\ 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 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)

transitive + intransitive

1 : 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 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 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 shortish (audio) \ adjective
shortness \ ˈshȯrt-​nəs How to pronounce shortness (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 need to implement a plan in a very short period of time will require us to manage this effort in real time. Phoebe Wall Howard, Detroit Free Press, "UAW, Ford rapidly assembling team to make respirators at Flat Rock instead of Mustang," 1 Apr. 2020 Carnival’s shareholders might want to put that long-term customer feedback alongside the short-term gain of all those stock buybacks. Los Angeles Times, "Column: No coronavirus refund but credit for a future cruise? Are you kidding?," 31 Mar. 2020 Nixon’s short-term electoral calculus had longer-term economic consequences for the American people. Christopher W. Shaw, Harper's Magazine, "The Money Question," 30 Mar. 2020 Players coming back from even short periods off the court often say that the only way to prepare to play NBA basketball is by playing NBA basketball. Jonathan Feigen,, "Training days: NBA tries to help players stay in shape during layoff," 29 Mar. 2020 In the meantime, don’t expect any IRL events in the short term. Peter Kiefer, The Hollywood Reporter, "Joe Biden Relying on "Big Hollywood Bundlers" as Pandemic Upends Campaign," 27 Mar. 2020 In 2008 a run on short-term debt securities caused a liquidity shortage. Daniel Tenreiro, National Review, "The Fed’s Unprecedented Crisis Response," 27 Mar. 2020 After a short caution period, the race went green with seven laps to go. Scott Horner, Indianapolis Star, "Indy 500 postponement: Need an Indy 500 fix? Here are 5 great moments in race history," 26 Mar. 2020 Using that formula, over a short period of time, employees will accrue a substantial stake in these companies. Christopher Mackin, The New Republic, "Toward an Economic Democracy," 25 Mar. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb While economists debate whether this recession will be short-lived or sustained (see Briefing), bosses the world over already see mayhem. The Economist, "Covid carnage Much of global commerce has ground to a halt," 21 Mar. 2020 That increases hope, although usually the fix is short-lived. Everett Worthington, The Conversation, "How hope can keep you healthier and happier," 18 Mar. 2020 One team’s thrill of victory was about to be short-lived and another team’s agony of defeat was about to be unnecessary. Louisville Courier Journal, The Courier-Journal, "Courier Journal staff's behind-the-scenes stories of covering a global pandemic's local impact," 15 Mar. 2020 Some economists expect the hard times to be short-lived, with a resilient recovery toward the end of the year. Phoebe Wall Howard, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan businesses brace for challenges as coronavirus hits home," 14 Mar. 2020 But their happiness proves short-lived, as anyone familiar with the hit song that provided the film's title will likely already know. Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter, "'I Still Believe': Film Review," 11 Mar. 2020 In a note to investors on Monday, Goldman Sachs' top U.S. equity strategist, David Kostin, said the firm's baseline assumption is that the coronavirus outbreak is widespread but short-lived. Stephen Gandel, CBS News, "3 market-panic signals point to global coronavirus recession," 9 Mar. 2020 The last time Heaney had a clean bill of health on opening day was 2016 — but that was short-lived. Maria Torres, Los Angeles Times, "Angels’ opening-day starter Andrew Heaney has ‘all the confidence in the world’," 8 Mar. 2020 While his bid was short-lived, Patrick was seen as a fast-rising star in the Democratic Party that could potentially challenge Biden's support within the African-American community. John Verhovek, ABC News, "Biden builds on moderate coalition, collecting endorsements from former 2020 candidates," 6 Mar. