\ ˈshȯrt \

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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from short


shortish \ ˈshȯr-​tish \ adjective
shortness \ ˈshȯrt-​nəs \ 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

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Additionally, building time is much shorter, which also lowers costs. Maggie Burch, House Beautiful, "The Impressive Evolution Of Prefabricated Houses," 24 Dec. 2018 For example, if a Santa incorrectly accuses a parent of inappropriate behavior, based only on what the little one tells him during their short time together, that actor is putting himself at risk for a lawsuit. Ann Votaw, Marie Claire, "I Went to the Harvard of Santa Schools to Become Mrs. Claus," 20 Dec. 2018 In the short time since, Pattie has amassed nearly 80,000 followers. Jenny Mccoy, SELF, "Meet Pattie Gonia, the Backpacking Drag Queen Promoting Inclusivity in the Outdoors," 11 Dec. 2018 Still, in its short time, the car developed a small but loyal following. Mike Colias, WSJ, "GM Bids Farewell to Its Breakthrough Electric Car," 9 Dec. 2018 Based on my short time with the Personal Server, the praise is properly earned. Lee Hutchinson, Ars Technica, "Review: Helm Personal Server gets email self-hosting (almost) exactly right," 4 Dec. 2018 From there, cheesemakers clad in white lab coats and hair nets start the pasteurizing process, running the milk through high temperatures for a short time. Tim Newcomb, Popular Mechanics, "Connected to the Craft," 3 Dec. 2018 Most notably, there was a 2011 version in which Beyoncé was, for a short time at least, attached to costar with Cooper and director Clint Eastwood. Michelle Ruiz, Vogue, "A Star Was Almost Born? Here’s Who Bradley Cooper Wanted to Cast in His Movie," 13 Nov. 2018 Flippers would buy a property without doing much renovation and then sell it a short time later. Jeff Andrews, Curbed, "As housing market cools, home flipping shows signs of decline," 5 Nov. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

