short·​hand | \ ˈshȯrt-ˌhand How to pronounce shorthand (audio) \

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

Yet even in Spider-Verse — a genuinely wonderful and magical movie — Miles’s presence in a magnet school is an easy shorthand for a talented kid from a working-class background pulling himself up by his bootstraps. Emily Todd Vanderwerff, Vox, "Spider-Man: Far From Home turns a class-conscious hero into a tech bro," 3 July 2019 The video clip went viral, giving Hickenlooper’s candidacy a shorthand, or the possibility of one: the Democrat willing to make the case against socialism. Benjamin Wallace-wells, The New Yorker, "John Hickenlooper’s War on Socialism," 1 July 2019 Surviving is shorthand for doing other jobs to pay the bills and take care of the myriad obligations of daily life. Julie Hinds, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit artists get 'life-changing' $25k grants through Kresge Arts," 19 June 2019 Our concept of Middle Eastern food in the area is often shorthand for Lebanese cuisine, but Anani wants to expand our palates. Mark Kurlyandchik, Detroit Free Press, "Our restaurant critic's 12 favorite metro Detroit dishes from the first half of 2019," 28 June 2019 But there are also some issues that could dampen the rollout that’s just starting. 5G is shorthand for the fifth-generation model networks. Larry Magid, The Mercury News, "Magid: 5G brings opportunities but also risks," 27 June 2019 Those once-niche ingredients for health nuts—non-dairy milks, kale, and avocados—have come to form a sort of gustatory shorthand for The Good Life, thanks to Instagram. Sean Santiago, Vogue, "A New Kind of Breakfast Club Is Creating Community Over Gourmet Eggs and Toast," 19 June 2018 Like initials carved in a tree, ER = EPR, as the new idea is known, is a shorthand that joins two ideas proposed by Einstein in 1935. Quanta Magazine, "Wormholes Untangle a Black Hole Paradox," 24 Apr. 2015 In one neighborhood in San Salvador, MS-13 allegedly banned DC shoes because the letters could be interpreted as shorthand for dieciocho, eighteen. Daniel Castro, Harper's magazine, "The Truce," 10 June 2019

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

18 Jul 2019

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on shorthand

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with shorthand

Spanish Central: Translation of shorthand

Nglish: Translation of shorthand for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about shorthand

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).


an act or instance of editing or removing

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