\ ˈshȯrt How to pronounce short (audio) \

Definition of short

 (Entry 1 of 4)

1a : having little length
b : not tall or high : low
2a : not extended in time : brief a short vacation
b : not retentive a short memory
c : expeditious, quick made short work of the problem
d : seeming to pass quickly made great progress in just a few short years
3a of a speech sound : having a relatively short duration
b : being the member of a pair of similarly spelled vowel or vowel-containing sounds that is descended from a vowel that was short in duration but is no longer so and that does not necessarily have duration as its chief distinguishing feature short i in sin
c of a syllable in prosody
(1) : of relatively brief duration
4 : limited in distance a short trip
5a : not coming up to a measure or requirement : insufficient in short supply
b : not reaching far enough the throw to first was short
c : enduring privation
d : insufficiently supplied short of breath short of cash short on brains
6a : abrupt, curt I'm sorry I was short with you
b : quickly provoked a short temper
8 : payable at an early date a short loan
9a : containing or cooked with shortening also : flaky short pastry
b of metal : brittle under certain conditions
10a : not lengthy or drawn out a short speech
b : made briefer : abbreviated
11a : not having goods or property that one has sold in anticipation of a fall in prices
b : consisting of, relating to, or engaging in the sale of securities or commodities that the seller does not possess or has not contracted for at the time of the sale short sale a short seller
12 : near the end of a tour of duty
in short order
: with dispatch : quickly



Definition of short (Entry 2 of 4)

1 : in a curt manner
2 : for or during a brief time short-lasting
3 : at a disadvantage : unawares caught short
4 : in an abrupt manner : suddenly the car stopped short
5 : at some point or degree before a goal or limit aimed at or under consideration the bombs fell short quit a month short of graduation
6 : clean across the axle was snapped short
7 : by or as if by a short sale



Definition of short (Entry 3 of 4)

1 : the sum and substance : upshot
2a : a short syllable
b : a short sound or signal
3 shorts plural
a : a by-product of wheat milling that includes the germ, fine bran, and some flour
b : refuse, clippings, or trimmings discarded in various manufacturing processes
4a : knee-length or less than knee-length trousers usually used in plural
b shorts plural : short drawers
c : a size in clothing for short men
5a : one who operates on the short side of the market
b shorts plural : short-term bonds
6 shorts plural : deficiencies
b : a brief story or article (as in a newspaper)
for short
: as an abbreviation named Katherine or Kate for short
in short
: by way of summary : briefly


shorted; shorting; shorts

Definition of short (Entry 4 of 4)

1 transitive + intransitive : short-circuit The electrical system also received upgrades: Most rooms had only three or fewer outlets, and plugging in multiple devices usually shorted the circuit.— Steven Wyman-Blackburn The housing association gave her a "temperamental" electric shower but this cannot be used as the time as other electric items—including the television—as it will cause the circuit to short.— Anna Slater often used with out in U.S. English… microscopic particles of airborne dust are large enough to short out the chip's circuitry.— Michael Rothschild… were sabotaging the system by deliberately entering incorrect information into the computers and, if all else failed, hosing the computers down until they shorted out.— John Sedgwick
2 transitive, informal : shortchange, cheat When she returned minutes later, she handed me a twenty-dollar bill and a five. No change and no receipt, which meant I couldn't call her on the fact that she'd shorted Henry by sixty-six cents.— Sue Grafton
3 transitive, finance : to sell (a security) short in expectation of a fall in prices a heavily shorted stock Today [in 2003], only two per cent of all United States stock-market shares are shorted, and even with looser restrictions short selling is likely to remain uncommon.— James Surowiecki

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Other Words from short


shortish \ ˈshȯr-​tish How to pronounce short (audio) \ adjective
shortness \ ˈshȯrt-​nəs How to pronounce short (audio) \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for short

Synonyms: Adjective

Synonyms: Adverb

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Adjective

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Examples of short in a Sentence

