita Was Talked Out of Bayern Munich Switch By Liverpool Winger," 30 June 2018 The Chiefs cut short their final day of mandatory minicamp because of the heat, but Reid said Thursday that enough was accomplished to sacrifice some extra snaps. Blair Kerkhoff, kansascity, "Next stop for confident Patrick Mahomes, rest of Chiefs, is training camp," 14 June 2018 Dan Thorman cut short a business trip to Singapore and came straight to Saturday’s event from Los Angeles International Airport. Sarah Mcbride,, "Boring Co. Flamethrower Party Heats Up Elon Musk Fans," 10 June 2018 The events on the field and comments afterward revealed the emotional scars that remain from the Sept. 11, 2014 beaning in Milwaukee that cut short a potential MVP season Stanton was having with the Marlins. Craig Davis,, "Latest drama between Giancarlo Stanton, Mike Fiers shows feelings about 2014 beaning still linger," 5 June 2018 Many of them exited high school into a world short on middle-skill job opportunities, only to be broadsided by the worst downturn since the Great Depression. Jeanna Smialek, The Seattle Times, "Millennial men leave perplexing hole in hot US job market," 20 Nov. 2018 But don’t discount the others just yet: World of Warcraft’s short set up the next chapter in the Alliance and Horde’s continuing battle, while Heroes of the Storm’s short introduced a new playable hero named Orphea. Julia Alexander, The Verge, "Blizzard’s stunning cinematics stole the show at BlizzCon 2018," 2 Nov. 2018 The singer has not been afraid to change up her makeup or hair routine, debuting unicorn hair, a short pixie cut, and even a makeover made of diamonds. Zoë Weiner, Teen Vogue, "Cardi B Was Named Star of the Year by “People en Español”," 30 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

By 2013, the team had found its signature outfit, a colorful shorts-and-suspenders design by Mr. Mayer that celebrated masculine glamour and energy. Nina Adam, WSJ, "Female Roller Derby Skaters Are Fearless—So Are Their Male Cheerleaders," 7 Dec. 2018 Women walked in burqas and tank tops alike, but mostly shorts as even the most temperate of Florida days was still sweat-inducing. Kyle Arnold,, "Fireworks dazzle as Orlando comes together to celebrate Independence Day," 4 July 2018 Chinatown cocktail bar Hop Sing Laundromat has relaxed its no-shorts-for-men rule for the summer. Michael Klein,, "Let's Eat: A chef surfaces in Chesco; LaBan delivers cold dessert truths," 3 July 2018 Pete Davidson has a new fiancée, a possible new apartment and an entirely new look: Just a week after proposing to Ariana Grande after only a few weeks of dating, the star ditched his mop-top-esque hair and debuted a super-short buzz cut. Jillian Ruffo,, "Pete Davidson Gets Buzz Cut Following Ariana Grande Engagement News," 18 June 2018 For nearly two decades, John Cena, a performer whose primary medium involves finding creative ways to lift and drop other large men as a simulacrum for hand-to-hand combat, was seemingly on a one-man mission to keep the jean-shorts industry afloat. Chris Gayomali, GQ, "Suiting Up with John Cena," 12 June 2018 The county has been on a temperature see-saw ride for several weeks, with shorts-and-T-shirt warmth one day followed a couple of days later by sweatshirt coolness. Robert Krier,, "Light rain expected, but see-saw weather may be coming to an end," 18 Apr. 2018 One of the elements missing from his classic look: no more red-shorts-over-blue-pants. New York Times, "Superman Turns 80. The Red Trunks Still Fit.," 17 Apr. 2018 Only players and caddies are allowed inside the gallery ropes, so there is no disorganized entourage of TV cable-draggers, shorts-wearing media members, scorers and rules officials to spoil the visual or distract the player. Gary D'amato, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "D'Amato: What makes Masters special? A million things, big and small," 4 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

GE’s 5% preferred shares, a debtlike instrument shorted by many hedge funds, jumped about 11% over the past week to 81.5 cents on the dollar, according to MarketAxess. Matt Wirz, WSJ, "GE Bonds Rebound as Bargain Hunters Swoop In," 26 Nov. 2018 Right now, Hollywood is struggling to be ironic within a framework that naturally produces irony — and shorting out in the process. Devon Maloney, The Verge, "Hollywood had a breakdown trying to justify itself at the 2018 Emmys," 18 Sep. 2018 In nearby Nishinomiya in Hyogo prefecture, about 100 cars at a seaside dealership burned after their electrical systems were shorted out by sea water, fire officials and news reports said. Mari Yamaguchi, The Seattle Times, "Stranded people leave flooded airport after typhoon in Japan," 4 Sep. 2018 Adding insult to injury, Ross even attempted to profit off his disclosures, shorting stock in the shipping company after being informed that his holdings were about to be made public last fall. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, "Wilbur Ross’s Financial Shenanigans Should Be a Massive Scandal," 22 June 2018 In March, Multicoin shorted all the major cryptocurrencies—a decision that paid off when Bitcoin and its peers fell some 35% during that month alone. Jen Wieczner, Fortune, "Why This Cryptocurrency Fund Is Long Ethereum and EOS, Short Litecoin and Ripple," 29 June 2018 Even more remarkably, upon getting word of Forbes investigation, Ross shorted a stock that was likely to sink in value once the report went public. Jeet Heer, The New Republic, "Meanwhile, Trump’s cabinet is corruption central.," 19 June 2018 The Rebels loaded the bases with two outs, but Eric Chacon grounded out to short to end the inning. Joseph Halm,, "Riverdale 8, Leesville 7: Walk-off wild pitch earns Rebels first playoff win since 1989," 24 Apr. 2018 The only thing worse than headphones that start shorting out is having to throw them away and buy a whole new pair. Eric Limer, Popular Mechanics, "How to Fix Annoying Broken Headphones," 28 Sep. 2015

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 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

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Dictionary Entries near short





short account


short and

Statistics for short

Last Updated

13 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for short

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

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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)

shorts : pants that end at or above the knees

: a short movie

: 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 \
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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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 nest or breeding place

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