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

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Synonyms & Antonyms for shortcut

Synonyms: Verb

beat, bypass, circumvent, dodge, get around, sidestep, skirt

Antonyms: Verb

comply (with), follow, keep, obey, observe

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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

Few series riff this fast, and the verbal gymnastics are not shortcut with pauses that clutter. Tim Goodman, The Hollywood Reporter, "Critic's Notebook: 'Letterkenny' Is the Canadian Comedy You Didn't Know You Needed," 11 July 2018 Siri Apple’s virtual personal assistant has a new feature called Shortcuts that allows any app to add a shortcut to Siri. Don Reisinger, Fortune, "Apple's iOS 12 Brings Speed and Smarts to iPhones and iPads," 4 June 2018 Being trapped in a box with other adults replicates drinking’s shortcut to intimacy, while working under a clock eliminates awkwardness (there’s no time for it!). Molly Young, New York Times, "Letter of Recommendation: Escape Rooms," 25 Apr. 2018 There are no easy answers and no shortcuts to solutions. Stacey Patton, Washington Post, "We can’t ignore race in the tragic story of Devonte Hart and his white adoptive mothers," 6 Apr. 2018 In testing, having multiple browser shortcuts at the ready was essential for leveraging their different strengths and weaknesses. Chris Wilkinson, Ars Technica, "1990, meet 2018: How far does 20MHz of Macintosh IIsi power go today?," 1 July 2018 Roughly halfway through the loop, look for the shortcut passage marked with yellow dots to circle back to the starting point. Mare Czinar, azcentral, "Arizona hike: Ghost of the Coyote Trail has spooky name, heavenly views," 24 May 2018 According to the report, Genesis Rostant, 18, was walking to her job at Sally’s Beauty Supply and took a shortcut through the woods behind Target. Raisa Habersham, ajc, "Cops: Man attacked teen who refused his advances in Milton," 8 June 2018 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

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

11 Nov 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).


full of whispering sounds

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