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

Not long ago, the court resisted the shortcut the government now invites. Los Angeles Times, "Supreme Court rules for Trump on asylum ban at southern border," 11 Sep. 2019 The shortcut can be stored anywhere without impacting the location of the original file. Samuel Axon, Ars Technica, "Google Drive will introduce long-asked-for file shortcuts feature," 16 Aug. 2019 As the study indicates, Twitter is the ultimate shortcut. oregonlive, "Is Twitter making you dumber? A new study suggests yes," 30 May 2019 Then as now, geopolitics was a driving force in Arctic exploration, with the Royal Navy wanting to secure the fabled shortcut to the Pacific ahead of the Russians, who had maritime aspirations of their own. Roff Smith, National Geographic, "Arctic shipwreck 'frozen in time' astounds archaeologists," 28 Aug. 2019 The shortcuts to pleasure-heavy nods and urgent second bites are salt, fat and acid. New York Times, "We Asked a Chef to Keep a Cooking Diary for a Week. Here’s What She Made.," 27 Aug. 2019 A half-hour after being installed, for instance, an app would hide its icon and create a shortcut on the device home screen. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "85 Google Play apps with 8 million downloads forced fullscreen ads on users," 19 Aug. 2019 And while there isn't a secret shortcut to healthier hair, taking time to keep strands strong is worth the commitment. Paige Stables, Good Housekeeping, "12 Healthy Hair Habits You Should Adopt ASAP," 14 Aug. 2019 The fact that Gullen and William happen to be heading to the same place for similar reasons is a bit hard to buy at first, providing a coincidence that feels like a screenwriting shortcut. Jordan Mintzer, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Roads': Film Review," 30 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The Warriors do not want to shortcut his development. Mark Medina, The Mercury News, "Warriors mailbag: Making sense of the Warriors’ free agency moves," 12 July 2019 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

14 Oct 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).


a topic to which one constantly reverts

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