\ 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 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 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

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 Typically, most healthy individuals suffer short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, the FDA said. Sarah Brookbank,, "White Castle frozen sliders have been recalled over listeria concerns," 10 Dec. 2019 In short, power was centralized in the hands of one man. Craig Whitlock, Anchorage Daily News, "Officials reveal how massive rebuilding projects in Afghanistan failed," 9 Dec. 2019 In short, the government wanted to know: Which techniques work? Ken Armstrong, ProPublica, "Why Are Cops Around the World Using This Outlandish Mind-Reading Tool?," 8 Dec. 2019 In short, holistic healthcare focuses on the health of the entire body and mind, not just parts of the body. Sherri Leimkuhler,, "Leimkuhler: Decoding difference between holistic and homeopathic," 8 Dec. 2019 Nominate The 21-year-old Higgins died this morning after an apparent seizure at Chicago’s Midway Airport, cutting short a hugely promising career and robbing a generation of one of its most fervently followed new icons. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "What Made Juice Wrld’s Music So Powerful," 8 Dec. 2019 The surprise raid on the major U.S. Navy base near Honolulu killed more than 2,400 Americans and, in short, brought the United States into World War II. Editors, USA TODAY, "Remembering Pearl Harbor, NAS Pensacola shooting: 5 things to know this weekend," 7 Dec. 2019 The shopping season is shorter this year because Thanksgiving occurred later than in recent years, which might be delaying some temporary hiring. Arkansas Online, "U.S. gains 266,000 jobs; unemployment at 3.5%," 7 Dec. 2019 Once relegated to the health and wellness aisle, CBD oil — which is short for cannabidiol — can now be found in skin care, makeup and hair care products. CNN Money, "Why CBD may deserve a place in your skin care routine," 6 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb Street trees can be alarmingly short-lived, so the mature oaks on Connecticut Avenue deserve to be cherished. Adrian Higgins, Washington Post, "Appreciating the need for — and the beauty of — the urban forest," 11 Dec. 2019 Volcanologists at GeoNet, which operates a geological hazard monitoring system, described the eruption as impulsive and short-lived, with an ash plume that rose to more than three kilometres above the vent. Shane Cronin, Scientific American, "Why New Zealand’s White Island Erupted Without Warning," 9 Dec. 2019 But on network television, most of the early stints for the women who were the first to anchor daily news programs were short-lived. Jason Loviglio, The Conversation, "NPR is still expanding the range of what authority sounds like after 50 years," 6 Dec. 2019 The pursuit was short-lived and stayed within the speed limit, East Hartford Lt. Christine Dempsey,, "Driver backs into East Hartford police car, sparking chase, arrests, police say," 6 Dec. 2019 But any drama was short-lived as UF picked up its first home win against FSU since Tim Tebow’s Senior Day in 2009, a span of four losses to the 'Noles in the Swamp. Edgar Thompson,, "Gators rout FSU to claim first win over Seminoles in Gainesville in 10 years," 1 Dec. 2019 The momentum would be short-lived, however, as Prosper answered with a 13-yard touchdown pass from Berry to Hayden Metcalf on the ensuing possession. Jon Poorman, Houston Chronicle, "Prosper pulls away in second half to eliminate The Woodlands," 30 Nov. 2019 The phenomenon was short-lived after the rise of catfishing and the infamous Craigslist Killer scandal, as finding love in an online marketplace didn’t allow much room for proper screening. Brianna Holt, Quartzy, "Twitter and Instagram are arguably the best dating apps around," 22 Nov. 2019 The celebration was short-lived as his contract was canceled by the company about six months after his first set. Kat Bein, Billboard, "Palms Las Vegas Closes KAOS Day & Nightclubs After Seven Months," 7 Nov. