\ 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

REDCAT International Children’s Film Festival 2019 This all-ages showcase featuring short films from around the world continues., "SoCal movie events & revivals, June 9-16: The Locarno Festival in Los Angeles and more," 9 June 2019 Enjoy rhymes, songs, finger play and stories, followed by a short craft time., "Community News For The Stafford Edition," 7 June 2019 He was rushed to nearby Houston Methodist Willowbrook Hospital but died a short time later. Jay R. Jordan, Houston Chronicle, "Constable’s initiative aims to prevent hot-car deaths in Houston," 7 June 2019 Faith plays violin, while Sunday likes to play the piano and make short films. Maria Carter, Country Living, "How Keith Urban's Marriage to Nicole Kidman Completely Turned His Life Around," 5 June 2019 The universe involves a series of music videos, short films, book and even webtoons that follow characters based on all of BTS's members. Jasmine Gomez, Seventeen, "10 Facts About BTS That Will Make You Want To Join The ARMY," 5 June 2019 United, despite agreeing the deal with Sanchez a relatively short time ago, are desperate to remove the player from their wage bill before the new season begins, as 90min understands., "Atletico Madrid Consider Move for Alexis Sanchez as Replacement for Antoine Griezmann," 5 June 2019 Within a short time, she was promoted from the second violin section to the first. Mary Carole Mccauley,, "'I just want to work': BSO musicians say threatened job cuts could disrupt lives, jeopardize needed healthcare," 5 June 2019 Officers arrived a short time later and started their investigation when the suspect walked back up to the bank. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Man arrested after returning to Hillcrest bank where he allegedly robbed teller," 5 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

The Newport Beach Aviation Committee cut its Monday meeting short after an audience member was stricken by a medical emergency. Hillary Davis,, "Newport aviation board halts meeting after audience member suffers medical emergency," 11 June 2019 Gabrielle Union just got a new shag, Kaia Gerber and Reese Witherspoon went short and layered, and former Mad Men star January Jones cut her hair basically the same as Jenner and Kardashian. Elizabeth Denton, Allure, "Kylie Jenner Is the Latest Celeb to Join the Bob Club," 11 June 2019 Trinkle, who also beat Valparaiso sophomore Rose Pastoret 6-2, 6-1 in the quarterfinals, came up short in her quest for back-to-back state titles with a 6-2, 6-4 loss to Indianapolis Cathedral sophomore Ellie Pittman. John O'malley, Post-Tribune, "'Already looking at next year': Munster's Sanjana Tallamraju sets new plan after losing in state semifinals," 10 June 2019 Single moms also short-changed No profession is safe from the wage gap. Sonja Haller, USA TODAY, "Moms Equal Pay Day: 'Shocking' statistics explain why working moms are so stressed," 10 June 2019 After Samimi's death, a review by ICE's Office of Professional Responsibility found Aurora's nursing staff was not trained in opioid withdrawal and the facility was short staffed. Hannah Rappleye And Lisa Riordan Seville, NBC News, "24 immigrants have died in ICE custody during the Trump administration," 9 June 2019 And hopefully, Hollywood will continue to evolve and understand why offering every historical black figure to one actor was short-sided. Rosy Cordero,, "Michael B. Jordan committed to making Hollywood more diverse, after being offered role of 'every historical black figure'," 9 June 2019 The 2000 revival fell short against Susan Stroman’s choreography for Contact. Ben Zauzmer, The Hollywood Reporter, "Tony Awards: Predicting the Musical Winners Using Math," 7 June 2019 That little cooler of food can save me from cutting our adventures short, shelling out for expensive concessions or — worse — dealing with hangry kids when I, myself, am hangry. Alison Sherwood, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "On-the-go, kid-friendly picnic spots in Milwaukee (and foods) for summer fun and memories," 5 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

But Kaling shorts herself in the writing department. Michael Phillips, Detroit Free Press, "Emma Thompson outstanding, but ‘Late Night’ disappoints," 13 June 2019 Carr, sporting a T-shirt, shorts, and a two-day growth of beard, joined the line of girls and gamely tried to jump rope. David Quammen, National Geographic, "How one of Africa’s great parks is rebounding from war," 12 June 2019 Dances With Films Annual showcase for indie films includes more than 200 features, documentaries, shorts, etc., "SoCal movie events & revivals, June 9-16: The Locarno Festival in Los Angeles and more," 9 June 2019 There were new frayed denim cutoff shorts, kimono tops and jackets (including a standout beaded kimono jacket with a degradé print), djellabas, tasseled ponchos and robes and lots of straw Western hats. Ingrid Schmidt, The Hollywood Reporter, "Starry Crowd Gathers in Malibu for Saint Laurent's Mick Jagger-Inspired Men's Show," 7 June 2019 Spleen was loudly vented at all things Trump: his approach to immigration and refugees, his policy on (or in defiance of) climate change, his teeth-baring stance toward Iran, and his misogyny—in short, his very being. Anthony Lane, The New Yorker, "Donald Trump’s Royal Treatment," 4 June 2019 The other man — clad in a tan toboggan-style hat, a scarf hiding his face, a black long sleeve Under Armour shirt, black gloves, black shorts, and white tube socks with multiple colored stripes — is seen in the video with a crow bar. Howard Cohen, miamiherald, "Two Florida men use a blow torch on an ATM. But they ‘bungled the job,’ cops say," 4 June 2019 When many women get ready to go for a run, their prep looks something like this: put on favorite running shorts, lace up shoes, pick a playlist, grab a weapon, head out the door. Glamour, "These Running Safety Tips from Women Are So Smart (And Heartbreaking)," 31 May 2019 Early flash collection sites like Newgrounds and Kongregate were (and still are) loaded with short, free-to-play games often centered on proto-meme culture or meta-commentary on the gaming medium itself. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, "In praise of ultra-short games," 29 May 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 Sandberg also came under fire for reportedly asking whether Soros had shorted Facebook’s stock. Emily Stewart, Vox, "Facebook’s very bad year, explained," 21 Dec. 2018 Musk himself wound up in several spats with, variously, Donald Trump, media outlets, Azealia Banks, and investors who short Tesla. Elizabeth Lopatto, The Verge, "Elon Musk is the first influencer CEO," 21 Dec. 2018 The parties settled a couple of months later, but the producer still feels he's being shorted because of the studio's accounting practices. Ashley Cullins, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Gilmore Girls' Producer Files New Lawsuit Over Series Profits," 15 Mar. 2018 Some may remember him as the trader who shorted drug companies after trash-talking them. Bloomberg,, "Martin Shkreli’s journey from pharma executive to inmate No. 87850-053," 9 Mar. 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

14 Jun 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

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