short·​cut | \ ˈshȯrt-ˌkət also -ˈkət How to pronounce shortcut (audio) \

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

Luckily, this decorative shortcut was not an indication of the facility’s surgical practices. Beth Spotswood,, "Go to the hospital,and leave ’em laughing," 3 July 2019 The problem is, these shortcuts often lead us to the wrong place. Cassie Werber, Quartz at Work, "Unlock your creativity by battling your brain’s laziest shortcut," 2 July 2019 As its ice thins and winters warm, the Northwest Passage will become a major shortcut for commercial shipping, particularly to and from Asia. Zoë Schlanger, Quartz, "The US is picking a fight with Canada over a thawing Arctic shipping route," 27 June 2019 Laptop makers like Huawei have included dedicated function keys that provide shortcuts to their built-in utility software. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Microsoft floats the concept of a dedicated Office key in a closed survey," 19 June 2019 The new key would provide additional keyboard shortcuts for Office apps, including the ability to quickly share documents and files. Tom Warren, The Verge, "Microsoft considering a dedicated Office key for keyboards," 18 June 2019 And the creators took no shortcuts producing the show, either. Marisa Lascala, Good Housekeeping, "The Man Behind ‘Teletubbies’ Is Back With a Unique New Show, 'Moon and Me'," 21 May 2019 The new shortcuts seem targeted at a user base that’s fed up after two years of big-tech privacy breaches and surveillance scandals. Sidney Fussell, The Atlantic, "More Privacy Still Isn’t Privacy," 4 June 2019 The prospect of relatively cheap gas along the shortcut between Asia and Europe drew a few investors anxious for a toehold in the Arctic, which the U.S. Geological Survey estimates may hold a fifth of the remaining oil and gas reserves on Earth. National Geographic, "See Russia’s massive new gas plant on the Arctic coast," 22 Mar. 2019

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

8 Jul 2019

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 How to pronounce shortcut (audio) \

Kids Definition of shortcut

: a shorter, quicker, or easier way

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More from Merriam-Webster on shortcut

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with shortcut

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for shortcut

Spanish Central: Translation of shortcut

Nglish: Translation of shortcut for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of shortcut for Arabic Speakers

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).


an act or instance of editing or removing

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