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

This is because not only is the camera’s output limited by the doodle data, but because that data is itself only a visual shorthand. James Vincent, The Verge, "Take a doodle, not a photograph, with this AI-powered camera," 6 July 2018 And those kind of physical actions, those practical learning experiences, had a great effect on creating a shorthand for us. Bill Goodykoontz, azcentral, "'Leave No Trace' star Ben Foster: 'You can fake chemistry'," 29 June 2018 The new charges add further insight into the brains behind the Fyre Festival, the purportedly luxury concert in the Bahamas that has become shorthand for scams in the age of social media. Eric Levenson, CNN, "Fyre Festival organizer led scam ticket scheme while out on bail, prosecutors say," 13 June 2018 The bill has become a shorthand for the internal battles in state Democratic politics, with leading statewide candidates and party activists still arguing whether to embrace the plan or start over. John Myers,, "Toni Atkins prepares to be first woman to have held the top job in both the California state Senate and Assembly," 21 Mar. 2018 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

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

10 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

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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