short·cut | \ ˈshȯrt-ˌkət also -ˈkət \

Definition of shortcut 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a route more direct than the one ordinarily taken

2 : a method or means of doing something more directly and quickly than and often not so thoroughly as by ordinary procedure a shortcut to success

3 : a key or combination of keys on a computer keyboard programmed to perform a specific function when pressed You can open any item by clicking it or by assigning it a keyboard shortcut. —Christopher Breen

called also hot key


shortcut; shortcutting

Definition of shortcut (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to shorten (a route, a procedure, etc.) by use of a shortcut also : circumvent

intransitive verb

: to take or use a shortcut

Examples of shortcut in a Sentence


Wait, I know a shortcut. Turn left here. We took a shortcut home. Let's take the shortcut through the woods. I used a shortcut to calculate the total weight. There are no shortcuts to learning another language. Mistakes were made because too many shortcuts were taken.


are you sure there's no way to shortcut the entrance requirements?
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Notepad will also add a feature letting people delete words that appear before the onscreen curser using ctrl+backspace, a popular Word shortcut. Chris Morris, Fortune, "Microsoft Is Finally Updating the Windows Notepad App," 12 July 2018 And since then, various teams have filled in the theoretical rationale to excuse Falkovich’s lucky shortcut. Joshua Sokol, WIRED, "Flattened Fluids Help Scientists Understand Oceans and Atmospheres," 7 July 2018 Douglas Road and Sycamore Street are popular shortcuts from New London Turnpike and Hebron Avenue to Main Street. Peter Marteka, Courant Community, "Glastonbury Looking To Align Douglas Road And Sycamore Street," 11 July 2018 Speaking of quick settings, Google restored the alarm app shortcut while quick settings is open—just tap on the time. Ron Amadeo, Ars Technica, "Android P Preview 4 tweaks gesture navigation, revamps system icons," 3 July 2018 More: Two under-the-radar additions hope to find new life on defensive line There are no shortcuts in this league. Zak Keefer, Indianapolis Star, "Colts: In new scheme, Tarell Basham gets his chance to flourish," 10 June 2018 After delivering a victory speech at the Ambassador, Kennedy and his entourage were on their way to a press conference elsewhere at the hotel, taking a shortcut via the kitchen pantry when the candidate stopped to shake hands with some of the staff. Anh Do,, "Robert Kennedy Jr. joins chorus of second-gunman theorists over his father's assassination," 27 May 2018 Siri also will now have a Shortcuts feature, allowing for quick management of tasks based on calendar, time of day or other prompts, with hundreds of pre-loaded shortcuts already available. Dan Rys, Billboard, "Stream Apple's WWDC 2018 Keynote Presentation Here," 4 June 2018 Driving in that cathartic and familiar pool of common pop-culture knowledge is nice, too, although in this case there is a very noticeable lack of shortcuts. Kelly Conaboy, The Cut, "Traveling Through Time on the Sex and the City Bus Tour," 31 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Rest assured, these aren’t actual apps, but instead shortcuts to Nokia’s web client. Michael Zelenko, The Verge, "There’s no perfect minimalist phone — yet," 3 May 2018 To push revenues to 2008 levels, Zinke would have to do more than sell leases and help companies shortcut environmental regs. Elliott D. Woods, Outside Online, "Zinke's Plan to Fund the Park Service Is Pure Fantasy," 24 Mar. 2018 Lidia Bastianich knows how to shortcut even the simplest of recipes. Jill Wendholt Silva, charlotteobserver, "Want to celebrate with style? Celebrate like an Italian – Lidia Bastianich | Charlotte Observer," 22 Dec. 2017 Technically, pesto should be pounded or processed to a paste, but sometimes shortcuts pay off. Claire Saffitz, Bon Appetit, "Pasta with Chopped Pesto," 19 Aug. 2017 These kinds of horizontal gene transfers, where genes shortcut the usual passage from parent to offspring and instead move directly between individuals, are rare in animals, but common among bacteria. Ed Yong, The Atlantic, "How Mushrooms Became Magic," 24 Aug. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'shortcut.' 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 shortcut


1637, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1915, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

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Statistics for shortcut

Last Updated

16 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for shortcut

The first known use of shortcut was in 1637

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More Definitions for shortcut



English Language Learners Definition of shortcut

: a shorter, quicker, or easier way to get to a place

: a quicker or easier way to do something


short·cut | \ ˈshȯrt-ˌkət \

Kids Definition of shortcut

: a shorter, quicker, or easier way

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Comments on shortcut

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


a magnificent or impressive array

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