\ 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
(2) : unstressed
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
8 : shortstop
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 verb

3 : to sell (a security) short in expectation of a fall in prices

intransitive verb

: short-circuit often used with out in U.S. English … 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

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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

little, low, low-lying, low-slung, sawed-off

Synonyms: Adverb

abruptly, suddenly

Synonyms: Verb

beat, bilk, bleed, cheat, chisel, chouse, con, cozen, defraud, diddle, do, do in, euchre, fiddle, fleece, flimflam, gaff, gyp, hose [slang], hustle, mulct, nobble [British slang], pluck, ream, rip off, rook, screw, shake down, shortchange, skin, skunk, squeeze, stick, stiff, sting, sucker, swindle, thimblerig, victimize

Antonyms: Adjective

altitudinous, high, lofty, tall, towering

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Examples of short in a Sentence


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.


He threw the ball short. the bicyclist ahead of me unexpectedly pulled up short and I unavoidably plowed into him


The short before the main movie was very funny.


The lightning shorted the TV. The hair dryer must have shorted.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Equally spectacular views are available at Coconuts, the coastal cliff-side restaurant at The Reefs Resort & Club, just a short drive from the aforementioned beaches. Kelly Vaughan,, "Bermuda i n 72 hours: Yes, really," 17 Sep. 2019 In her down time, Connolly often wrote short features for the Union. San Diego Union-Tribune, "From the Archives: Maureen Connolly worked as a cub reporter when she wasn’t winning world tennis titles," 17 Sep. 2019 Graduates David Gbenda and Justin Hull scored for the Cougars, who ultimately fell a point-after kick short. Jack Marrion, Houston Chronicle, "Cinco Ranch football hits the road for non-district finale against Cedar Park," 17 Sep. 2019 Before, scientists mostly observed the region for short snippets—typically during summer. Shannon Hall, Scientific American, "Marooned: Researchers Will Freeze Their Ship into Arctic Ocean Ice for a Year," 17 Sep. 2019 Out of that experience came the short documentary Nieve en el portal: El niño que se fue regresa un artista (Snow on the Portal: The boy who left returns an artist). Jordan Riefe, The Hollywood Reporter, "Artist Enrique Martinez Celaya and Fiancee Erica Packer Host Opening of New L.A. Show," 16 Sep. 2019 The short answer: three to seven days, according to Vanessa Raabe, MD, an infectious disease specialist at NYU Langone. Maggie O'neill,, "How Long Does the Flu Last?," 16 Sep. 2019 Since last season, Payton has used him as a change-up quarterback, typically in short-yardage and goal-line situations. Jarrett Bell, USA TODAY, "Opinion: Roethlisberger, Brees injuries shake up NFL playoff races, force hard look at the future," 16 Sep. 2019 On Sunday, the 15th anniversary of his dad’s death, Mike scored the winning run against the Marlins on a gutsy dash home on a short wild pitch in the eighth inning. Henry Schulman,, "Giants’ Yastrzemski goes home to Boston remembering his best coach: His dad," 16 Sep. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

