\ 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 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
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)

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 department currently spends about $360,000 annually for dispatch and records systems, but an annual subscription service will cost $2.2 million, leaving the department’s current budget short $1.84 million. Tess Williams, Anchorage Daily News, "Anchorage voters will decide whether to fund body cameras for police. Here are questions and answers about Proposition 4.," 2 Apr. 2021 Earlier in the week each team got to take a short boat trip down by the River Walk. Michelle Gardner, The Arizona Republic, "Arizona's Adia Barnes excited about being part of Final Four history," 1 Apr. 2021 Another system emits a short interference signal if an imminent collision is detected, triggering a reflex in the human ear that can help reduce hearing loss in the event of an accident. Robert Ross, Robb Report, "Drive Review: Why These Two Mercedes SUVs Belong in the Same Garage," 1 Apr. 2021 Still, because of the short supply, vehicles are selling at a fast pace, said Jessica Caldwell, Edmunds’ executive director of insights. Jamie L. Lareau, Detroit Free Press, "GM reports first-quarter sales gain, record prices despite tight inventory," 1 Apr. 2021 Supervisors voted to remove a statue of a Confederate soldier outside its courthouse, which is in downtown Charlottesville, a short distance from the Lee statue., "Virginia Supreme Court clears the way for Charlottesville to take down statue of Robert E. Lee," 1 Apr. 2021 The couple was only able to find a two-bedroom condominium on such short notice, forcing them to split up their four foster children. Michael Lee, Washington Examiner, "Foster family forced to split up and move out of home to accommodate migrant children," 1 Apr. 2021 Late in the first quarter on a second-and-goal, the Browns sent Landry in short motion. Ellis L. Williams, cleveland, "Why the Browns’ Jarvis Landry is still one of the best slot receivers in the NFL -- Film Review," 31 Mar. 2021 Alcantara is the short version of the Marlins’ growth. Dave Hyde,, "Hyde: Can we capitalize ‘loanDepot park’ if the Marlins grow up this year? | Commentary," 31 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb His first game action since Feb. 28 with Memphis was short-lived. Jeff Mcdonald, San Antonio Express-News, "The triple take: Spurs 120, Kings 106," 31 Mar. 2021 The momentum, though, was short-lived, as Verhaeghe netted his second of the night at 12:11. Helene St. James, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Red Wings' momentum completely stomped in 4-1 loss at Florida Panthers," 31 Mar. 2021 However, joyful video calls home to celebrate the arrival of a new family member were short lived. Sean Coppack And Shane O'donoghue, CNN, "Golfer Joaquin Niemann helps raise $2.1 million to save his infant cousin's life," 30 Mar. 2021 The run of bad news might have seemed, at first, to be short-lived. Hilda Bastian, The Atlantic, "A Terrible Conundrum for the AstraZeneca Vaccine," 30 Mar. 2021 Turns out Alabama's joy was short-lived as the Bruins won 88-78 in overtime. David Harten, The Indianapolis Star, "Alabama's Alex Reese sends Sweet 16 game vs. UCLA to overtime with last-second 3-pointer," 29 Mar. 2021 Goran Dragic’s previous stint as Nemanja Bjelica’s teammate may have been short-lived, but the Slovenian guard assured that Bjelica will bring more to the Miami Heat than 3-point shooting. Khobi Price,, "Heat’s Goran Dragic sees Nemanja Bjelica as ‘so much more’ than just a shooter," 28 Mar. 2021 The National Weather Service warns this dry weather will be short-lived. oregonlive, "Portland metro Tuesday weather: Morning clouds, then sun; rain returns Wednesday," 23 Mar. 2021 The union’s organizing campaign at Cedar Point was short-lived, as officials soon concluded that there was not enough support among the workers to conduct an election. Adam Liptak, New York Times, "Clash Between Union Campaigns and Private Property at Supreme Court," 21 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun According to documents filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the fire can start as a result of an electrical short in ABS module; the fire can start both while the sedans are parked or being driven. Colin Beresford, Car and Driver, "Hyundai Recalls 95,000 Genesis Sedans, G80 for Possible Fire Risk," 18 Mar. 2021 In September, a new short from Atlantique director Mati Diop called In My Room, premiered on YouTube. Alison Willmore, Vulture, "A Year of Watching Movies About Being Stuck at Home (While Being Stuck at Home)," 17 Mar. 2021 The fire can result from an electrical short, and before owners bring their vehicles in to dealers to have the part replaced, Kia says the vehicles should be parked outside. Colin Beresford, Car and Driver, "Kia Recalls 308,000 Vehicles for Fire Risk, Tells Owners to Park Outside," 9 Mar. 2021 This is a lot like short-selling in the stock market. Mitch Albom, Detroit Free Press, "Mitch Albom: GameStop drama has no real winner, only proves both sides can play the game," 1 Feb. 2021 In certain cases, an electrical short may occur which would render the unit inoperable. Detroit Free Press, "Car recalls for January 14-21," 22 Jan. 2021 Town & Country has this exclusive first look at the film's trailer; the entire short will be available to stream beginning January 15. Adam Rathe, Town & Country, "An Exclusive First Look at the New Documentary What Would Sophia Loren Do?," 14 Jan. 2021 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 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Public health officials are still working to short up public confidence in the coronavirus vaccine and combat lingering hesitancy that could prevent California from reaching full community immunity against the virus. Alexei Koseff, San Francisco Chronicle, "Newsom gets his Johnson & Johnson COVID shot as Californians over 50 become eligible," 1 Apr. 2021 As a result, the company took a reputational hit, QAnon followers attempted to short the stock, and Wayfair CEO Niraj Shah was personally targeted. Lisa Kaplan, Fortune, "Disinformation attacks are spreading. Here are 4 keys to protecting your company," 8 Mar. 2021 When investors short an ETF, shares are created by specialized investment firms known as authorized participants solely for the purpose of lending. Michael Wursthorn, WSJ, "Cathie Wood’s ARK Faces Test as Tech Rally Cools," 8 Mar. 2021 Olson also hit a sharp grounder to short in his first at-bat Monday. Matt Kawahara, San Francisco Chronicle, "A's spring training observations: Chapman nears return to third; Reed throws out another," 1 Mar. 2021 To short a company, a seller typically borrows a stock and then sells it, with the intention of buying the stock back at a later date, once the price drops. Dallas News, "GameStop’s wild trading day: Massive price spike, stunning drop, double-digit bounceback," 25 Jan. 2021 These suits were notoriously unreliable, and would often short out mid-flight, leaving pilots to shiver. Kate Knibbs, Wired, "My Quest to Survive Quarantine—in Heated Clothes," 12 Jan. 2021 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

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

3 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Short.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Apr. 2021.

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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

Nglish: Translation of short for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of short for Arabic Speakers

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