\ 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

9a : short subject

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 \ adjective
shortness \ˈshȯrt-nəs \ noun

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

The short-term goal is to raise $1.25 million by Wheeler's Grand Celebration of its 125th birthday Oct. 20 at the JW Marriott, where about 1,000 potential donors will be invited to lead the capital campaign. Maureen C. Gilmer, Indianapolis Star, "It might be hard to look away from these sidewalk pleas," 10 July 2018 The Trump administration also is seeking to expand the use of short-term health insurance plans that are often less expensive but don't have the same consumer protections as exchange plans. Ken Alltucker, USA TODAY, "Trump administration slashes funding for Obamacare outreach program," 10 July 2018 There are also 42,000 Airbnb rooms available for rent in the same area right now, but that number could be impacted if the City Council regulates short-term rentals. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Will LA’s ‘no-build’ Olympics spur Southern California’s next building boom?," 10 July 2018 In a perfect short-term scenario, injured right-hander Yu Darvish hopes to accelerate his throwing program by next weekend. Mark Gonzales,, "Cubs in the hunt for pitching help — regardless of Yu Darvish's status," 14 July 2018 In the short term, freer trade can be better for rich people in poor countries than for poor people in rich ones. Tony Abbott, WSJ, "An Ally Sizes Up Donald Trump," 13 July 2018 That is a key reason that Fed officials expect to raise short-term rates twice more this year. Christopher Rugaber, Fox News, "US inflation reaches 2.9 percent in June, highest in 6 years," 13 July 2018 The potential shift, if sudden and severe, could devastate Britain’s economy, at least in the short term, and arguably for much longer, as well as effectively ending Britain’s status as a global power. Andrew Sullivan, Daily Intelligencer, "Did Trump Just Help Stop Brexit?," 13 July 2018 Hemric, who came up through the short-track circuits in the south and east, is no stranger to working on and setting up cars for races. Jason Hoffman,, "XFinity Series driver Daniel Hemric chasing perfection at Kentucky Speedway," 12 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

Poway National Little League’s run to the District 31 majors championship came up just short. Terry Monahan, Pomerado News, "Poway comes close to Little League district title," 12 July 2018 After a vote to end debate came up short, LBJ withdrew the nomination at Fortas’ request. Olivia B. Waxman, Time, "5 Reasons Why Supreme Court Nominations Have Failed," 10 July 2018 With desserts, Frenchette tries the blunt approach that works so well for its main courses, and comes up short. New York Times, "It’s Not Fake French, It’s Frenchette," 10 July 2018 Knievel, who died in 2007 at age 69, came up short on his attempt at jumping the fountain, hitting the knuckle just before the landing ramp and losing control. CBS News, "Travis Pastrana nails Evel Knievel's three legendary jumps in Las Vegas," 9 July 2018 Knievel, who died in 2007 at age 69, came up short on his attempt at jumping the fountain, hitting the knuckle just before the landing ramp and losing control. W.g. Ramirez,, "Annapolis native Travis Pastrana successfully triplicates iconic Evel Knievel jumps in TV special," 8 July 2018 This is one of the areas where Elon Musk has consistently come up short. Johana Bhuiyan, Recode, "Tesla hit a major production milestone — but will have to keep that going before it can be a ‘real car company’," 2 July 2018 In Illinois’ third congressional district, many supported Marie Newman, who came up short in her bid to unseat conservative Democratic congressman Dan Lipinski. Gabriel Debenedetti, Daily Intelligencer, "Democrats’ 2020 Hopefuls Refuse to Disagree (on the Midterms)," 1 July 2018 Based on these calculations, gravity comes up short. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Visitor from another solar system accelerated away from the Sun," 28 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