The excavations on the Heath in 1894 were short-lived: Read swiftly determined that there were, in fact, no remains of the Icenic queen, or anyone else, in the mound. Rebecca Mead, The New Yorker, "The Brexit Warnings to Be Found in Sheep Grazing in a London Park," 3 Sep. 2019 The outrage brands face is generally short-lived, and rarely are the products removed from circulation. Sangeeta Singh-kurtz, Quartzy, "Governments are taking cultural appropriation to court," 28 Aug. 2019 Unfortunately, the glistening yellow shadow was short-lived. Marci Robin, Allure, "Lizzo's Sparkly Yellow Eye Shadow Stole the Show at the VMAs," 27 Aug. 2019 The moment was short-lived, a quick emotional flash in a high-stakes match. Julia Poe, Pro Soccer USA, "Orlando City’s growth is ‘night and day’ as team chases playoff spot," 23 Aug. 2019 The Associated Press Top 25 ranking, the program’s first since 2013 and the reward for a feel-good 2-0 run, was short-lived. C.j. Doon,, "College football overreaction index, Week 3: Same old Maryland?; ACC is at the bottom of the Power 5," 16 Sep. 2019 But a rally in riskier assets on positive, or even neutral, trade news may prove short-lived. Julia Horowitz, CNN, "The trade war is quiet. Smart money sees a chance to take risks," 11 Sep. 2019 As for the American support, Daniel B. Shapiro, the former ambassador to Israel under President Obama, warned that any celebration of a Trump recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the West Bank could be short-lived. New York Times, "Netanyahu, Facing Tough Israel Election, Pledges to Annex a Third of West Bank," 10 Sep. 2019 Manchester City's interest in Inter defender Milan Skriniar may well be short-lived, after head coach Antonio Conte ruled out selling the Slovakian in January., "Man City Dealt Blow as Antonio Conte Rules Out Selling Key Defender in January Window," 9 Sep. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Vanessa Hudgens also played around with black on black textures by pairing a black lace bralette, pair of shorts and bomber jacket to the Carolina Herrera runway. Kristin Corpuz, Billboard, "NYFW 2019's Most Wearable Trends -- and the Stars Who Rocked Them With Ease," 12 Sep. 2019 Shayk wore a pair of bright red shorts, with a blazer featuring a dagger-through-the-heart motif. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Irina Shayk and Gigi Hadid Had a Moment at Jeremy Scott's NYFW Show," 7 Sep. 2019 The Spanish singer Rosalía also made a cameo in New York in typically flamboyant style, this time wearing a Gen Z-leaning graphic zip-up and a checked pair of short-shorts with oversize platform thong sandals. Vogue, "The Best Fashion Instagrams of the Week: Cardi B, Irina Shayk, and More," 7 Sep. 2019 One of Hillenburg’s CalArts shorts was Wormholes — a swirling electrical storm of a cartoon with the look of a Saul Steinberg illustration come to life. Darryn King, Longreads, "The Young Man and the Sea Sponge," 13 Aug. 2019 There was no shortage of news in the first week of training camp, from Joshua Kelley’s injury and Chris Steele’s eligibility to Mike Leach analysis of, um, cargo shorts. Jon Wilner, The Mercury News, "Hotline newsletter: NCAA sanctions imposed, Petersen blocks Yankoff, camp updates, iconic moments and more," 9 Aug. 2019 For their part, Sofia and Leonor changed out of their pants in favor of some summer-appropriate shorts. Sarah Madaus, Town & Country, "Queen Letizia Just Stepped Out In The Perfect Summer Jumpsuit," 2 Aug. 2019 But that’s usually the case in the first day of shorts. Chris Solari, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan State football optimistic, chasing a better offense as practice begins," 1 Aug. 2019 Shoplifting: Crocker Park An employee of the Eddie Bauer store called police at 7:49 p.m. July 13 to report a man stole a stack of shorts and shirts and left toward Main Street. Bruce Geiselman,, "Suspect faces methamphetamine charge: Westlake Police Blotter," 21 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Val Cotter also accuses the administrator of shorting him more than $5 million in distributions from the estate. Patrick Danner,, "Cotter heirs battle over San Antonio real estate tycoon’s estate," 12 Sep. 2019 The money would go toward buying a new body for the electronic sculpture that looks just like the old one, which has often shorted out and been taped together in more than 10 years just outside Tavern at the Point. Domenica Bongiovanni, Indianapolis Star, "Mass Ave's electronic 'Ann Dancing' needs $262,800. Here's what's behind that number.," 4 June 2019 Smith allowed a double to Josh Phegley — after a video review — with two outs in the ninth, but got Marcus Semien to ground out to short to pick up his 30th save of the season. Curtis Pashelka, The Mercury News, "Evan Longoria reaches milestone, plays hero in Giants’ win over A’s," 25 Aug. 2019 Torres grounded out to short on a slow roller that permitted Judge and LeMahieu to advance to second and third base, respectively. Los Angeles Times, "Column: Dodgers’ humbling loss to Yankees reveals potential woes," 23 Aug. 2019 Conversely, the team’s been struck with injuries and uncertainty at tight end (an important spot in new OC John DeFilippo’s scheme), and still needs to short out its tackle spots. Albert Breer,, "32 Notes From 32 NFL Training Camps," 22 Aug. 2019 Cincinnati center fielder Sammy Byrd chased down two long drives to deep center field and Myers made a running catch of Al Todd’s blooper to short left field in the seventh. Mark Schmetzer,, "Top games in Cincinnati Reds history No. 15: First night game at Crosley Field," 29 Aug. 2019 Whatever the sins of the past, shorting 600,000 mostly poor kids at a time when poverty has spilled onto our streets is not the smartest plan. Steve Lopez,, "Welcome to Garcetti’s L.A.: heaps of trash, hordes of rats and very little leadership," 8 June 2019 Outside attorneys are accused of engineering a lawsuit and subsequent settlement over the billing errors that shorted ratepayers. Dakota Smith, Los Angeles Times, "FBI probe at DWP includes scrutiny on cybersecurity," 10 Aug. 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 transitive 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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Dictionary Entries near short





short account


short and

Statistics for short

Last Updated

4 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for short

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

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More Definitions for short



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

Comments on short

What made you want to look up short? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


suitable to be imparted to the public

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