short fuse


: a tendency to get angry easily : a quick temper
… was seen as the bad guy, the one whose short fuse was scary, destructive and uncontrollable.Rick Telander
short-fused adjective
… a fiery and short-fused 30-year-old driver as well known for tantrums and bad behavior as he is for being the best rookie in history … The New York Times

Examples of short fuse in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The territory belongs to a group of damselfish with a short fuse. Kelli Bender, Peoplemag, 11 Apr. 2024 Indeed, Gates’ leadership in the early Microsoft days was defined by a short fuse. Jane Thier, Fortune, 9 Dec. 2023 However, Biden has such a short fuse, aides often try to avoid meeting with him one-on-one, according to Axios. David Matthews New York Daily News (tns), al, 12 July 2023 Elvis’s temper led to frightening moments The movie depicts Elvis’s short fuse, including a scene in which a playful pillow fight turns violent when Elvis — who relied on prescription meds like quaaludes to sleep and Dexedrine to wake up — gets aggressive. Eric Andersson, Peoplemag, 3 Nov. 2023 However, readers shouldn’t be too surprised by Isaacson’s insight into Musk’s personality—another biography on the billionaire has already pointed out Musk’s apparent short fuse. Byorianna Rosa Royle, Fortune, 29 June 2023 At candidate forums in the early stages of the runoff, Vallas, who has a short fuse, tried to come across as calm and reassuring, even chummy. Peter Slevin, The New Yorker, 2 Apr. 2023 Jones also has a short fuse. Ben Volin,, 25 Jan. 2023 Each had a short fuse. Brittny Mejia, Los Angeles Times, 6 Mar. 2022

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'short fuse.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1958, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of short fuse was in 1958

Dictionary Entries Near short fuse

Cite this Entry

“Short fuse.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition

short fuse

: a tendency to get angry easily
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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