And now 21 aspiring female filmmakers from 13 countries are getting the chance to live their dreams by crafting digital shorts with Disney’s new #DreamBigPrincess series. Kathleen Christiansen,, "Disney series supports aspiring female filmmakers," 10 July 2018 Hadid seemed right at home on the deck of a boat, with her white v-neck polo and blue shorts complementing the bright blue water behind her. Anika Reed, USA TODAY, "From Beyoncé to Gigi Hadid, these hot celeb summer vacations will make you jealous," 6 July 2018 Instead, the No. 17 overall pick out of Villanova represented his new squad by donning a green Bucks polo and black dress shorts while cheering his teammates on from the bench during a 90-63 victory over the Detroit Pistons at Cox Pavilion. Matt Velazquez, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "When will first-round pick Donte DiVincenzo suit up for the Bucks? 'I'm not sure.'," 6 July 2018 At a nearby park, men in shorts mill around a grill, while a gaggle of young boys toss a football and dart between playground rides. Simon Montlake, The Christian Science Monitor, "For three families, Tulsa experiment offers chance to grasp American dream," 3 July 2018 And while non-white trim is allowed, that pop of color has to be on the neckline, sleeve cuff or outside seam of a pant, skirt, or shorts leg — and can only be under a centimeter wide. Raisa Bruner, Time, "Why Wimbledon Players Have to Wear All White," 2 July 2018 The 20-year-old star was spotted on July 12 in Los Angeles hanging out with her sister, Dani, wearing a pair of cut-off denim shorts that were totally covered in sequins. Avery Matera, Teen Vogue, "Bella Thorne Wears Fuzzy Slippers and Socks in Los Angeles," 13 July 2018 Every Vogue editor remembers their first AWOK, the little acronym (short for Anna Wintour Okay) scrawled on each print page by our inimitable editor in chief. Monica Kim, Vogue, "This Is the Ultimate Fashion Sneaker: Air Jordans, Inspired by Anna Wintour," 12 July 2018 Our clip-on bike shoes and padded bike shorts could be exchanged for sweat pants and bedroom slippers., "A modern wonder — the electric bike — lets us relive the good old days in France," 11 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

But the company employing the $25-an-hour workers, the authorities said, was cheating them out of hundreds of thousands of dollars in wages by purposely shorting their hours and failing to pay them overtime. James C. Mckinley Jr., New York Times, "Laborers on a ‘Billionaires’ Row’ Tower Cheated of Wages, D.A. Says," 16 May 2018 Anyone holding derivatives before Newcastle who had shorted the pound, however, was already in the money. Cam Simpson,, "Brexit’s Big Short: How Pollsters Helped Hedge Funds Beat the Crash," 25 June 2018 In his seventh full season, Cozart never had played anywhere but short until signing with the Angels in December. Jeff Miller,, "Zack Cozart is getting used to moving around the Angels' infield," 25 Apr. 2018 But those strategies amplify stock losses when markets turn, as investors learned Monday night, when [two instruments used to short the index] lost more than 80% of their value in after-hours trading. Tory Newmyer, Washington Post, "The Finance 202: Wall Street chaos starts resembling Washington," 7 Feb. 2018 But there were other voices shouting doom for Tesla—some of which were from one reader who admitted to shorting Tesla's stock. Sean Gallagher, Ars Technica, "Second opinion: Ars readers’ picks for the Deathwatch errata," 4 Jan. 2018 That, of course, sells short the coaching chops that in 1998 attracted then-Bulls general manager Jerry Krause to Floyd, whom Krause tapped to replace the legendary Phil Jackson when the dynasty dissolved. K.c. Johnson,, "Tim Floyd appreciative as he looks back on 40-year coaching career: 'I was really grateful to Jerry Reinsdorf'," 13 July 2018 In some places, the main and back-up wiring of the plane were routed too close together under U.S. regulatory standards, meaning a problem such as a water leak in the galley could short both sets and cripple the aircraft. Alastair Gale, WSJ, "The Pressure Is On for Japan’s First Jetliner," 10 July 2018 On Monday evening, NBC News reported that Ross shorted two additional stocks while serving as commerce secretary, bringing the grand total to five. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, "Wilbur Ross shorted two more stocks than previously thought.," 3 July 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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Dictionary Entries near short





short account


short and

Statistics for short

Last Updated

20 Sep 2018

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)

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

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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).


occurring twice a year or every two years

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