short·hand | \ ˈshȯrt-ˌhand \

Definition of shorthand 

1 : a method of writing rapidly by substituting characters, abbreviations, or symbols for letters, sounds, words, or phrases : stenography

2 : something likened to shorthand especially in providing rapid or abbreviated communication or representation stereotype and cliché serve a purpose as a form of shorthand —Stephanie Ericsson headline shorthand

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Other words from shorthand

shorthand adjective

Examples of shorthand in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Stalingrad, the name of the city on the Volga river between 1925 and 1961, is now often shorthand for one of the most violent battles in history. Pan Pylas,, "Volgograd, the city once called Stalingrad, provides the proper perspective at World Cup," 20 June 2018 At last week’s elections conference, the talk was about network protocols, firewalls and RVAs — shorthand for risk and vulnerability assessments. Steve Bousquet, miamiherald, "Florida's election experts still worried about keeping hackers out | Miami Herald," 27 May 2018 The show that everyone in town rejected is the one everyone invokes to get their ideas greenlit, a show that is shorthand for once-in-a-generation originality. David Burton, Esquire, "Donald Glover Has Always Been Ten Steps Ahead," 7 Feb. 2018 No, no, not that Oz with the wizard and Dorothy—although, the room did have a dreamlike otherworldliness—but Down Under Oz, the shorthand for Anna Plunkett and Luke Sales’s home country, Australia. Steff Yotka, Vogue, "Romance Was Born Brings Its “Kinda Couture” to Paris," 3 July 2018 My mother was taught to type, to learn shorthand and to wear clothes that pleased her male bosses. Deborah Levy, The Cut, "The Cost of Living," 1 July 2018 In recent years, Rimowa has become shorthand for a certain kind of worldly world traveler. Sam Schube, GQ, "Magazine," 16 June 2018 So instead of arguing, here’s a tip, which uses the shorthand ABC. Sally Kohn, Time, "I Was a Liberal Who Worked at Fox News. Here's What That Taught Me About Arguing Politics," 10 Apr. 2018 The shorthand, convenient knowledge that Nadal is a clay-courter and not a grass-courter? Jon Wertheim,, "Five Thoughts From Day Two at Wimbledon," 3 July 2018

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

1636, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for shorthand

Last Updated

12 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for shorthand

The first known use of shorthand was in 1636

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More Definitions for shorthand



English Language Learners Definition of shorthand

: a method of writing quickly by using symbols or abbreviations for sounds, words, or phrases

: a short or quick way of showing or saying something

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Comments on shorthand

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


to deposit or conceal in a hiding place

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