Adjective One of my legs is slightly shorter than the other. He is short for his age. the shortest day of the year Life's too short to worry about the past. The movie was very short. You have done a lot in a short space of time. a short burst of speed I've only lived here for a short time. She has made great progress in a few short years. He visited for two short weeks. Adverb He threw the ball short. the bicyclist ahead of me unexpectedly pulled up short and I unavoidably plowed into him Noun The short before the main movie was very funny. Verb The lightning shorted the TV. The hair dryer must have shorted.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The Tigers tried to use him on a third-and-short situation, but the Wildcats were more than ready, and he was stuffed. Giana Han, al, "Grading Auburn’s loss to Northwestern in the Citrus Bowl," 2 Jan. 2021 Two, Nermal and Addie (short for Adamantium), make brief appearances during the Zoom interview. Bill Keveney, USA TODAY, "'I get to be more myself': Why Mayim Bialik is excited to play a cat lady in Fox's 'Call Me Kat'," 1 Jan. 2021 For several years before the pandemic, U.S. interest rates on both the long and short ends of the yield curve were substantially higher than in Europe and Japan—a major source of strength for the U.S. currency. Aaron Back, WSJ, "King Dollar Is Abdicating and That’s OK," 30 Dec. 2020 The Browns could pass the ball on fourth and short. Scott Patsko, cleveland, "Why a Baker Mayfield sneak is better than a Nick Chubb or Kareem Hunt run," 29 Dec. 2020 Lady Gaga stans are Little Monsters, Taylor Swift stans are Swifties, Ariana Grande stans are Arianators, Nicki Minaj stans are Barbz (short for Barbies), BTS stans are called Army and Beyoncé stans identify as part of the Beyhive. NBC News, "The year of the stan: How the internet's super fans went from pop stars to politics," 24 Dec. 2020 Choose between short-and-sweet Pilates routines, gentle stretch series, yoga for runners, and even a 20-minute HIIT buddy workout. Jenny Mccoy, Glamour, "21 Best YouTube Workouts for 2021," 24 Dec. 2020 This was the fourth annual short-short story contest. John Wilkens, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Winner named in annual story contest with a COVID twist," 24 Dec. 2020 The short but brutal conflict has proven conclusively that Armenia cannot win militarily, and that therefore ethnic Armenians must accept either governance by Azerbaijan or the protectorate of Russia. Ivan Sascha Sheehan, National Review, "Russia’s New Territory," 23 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb Backers of President Trump descended on Washington, D.C., Saturday in another sign of support for the president who has come up short in his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. Marisa Schultz, Fox News, "Trump supporters to rally in DC after Supreme Court delivers president another defeat," 13 Dec. 2020 Olivia Santana lost her 2020 mayoral bid, one of several veteran Black women politicians to come up short. Gladys Mitchell-walthour, The Conversation, "‘My vote will be Black’ – A wave of Afro-Brazilian women ran for office in 2020 but found glass ceiling hard to break," 24 Nov. 2020 The Jaguars have had opportunities to win a game during each of the past two weeks, only to come up short. oregonlive, "Jake Luton struggles during the Jacksonville Jaguars' loss to the Green Bay Packers," 15 Nov. 2020 Johnson was slowed by a three-putt bogey on the 14th and a 3-iron that caught enough of a gust to come up short on the par-5 15th and roll back into the water, leading to another bogey. Mark Heim |, al, "Masters 2020 live stream (11/14): How to watch Saturday coverage online, TV, time," 14 Nov. 2020 Johnson was slowed by a three-putt bogey on the 14th and a 3-iron that caught enough of a gust to come up short on the par-5 15th and roll back into the water, leading to another bogey. Doug Ferguson,, "Dustin Johnson and Justin Thomas are among a 4-way tie for the lead at the Masters," 13 Nov. 2020 And generally, candidates of color — especially women — come up short. Steven P. Dinkin, San Diego Union-Tribune, "The election of 2020: What lessons have we learned?," 8 Nov. 2020 Democrats have come up short in their bid to flip control of several state legislative chambers this year and gain power in a coming round of redistricting. Christine Mai-duc, WSJ, "Republicans Hold Off Democratic Bid to Flip State Legislatures," 5 Nov. 2020 The team had outscored Mesquite 20-12 in the second half, only to come up short. Richard Obert, The Arizona Republic, "Carter twins embrace playoff chance leading Desert Edge football program," 5 Nov. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Schultz has provided Dallas a consistent short-to-intermediate option who can be effective as the first option in a progression or as the check down. John Owning, Dallas News, "Film room: 3 Cowboys players who have improved during Dallas’ lost season," 30 Nov. 2020 Ecker said the fire, which he was told appeared to be from an electrical short, was discovered by a cook arriving for work. Cheryl V. Jackson, The Indianapolis Star, "Kountry Kitchen, Rusted Silo back in action to serve customers," 5 Nov. 2020 The Anti-lock Brake Hydraulic Electronic Control Unit (HECU) could corrode internally and cause an electrical short, possibly resulting in an engine compartment fire. USA TODAY, "Car recalls for September 17-24," 24 Sep. 2020 This spin-off short tells the origin story of Olaf, the innocent and insightful, summer-loving snowman from that franchise. Lisa Respers France, CNN, "Adele and Rihanna, please save us from 2020 with new music," 22 Oct. 2020 The company said water can get into the antilock brake computer, cause an electrical short and possibly an engine fire. Tom Krisher, Star Tribune, "Hyundai warns owners to park outside, recalls 180,000 SUVs," 11 Sep. 2020 Patagonia's political tag went viral after Twitter user @CoreyCiorciari posted a photo of the short's tag on Sept. 11. Coral Murphy, USA TODAY, "'Vote the a-holes out': Patagonia's new tag want to stand up to climate deniers," 16 Sep. 2020 For the second time this month, Hyundai is telling some SUV owners to park outdoors because an electrical short in a computer could cause vehicles to catch fire. Tom Krisher, Star Tribune, "Hyundai warns owners to park outside, recalls 180,000 SUVs," 11 Sep. 2020 Brake fluid may leak inside the Hydraulic Electronic Control Unit (HECU), possibly resulting in an electrical short. Detroit Free Press, "Car safety recalls for August 27-Sept. 3," 4 Sep. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Nobody quite fit Campbell’s open-field ability on screens, jet sweeps and short out routes. Joel A. Erickson, The Indianapolis Star, "Colts might have found another undrafted gem in wide receiver DeMichael Harris," 22 Oct. 2020 Dyson ended up scoring the tying run, on a grounder to short with two outs that shortstop Jorge Polanco could have been quicker on. La Velle E. Neal Iii, Star Tribune, "Twins fall 4-3 to White Sox; Josh Donaldson ejected while hitting home run," 18 Sep. 2020 Laredo City Council on Tuesday voted to gather a coalition of leaders from fellow cities and counties that have been shorted in this funding in order to lobby Congress and Gov. Greg Abbott to amend the distribution calculation. Julia Wallace, Houston Chronicle, "Webb County receives only $37K in coronavirus relief funds from state government," 28 May 2020 The paychecks of about 54,000 people are still being shorted to repay past-due student loans, despite a federal moratorium that has been in place for six weeks, according to court documents filed late Monday by the Trump administration. Danielle Douglas-gabriel,, "Trump administration is still garnishing the wages of 54,000 student loan borrowers," 12 May 2020 Bearish bets in Wayfair were at $8.11 billion with 23.18 million shares shorted, or 38% of float, according to S3 data. Janet Freund,, "Wayfair Shares Rise to Record While Short Sellers Get Clobbered," 10 May 2020 If the college football season gets shorted or canceled altogether, what happens to funding for the non-revenue sports then? oregonlive, "Granting athletes in spring sports another season of eligibility creates other problems: Oregon track & field rundown," 31 Mar. 2020 Still, the gains that investors generate from short selling can quickly evaporate if the broader market or individual stocks that are heavily shorted start to rebound. Paul R. La Monica, CNN, "How some investors have profited from the stock market's huge losses," 31 Mar. 2020 The Thunder have essentially shorted the futures of three NBA teams. Ben Cohen, WSJ, "Russell Westbrook Plays for the Rockets. Why Not?," 12 July 2019