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Growing up in Saudi Arabia, Almadhoun learned to swim wearing knee-length shorts and a tank top in women-only pools. Christina Binkley, The New Yorker, "Nike Takes the Plunge Into Modest Swimwear," 9 Dec. 2019 Sunny was last seen wearing denim shorts and a black tank top. NBC News, "Six years of Dateline's Missing in America: 134 still missing," 5 Dec. 2019 Among the brave few individuals to wear shorts at practice on Thursday were right tackle Elijah Wilkinson and tight ends coach Wade Harman. Ryan O’halloran, The Denver Post, "Broncos briefs: Fangio on Sunday’s starting quarterback: “Nothing has been finalized”," 28 Nov. 2019 With Shorts for Work Some may balk at the idea of wearing shorts in brisk weather, but pairing them with Calzedonia's cozy pair of super-warm cashmere tights makes them perfect for cold-weather styling. Diana Nguyen, Harper's BAZAAR, "4 Editor-Approved Ways to Style Tights This Fall," 5 Nov. 2019 Multiple witnesses described one of the suspects as wearing red shorts and no shirt. Thomas Jewell, cleveland, "Golf courses, Crazy Horse club checked for missing 98-year-old man: Moreland Hills Police Blotter," 11 Oct. 2019 Creatable World offers six unique kits that each include one doll and two wig options for hair styling, plus clothing and accessory options like pants, skirts, shorts, jackets, glasses, T-shirts, hats, shoes and more. Jen Juneau,, "Mattel Just Launched Gender-Neutral Dolls Allowing 'All Kids to Express Themselves Freely'," 25 Sep. 2019 Chanel models wore bike shorts during the spring 2019 runway show, as did Fendi and Dior. Kate Bowers, Fortune, "Bye, Athleisure. Lululemon and Athleta Want You to Live Your Best ‘Ath-Lifestyle’," 24 Sep. 2019 The man was described as being in his 50s with longer, light colored hair, wearing blue jean shorts and an orange colored T-shirt. Dug Begley, Houston Chronicle, "Chambers County realtor stumbles on suspected homicide scene while showing a house," 22 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb In this case, John Roberts would have the final word on how quickly the Senate could move, potentially complicating the GOP's effort to short-circuit what could become a lengthy trial. Anchorage Daily News, "Prepare for impeachment, McConnell tells GOP senators," 17 Oct. 2019 More nimble investors who also shorted Takeda were actually doing the CEO a favor by lowering its acquisition cost, even if the share decline added to the pressure from credit downgrades and investor revolts. Washington Post, "Japan Health-Care Stocks Shake Off a Sickly Phase," 18 Sep. 2019 Harry Shearer, Christopher Guest, Michael McKean and Rob Reiner sued Vivendi, Studiocanal and UMG, claiming they were shorted profits. Ashley Cullins, The Hollywood Reporter, "Hollywood Docket: 'Billions' Battle Could Be Back On," 8 Nov. 2019 After retiring George Springer on a liner to short and Jose Altuve on a soft fly to right, Masahiro Tanaka walked Michael Brantley. Benjamin Hoffman, New York Times, "How the Astros Beat the Yankees in Game 4 of the A.L.C.S.," 17 Oct. 2019 This serves as an analytical and situational observation, and Murray will benefit in both areas where Rosen was shorted. Chris Allen, Sports Illustrated, "A Case for Kyler Murray as an Elite Fantasy Quarterback in 2019," 29 May 2019 By August 18th, the SEC notes, more than $13 billion shares of Tesla were shorted. Sean O'kane, The Verge, "Elon Musk sued by SEC over ‘funding secured’ tweet," 27 Sep. 2018 Multicoin shorted the virtual asset market in March, when cryptocurrency hedge funds as a whole lost 34%, according to performance-tracking firm Hedge Fund Research. Jen Wieczner, Fortune, "Cryptocurrency Hedge Fund Gets VC Fred Wilson's Backing Amid Bitcoin Slump," 20 June 2018 The Seminoles took the lead for good at 17-13 when Jordan Smith handled a direct snap and turned a 4th-and-short into a 17-yard touchdown. J.c. Carnahan,, "Seminole defense derails DeLand in district opener," 14 Sep. 2019

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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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

13 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Short.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 16 December 2019.

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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

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).


having a smooth flowing sound

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