\ 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

Zaragoza wore a black and white-striped jail uniform, with his dark hair cut short and sporting a full beard. David Anderson,, "Bel Air teen found guilty of killing his mother with a hammer sentenced to 15 years," 8 July 2019 However, this sentimental moment is cut short when the Russians return and inject their prisoners with a mysterious drug. Kathryn Lindsay,, "R29 Binge Club: Stranger Things Season 3," 5 July 2019 Kyoto 2 would concede that efforts to tackle climate change had fallen short, and would endorse the use of a sunshade as a way to give countries more time to reduce their emissions. The Economist, "Reaching for the sunshade: July 2030," 4 July 2019 But the 21-year-old’s future was cut short when she was struck by a hit-and-run driver while walking on a grassy shoulder in a neighborhood near campus. Tess Sheets,, "Mom of London Harrell, UCF student killed in hit-and-run, hopes her generosity will live on in others," 3 July 2019 But the insurance program the company offers to couriers falls short. Martha Pskowski, The Verge, "Deaths and injuries don’t slow Uber Eats’ rapid expansion in Mexico," 3 July 2019 But with Carter sidelined, perhaps the most important player is Chandler Hutchison, who also had his rookie seasons cut short by injury. K.c. Johnson,, "Wendell Carter Jr., needing a surgical procedure to repair a core muscle injury, will miss summer league," 2 July 2019 Funding was cut short, however, and the device never left Earth. Chelsea Gohd, Scientific American, "The Space Station May Soon Smell like Fresh-Baked Cookies," 2 July 2019 The Windies fell 23 runs short, according to the BBC. Essence, "Rihanna Cheering On The West Indies At The Cricket World Cup Makes Us Wanna Watch Cricket," 2 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

One of them, Carmen Lares, a single mother, first lost her job this year, then lost her 3-month-old baby to malnutrition at the start of April as food ran short. New York Times, "She Was Duped and Shipped to a Brothel at 16. Then the Boat Sank.," 10 July 2019 This debt, known as commercial paper, can have terms as short as a single night. Konrad Putzier, WSJ, "Real-Estate Companies Amass Cheaper—but Riskier—Short-Term Debt," 9 July 2019 In response, traders dumped short-dated bonds and sent the yield on two-year debt surging by 11 basis points, or 0.11 percentage points, to 1.87% at the time of writing. Eshe Nelson, Quartz, "A strong US jobs report puts the markets, the Fed, and the data at odds," 5 July 2019 But Sweden cut Canada’s run short as Sinclair and her team suffered a heartbreaking 1-0 loss in the World Cup Round of 16. Jamie Goldberg,, "Players begin to return to Portland Thorns from 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup," 4 July 2019 Smith made a diving 35-yard touchdown catch during a comeback attempt that came up short at Lincoln Financial Field. Aaron Wilson, Houston Chronicle, "Texans' Deshaun Watson, receivers to hold informal throwing sessions," 2 July 2019 Often when money for supplies run short, teachers and students have to make up the difference. Colleen Cronin,, "Las Vegas Officials Approve Plan Allowing Parking Tickets to Be Paid by Donating School Supplies," 1 July 2019 Cooper Maniing, the older brother of Peyton and Eli, had a similar diagnosis which cut his career short at Ole Miss. Scott Springer,, "Northwestern's Jeremy Larkin offers up life lessons to young football recruits," 1 July 2019 America is already short more than 1 million family caregivers—family members caring for those in need versus paid caregivers— and as the Boomers age, that shortage is estimated to grow to 4 million by 2030. Jay Newton-small, Time, "The First 2020 Democratic Primary Debate Will Almost Certainly Skip A Key Healthcare Issue," 26 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

In the first of the two mother-son shots, Saint, who’s wearing a green and black shirt with a pair of black shorts, sits on his mother’s lap as the pair shoot the camera some serious looks. Maria Pasquini,, "Kim Kardashian Praises Son Saint’s Cheeks in Sweet Mother-Son Photos: ‘I Want to Eat Them!’," 8 July 2019 Anime News Network reported the news out of the Anime Expo yesterday, and studio Sunrise has released a couple of short, related teaser trailers. Adi Robertson, The Verge, "Akira is getting a 4K remaster and a new anime series," 5 July 2019 For anyone who doesn't like patterns, solid khaki shorts are available. Houston Chronicle, "These looks will let you feel and look cool under the sun," 27 June 2019 Balladares was still wearing his tactical vest and a beige pair of shorts. Bree Burkitt,, "A frantic call, a final standoff: 'Please don't hurt him. He just needs help'," 19 June 2019 Featuring the same shirt as Harry, and an identical pair of blue shorts, little Louis was adorably grouchy throughout his very first Trooping the Colour. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Prince Louis Copied One of Prince Harry's Outfits for His Trooping the Colour Debut," 8 June 2019 Here are 34 running shorts to help get you through your longest training runs and races. Emilia Benton, SELF, "34 Pairs of Running Shorts Marathoners Swear By," 28 Apr. 2019 But there were many days when William’s arrival went unnoticed, and finally my wardrobe was reduced to one pair of shorts and two shirts. National Geographic, "Jane Goodall’s original tale of chimpanzees still astonishes today," 17 Apr. 2019 Throwback Thursday Courtesy The right biker shorts can be flattering and hold everything in—no joke! Zanna Roberts Rassi, Marie Claire, "How to Style Long Shorts," 15 Apr. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Her news outlet must decide whether to short its readers on coverage of a gubernatorial candidate on a matter of principle, or capitulate to the candidate’s insulting demands. Monica Hesse, Washington Post, "The ‘Billy Graham Rule’ doesn’t honor your wife. It demeans her — and all women.," 11 July 2019 Tyler Saladino moved to from third base to short, and catcher Manny Pina came in to play third. Todd Rosiak, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "The Brewers' Orlando Arcia is injured and Keston Hiura shaken up in a frightening collision," 6 July 2019 Photo: Utrecht/Action Press/ZUMA Press L. Asher Corson, a cryptocurrency analyst at Chicago proprietary trading firm Consolidated Trading, said traders who want to short bitcoin don’t have many choices besides CME. Alexander Osipovich, WSJ, "Is There a Big Short in Bitcoin?," 25 June 2019 Colorado’s four runs in the ninth came on five hits, one of those hits awarded on a botched pop-up to short left and another coming on a misplayed liner to center. Tim Reynolds, The Seattle Times, "Blackmon has 3 hits, Rockies 2-hit Marlins 6-1," 29 Mar. 2019 Last summer the city council approved payouts to the 29 surviving sanitation strikers to make up for circumstances that shorted their retirement accounts. Wendi C. Thomas, National Geographic, "Where the Streets Have MLK's Name," 12 June 2019 The company has paid an $84 million settlement to trucking companies shorted in the scam, and a $92 million penalty to the U.S. Justice Department. John Caniglia,, "Statute of limitations in Pilot Flying J fraud case draws near," 2 Feb. 2018 Objects can roll around in flight, shorting out electrical equipment and damaging other equipment. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Air Force Halts Tanker Deliveries After Finding Planes Are Full of Trash," 4 Mar. 2019 Yelich took a changeup to run the count to 1–2, and then grounded out to short on a four-seamer. Michael Beller,, "By Adding a Cutter to His Arsenal, Cardinals Ace Carlos Martinez Is Even More Dangerous," 5 Apr. 2018

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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Learn More about short

Dictionary Entries near short





short account


short and

Statistics for short

Last Updated

12 Jul 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).


food or victuals

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