\ 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
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
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 + intransitive

1 : 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 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 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 shortish (audio) \ adjective
shortness \ ˈshȯrt-​nəs How to pronounce shortness (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 Dahlin was allowed to leave segregation for a short time to talk with other inmates and a reporter about their experiences. Anchorage Daily News, "Her addiction landed her in a prison segregation wing. The man she says abused her lives free.," 20 June 2020 Cook was rushed to Mease Countryside Hospital where he was pronounced dead a short time later. Fox News, "Florida man charged with manslaughter after shooting friend with rifle," 20 June 2020 In a relatively short time, Donaghey has piled up an impressive list of credits. Michael Granberry, Dallas News, "After its initial manic success, Dallas film company Cinestate now faces a major controversy," 18 June 2020 Before this, Bethel, about 30 miles east of Cincinnati, was known mostly as the home of Ulysses S. Grant's father, though the nation’s 18th president and commander of Union forces during the Civil War only lived here a short time. Dan Horn, USA TODAY, "'It got ugly': What happened when Black Lives Matter protests came to small town Ohio," 15 June 2020 He was pronounced dead a short time after first responders arrived. Lydia Gerike, The Indianapolis Star, "Indianapolis man dies Saturday at Cataract Falls park," 14 June 2020 Detroit suburb a short time, others who have lived there more than four decades — said Shelide needs to be removed. Christina Hall, Detroit Free Press, "Shelby Twp. residents say police chief must go for tweets that glorify police brutality," 13 June 2020 For the first time all season!) was pretty Dee-centric in that an epic blindside revealed how many enemies she's made in a short time. Sydney Bucksbaum,, "The Challenge: Total Madness recap: An epic blindside shakes up the game," 11 June 2020 Your interaction with the front of house will be a short time. The Washington Post, "Ask Tom: Dining during the pandemic," 10 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb The pair’s spat was short-lived and Pelosi has endorsed Ocasio-Cortez’s re-election bid. Christal Hayes, USA TODAY, "Ocasio-Cortez faces first re-election test as progressives work to maintain their movement," 23 June 2020 Other candidates at No. 83 were either too short-lived or little-used as Browns to make our list. Scott Patsko, cleveland, "Is Webster Slaughter the best to wear No. 84? Ranking the best Browns to wear each jersey number: 81-85," 23 June 2020 His numbers have inched up since then, but the Latino vote remains a cause for concern, considering the fact that Hillary Clinton fell short against Trump in the 2016 election even with 66 percent Latino support. Gilbert Garcia,, "Garcia: DACA court decision was a major gift to Biden," 20 June 2020 Boyd went out with a bang, scoring 28 points in the second half of the finals, but Union’s comeback attempt fell short in an 82-70 loss to Lafayette Central Catholic. Matthew Glenesk, The Indianapolis Star, "Indiana By The Numbers: Who wore it best? No. 11," 15 June 2020 As in Harlem, federal efforts to revitalize Watts proved short-lived, largely ineffectual, and under-resourced. National Geographic, "How will the protests end? History tells us much depends on how government responds," 12 June 2020 Such volatility means advantages in the electoral college can be short-lived. The Economist, "Model voters Meet our US 2020 election forecasting model," 11 June 2020 The Fuel have shown promise against title contenders, but fell short in those matches. Sean Collins, Dallas News, "Q&A: OWL caster ‘MrX’ anticipates a back-and-forth match between Dallas Fuel and Florida Mayhem," 10 June 2020 Oil prices have shot up from the historic depths hit during the coronavirus lockdown, but analysts and traders worry the rebound has been too sharp and could prove short-lived. Ryan Dezember, WSJ, "Oil Prices Defy Supply-Demand Fundamentals," 10 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Boris Johnson, who picked up a pair of skimpy shorts and a widened vocabulary on his gap year at Geelong grammar school, holds Australia up as a model of prosperity outside the European Union. The Economist, "Britain and Australia Why the Conservative Party adores Australia," 13 June 2020 While the Viking was in green digital camo, cut off just above the knees into a pair of ragged shorts, Dreadlocks was in blue Navy coveralls. August Cole, Wired, "AI, AR, and the (Somewhat) Speculative Future of a Tech-Fueled FBI," 5 June 2020 Dig through your dresser for your favorite pair of shorts. oregonlive, "It’s about to get hot. How long has it been since Portland hit 80 degrees?," 8 May 2020 In the 1920s, Universal Pictures released a series of comedy shorts that brought the strip to the big screen. Los Angeles Times, "Newsletter: The plan to reopen California," 29 Apr. 2020 His uniform around the station typically consisted of a white v-neck T-shirt, a pair of cut-off scrub shorts and flip-flops. al, "The tragic life and death of a heroic and troubled Birmingham firefighter," 22 Apr. 2020 Meanwhile, her dad wears a lemon-print brightly colored shirt, a lei, a green version of the same skirt over a pair of black shorts and purple flowers stuck into his backwards baseball cap. Jen Juneau,, "Hillary Scott and Husband Create Sweet 'Luau' (at Home!) After Daddy-Daughter Dance Is Canceled," 15 Apr. 2020 Millie wore a floral one-piece swimsuit with a pair of gray shorts tied at the waist with a bow. Kelsey Stiegman, Seventeen, "Millie Bobby Brown Wore the Cutest Swimsuit to Give Her Dogs a Bath," 6 Apr. 2020 Little Fires Everywhere is Megan’s first major project, having worked on a number of smaller shorts and in the past. Gabe Bergado, Teen Vogue, "Little Fires Everywhere Cast: Meet the Teen Actors," 16 Mar. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Laredo City Council on Tuesday voted to gather a coalition of leaders from fellow cities and counties that have been shorted in this funding in order to lobby Congress and Gov. Greg Abbott to amend the distribution calculation. Julia Wallace, Houston Chronicle, "Webb County receives only $37K in coronavirus relief funds from state government," 28 May 2020 The paychecks of about 54,000 people are still being shorted to repay past-due student loans, despite a federal moratorium that has been in place for six weeks, according to court documents filed late Monday by the Trump administration. Danielle Douglas-gabriel,, "Trump administration is still garnishing the wages of 54,000 student loan borrowers," 12 May 2020 Bearish bets in Wayfair were at $8.11 billion with 23.18 million shares shorted, or 38% of float, according to S3 data. Janet Freund,, "Wayfair Shares Rise to Record While Short Sellers Get Clobbered," 10 May 2020 If the college football season gets shorted or canceled altogether, what happens to funding for the non-revenue sports then? oregonlive, "Granting athletes in spring sports another season of eligibility creates other problems: Oregon track & field rundown," 31 Mar. 2020 Still, the gains that investors generate from short selling can quickly evaporate if the broader market or individual stocks that are heavily shorted start to rebound. Paul R. La Monica, CNN, "How some investors have profited from the stock market's huge losses," 31 Mar. 2020 The Thunder have essentially shorted the futures of three NBA teams. Ben Cohen, WSJ, "Russell Westbrook Plays for the Rockets. Why Not?," 12 July 2019 When that thin plastic sheet breaks (due to too much jostling in the cargo hold of an airplane, for instance), the electrodes can come together, shorting out the battery. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "New electrolyte recipe keeps lithium-ion batteries from catching fire," 23 Aug. 2018 Meanwhile, the libertarian group Illinois Policy called on Congress to reject that state’s $44-billion federal aid request, which includes a $10-billion grant or loan to short up the state’s public pension plans. Los Angeles Times, "Column: As coronavirus devastates state budgets, conservatives target public worker pensions," 24 Apr. 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

25 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Short.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for short


How to pronounce short (audio)

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

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