The fling must have been short-lived, though, as IMDB claims Wilmer was only on the series for four episodes from 2016-2017. Megan Stein, Country Living, "Molly McCook Made a Surprise Appearance on 'The Ranch' and Everyone Missed It," 22 Dec. 2018 But the Red Planet's wet period was short-lived, lasting only a few hundreds of millions of years. Nola Taylor Redd,, "Geometry Helps Solve the Mystery of Mars' Water," 13 July 2018 Being too short can pose problems seeing down the field or with having passes knocked down at the line. Brian Costa, WSJ, "The Inch That Could Decide Kyler Murray’s Future," 21 Dec. 2018 And to make a long story short, our souls weren’t meant to be together. Anonymous, Glamour, "What I Wore to Get Divorced," 29 Nov. 2018 Belgium's golden generation has come up short at a major tournament. Mike Corder,, "Belgium's golden generation falls short again at World Cup," 10 July 2018 Their lack of neighborliness and obliviousness to their children’s impact on the well-being of others cut our trip short and ruined an otherwise good vacation. Seattle Times Readers, The Seattle Times, "Rant & Rave: Noisy kids ruined camping trip," 24 Sep. 2018 Mané and Keïta were both teammates at RB Salzburg, although the Africain pair saw their time together cut short when the Senegalese winger moved to Southampton in 2014, having made just two appearances together in the Austrian Bundesliga., "Report Claims That Naby Keita Was Talked Out of Bayern Munich Switch By Liverpool Winger," 30 June 2018 The Chiefs cut short their final day of mandatory minicamp because of the heat, but Reid said Thursday that enough was accomplished to sacrifice some extra snaps. Blair Kerkhoff, kansascity, "Next stop for confident Patrick Mahomes, rest of Chiefs, is training camp," 14 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Over the summer, she was seen rocking her distinctive throwback uniform, which generally consists of bubbly graphic T-shirts and those thigh-grazing denim short shorts, all over the streets of New York City. Vogue, "Lourdes Leon Hits the Beach in Complete Noughties Fashion," 8 Jan. 2019 Burkhard Fritz, singing his first-ever Siegfried, looked quite the overgrown child in his striped polo shirt and grubby shorts (the apt costumes are by Marie-Jeanne Lecca). Heidi Waleson, WSJ, "‘Siegfried’ Review: Far From Child’s Play," 6 Nov. 2018 Women wearing low cut shirts or shorts that barely covered their posteriors. Micaela English, Town & Country, "19 Things You Should Never Wear While Traveling," 1 Oct. 2018 An extremely non-dress-code-compliant retro black polo colorway and matching shorts are exclusive to Palace. Samuel Hine, GQ, "Rebel Streetwear Brand Palace Has Crashed Wimbledon," 3 July 2018 Owner Lê, a sartorial stickler, says the shorts must be dressy – no gym or athletic apparel. Michael Klein,, "Let's Eat: A chef surfaces in Chesco; LaBan delivers cold dessert truths," 3 July 2018 One man walked unsteadily, leaning on a helper, while another wearing shorts and a white polo shirt was barefoot and wrapped in a red blanket. Fox News, "Aid ship docks in Malta with 234 refugees, ending extended journey," 27 June 2018 Even behind the big men in suits, Kim could be spotted from a mile away in a bright electric blue wrap coat featuring a waist tie and utilitarian pockets with her go-to biker shorts. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Kim Kardashian Returns to Paris for the First Time Since Her Robbery in 2016," 21 June 2018 Trousers were pleated with a jodhpur curve at the thigh and secured with elastic at the ankle, while safari shorts were cross-fertilized with ribbed knit leggings. Vanessa Friedman, New York Times, "Thrown for a Loop at Dries Van Noten and Chloé," 1 Mar. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Iran had fallen behind to a quite brilliant strike from Ricardo Quaresma, a goal out of keeping with a first half that was long on effort and short on real quality. Jonathan Wilson,, "Spain, Portugal Emerge From World Cup Group After Influential Use of VAR," 25 June 2018 Johnson scored on Will Quillen’s RBI single to center and Millsap scored on Jorge Figueroa’s single to short. Brian Gosset, star-telegram, "Brock's Tyler throws one-hitter vs. Clyde, Carroll baseball rallies to win Game 1 | Fort Worth Star-Telegram," 24 May 2018 Dendrites can grow all the way from one side of the battery to the other, shorting it and causing all the battery's energy to be released at once. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "Researchers Take First Atomic Photos of Failing Battery," 27 Oct. 2017 The orchestra has already announced plans to strengthen its ties with New Yorkers next season, including by offering $5 tickets to short introductory concerts conducted by Mr. van Zweden to teachers and others who work in public service. Michael Cooper, New York Times, "At the New York Philharmonic, a Contract Aimed at Labor-Management Harmony," 2 Mar. 2018 Shares of Manulife had fallen 14% after The Wall Street Journal wrote about the lawsuits and a research report from Muddy Waters suggested shorting the stock on concerns about its exposure. Jacquie Mcnish, WSJ, "Canadian Province Changes Rules, Benefiting Insurers in Dispute," 30 Oct. 2018 Famed short-seller Jim Chanos, who’s been shorting Tesla for years, recently spoke to CNBC about how Musk had attacked him on Twitter, claiming that Chanos had bribed a journalist for inside information on Musk’s company. Bijan Stephen, The Verge, "Elon Musk can’t stop tweeting, but so far it doesn’t matter," 19 July 2018 GE’s 5% preferred shares, a debtlike instrument shorted by many hedge funds, jumped about 11% over the past week to 81.5 cents on the dollar, according to MarketAxess. Matt Wirz, WSJ, "GE Bonds Rebound as Bargain Hunters Swoop In," 26 Nov. 2018 Right now, Hollywood is struggling to be ironic within a framework that naturally produces irony — and shorting out in the process. Devon Maloney, The Verge, "Hollywood had a breakdown trying to justify itself at the 2018 Emmys," 18 Sep. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about short

Dictionary Entries near short





short account


short and

Statistics for short

Last Updated

11 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for short

The first known use of short was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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)

shorts : pants that end at or above the knees

: a short movie

: 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 \
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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


means, resources, or money

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Homophone Quiz

  • three-bears-two-of-them-look-like-theyre-whispering-to-a-third-bear-who-looks-chuffed-to-be-the-center-of-attention
  • In order to judge how people felt, the senator's office hired a firm to take a ______.
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!