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


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


circa 1586, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1904, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for short


Middle English, from Old English sceort; akin to Old High German scurz short, Old Norse skortr lack

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Time Traveler for short

Time Traveler

The first known use of short was before the 12th century

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Statistics for short

Last Updated

9 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Short.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for short


How to pronounce short (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of short

 (Entry 1 of 4)

: extending a small distance from one end to the other end : having little length : not long
: not great in distance
: having little height : not tall



English Language Learners Definition of short (Entry 2 of 4)

: to or at a point that is not as far as expected or desired : to a point not reaching what is needed for something
: in a sudden manner
: for or during a short time



English Language Learners Definition of short (Entry 3 of 4)

: pants that end at or above the knees
: a short movie
British : a small amount of liquor that you drink quickly



English Language Learners Definition of short (Entry 4 of 4)

: to cause (something) to have a short circuit
: to stop working because of a short circuit


\ ˈshȯrt How to pronounce short (audio) \
shorter; shortest

Kids Definition of short

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : not long or tall short hair a short boy short stories
2 : not great in distance a short trip
3 : not lasting long : brief in time a short delay a short memory
4 : cut down to a brief length “Doc” is short for “doctor.”
5 : less than the usual or needed amount Fruit was in short supply. We met on short notice.
6 : having less than what is needed : not having enough I'm short of money. The team was short two players.
7 : not reaching far enough The throw was short.
8 : easily stirred up a short temper
9 : rudely brief I didn't mean to be short with you.
10 : of, relating to, or being one of the vowel sounds \ə, a, e, i, u̇\ and sometimes \ä\ and \ȯ\

Other Words from short

shortness noun



Kids Definition of short (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : with suddenness I stopped short.
2 : to or at a point that is not as far as expected or desired He threw the ball short.



Kids Definition of short (Entry 3 of 3)

1 shorts plural : pants that reach to or almost to the knees
2 shorts plural : short underpants
3 : something (as a movie) shorter than the usual or regular length



Legal Definition of short

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : treated or disposed of quickly in court the calendar for short causes
2 : having a short term short loans short leases
3a : not having goods or property that one has sold in anticipation of a fall in prices a seller who was short at the time of the sale
b : consisting of or relating to a sale of securities or commodities that the seller does not possess or has not contracted for at the time of the sale a short position — see also short sale 1 at sale
4 : not involving or providing a sufficient amount of money to cover a loan — see also short sale 2 at sale, short refinance



Legal Definition of short (Entry 2 of 2)

: by or as if by a short sale sold the stock short

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