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

Antonyms: Verb

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Examples of shortcut in a Sentence

Noun 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. Verb are you sure there's no way to shortcut the entrance requirements?
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Researchers use gene chips as a cheaper shortcut to look at key spots in a person’s genome where variation might be expected. Erik Stokstad, Science | AAAS, "Major U.K. genetics lab accused of misusing African DNA," 30 Oct. 2019 The work is also expected to affect Oak Park students who use the bridge to get to Lincoln Elementary and Brooks Middle schools, as well as bicyclists who use the bridge as a shortcut across the expressway. Steve Schering,, "Home Avenue pedestrian bridge above I-290 to close for a month; use detour," 26 Aug. 2019 Some of these go to ex-militiamen, but no more than about 10%—the park does not want young men to see taking up arms as a shortcut to a salary. The Economist, "How do you reform a country where gunmen torch Ebola clinics?," 2 Aug. 2019 Kimmel’s audience erupted in applause as the actress used his stage as a shortcut to get to the premiere across the street. Nick Romano,, "Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie crash Jimmy Kimmel's monologue," 23 July 2019 Some of the reasons for this are pragmatic: a diverse family is a shortcut to diverse casting. Emily Nussbaum, The New Yorker, "“Years and Years” Forces Us Into the Future," 22 July 2019 Councilwoman Nancy Moore asked about the possibility of motorists using sidestreets around the square as shortcuts. Thomas Jewell,, "“This Is Shaker Square” planning initiative reaches 8-month public input milestone with a whistle stop at City Council," 18 June 2019 That's a useful skill for finding shortcuts to your destination, Savelli pointed out. Amina Khan,, "Scientists make a maze-running artificial intelligence program that learns to take shortcuts," 9 May 2018 In research published today in Nature, computer scientists have designed a neural network that was able not only to navigate through a maze, but learned to find shortcuts in the same way that a mammal would. John Wenz, Popular Mechanics, "Neural Networks Learn to Take Shortcuts Through a Maze Just Like a Mammal Would," 9 May 2018 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Hough decided to shortcut the chain of command to get the information directly to the artillery units that could use it. Greg Miller, Smithsonian, "The Untold Story of the Secret Mission to Seize Nazi Map Data," 23 Oct. 2019 Here, Hannom shares her ideas on how to shortcut a kitchen refresh, without sacrificing style or budget. 1. Jessica Cumberbatch, Country Living, "How to Refresh Your Kitchen on a Budget," 1 Oct. 2019 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

11 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for shortcut

The first known use of shortcut was in 1637

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More Definitions for shortcut


How to pronounce shortcut (audio)

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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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).


something of little or no value

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