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun On 15 April 2019, an electrical short was the likely spark for a blaze that threatened to burn the 850-year-old cathedral to the ground. Christa Lesté-lasserre, Science | AAAS, "Scientists are leading Notre Dame’s restoration—and probing mysteries laid bare by its devastating fire," 12 Mar. 2020 In a black tank-top and gray shorts, 35-year-old center Joakim Noah finished a drive to the basket Tuesday afternoon inside Chase Center before putting his hands on his knees and inhaling deeply. Andrew Greif, Los Angeles Times, "Joakim Noah continues to prepare for duty with Clippers," 11 Mar. 2020 Harris, who was wearing Telfar running shorts over fishnets with a pair of Mary Janes that Telfar had designed for Converse, sprang up and joined them. Emily Witt, The New Yorker, "Telfar Clemens’s Mass Appeal," 9 Mar. 2020 Alex Blandino was played 11 games (six starts) at short in the majors. John Fay,, "Freddy Galvis injury points to Cincinnati Reds' lack of proven depth at shortstop," 5 Mar. 2020 That’s when Drummond asked Willie Williams III, the assistant equipment manager, for a few shorts. Chris Fedor, cleveland, "Andre Drummond still trying to find his way after ‘starting over’ with Cleveland Cavaliers," 1 Mar. 2020 Instead, go for something that won’t hold on to water, like KGB’s moisture-wicking running shorts (bonus: the waistband doubles as a pocket for your phone, keys, or credit cards) or Outdoor Voices' Relay Shorts. Madison Flager, Condé Nast Traveler, "Beach Vacation Packing List: What Not to Forget for Your Next Getaway," 27 Feb. 2020 The fests, including the Dallas International Film Festival, Festival de Cine Latino Americano, Q Cinema, 3 Stars Jewish Cinema and Women Texas Film Festival, will present 11 feature films and 26 shorts over several days in Dallas. Shannon Sutlief, Dallas News, "11 fun things to do the week of Feb. 28-March 5 in Dallas-Fort Worth," 26 Feb. 2020 This is certainly the place for New Zealanders craving a white Christmas while their neighbors break out the barbecues and board shorts. Emily Matchar, Smithsonian Magazine, "Eight of the World’s Coolest Indoor Snow Parks," 26 Feb. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The emergency powers, which last 30 days and can be shorted or extended by the city council, received criticism by the local chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. Tim Pearce, Washington Examiner, "Albuquerque City Council approves emergency powers to address coronavirus," 18 Mar. 2020 Early in Tesla's history as a company, shorting was more popular than today. Erik Sherman, Fortune, "Short-Sellers Took on Tesla and Elon Musk in 2019—and Lost Their Shirts," 10 Jan. 2020 The Bulls’ Ryan Arcidiacono shorted a shot, Coby White’s driving layup attempt caught the front iron, and Arcidiacono threw the ball to the Grizzlies’ De’Anthony Melton while saving a high pass from going out of bounds. Phil Thompson,, "Bulls hold off the Grizzlies 106-99 to win consecutive games for the 1st time this season," 3 Dec. 2019 The Easter Bunny short a limb or two thanks to a skeletal T. Rex. Globe Staff,, "Inflatable cartoon monsters feel like ‘a form of protest’ at South End’s Cyclorama," 8 Aug. 2019 The percentage of float shorted was 24.1%, according to Morningstar. Erik Sherman, Fortune, "How should investors value Virgin Galactic? Space plus speculation makes for a tough equation to solve," 27 Feb. 2020 Officials estimate they've been shorted billions over the past decade for school capital. Lily Altavena, azcentral, "Superintendent Kathy Hoffman urges lawmakers to fund pre-K, pay teachers more," 3 Feb. 2020 And whereas buying a stock has limited downside, shorting can lead to unlimited losses. Michael Taylor,, "Taylor: Tesla stock — Zoom! Zoom!," 7 Feb. 2020 The suit, filed in 2017, claims that the state has shorted districts $260 million annually for repairs. Maria Polletta, azcentral, "Gov. Doug Ducey unveils $12.3B state spending plan with boost for police, schools," 17 Jan. 2020

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

4 Apr 2020

Cite this Entry

“Short.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Apr. 2020.

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on short

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for short

Spanish Central: Translation of short

Nglish: Translation of short for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of short for Arabic Speakers

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