\ 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

Bremer Fisher added that the finale of the Heights Music Hop in the Cedar-Fairmount district was abruptly cut short on Friday night as the storm swept past. Thomas Jewell,, "Second microburst in 3 years ravages Cleveland Heights all over again," 17 Sep. 2019 The short aired on FX and is available to stream on YouTube (above). Ben Flanagan |, al, "Watch ‘Jurassic World’ short film starring Alabama’s Andre Holland," 17 Sep. 2019 Equally spectacular views are available at Coconuts, the coastal cliff-side restaurant at The Reefs Resort & Club, just a short drive from the aforementioned beaches. Kelly Vaughan,, "Bermuda i n 72 hours: Yes, really," 17 Sep. 2019 In her down time, Connolly often wrote short features for the Union. San Diego Union-Tribune, "From the Archives: Maureen Connolly worked as a cub reporter when she wasn’t winning world tennis titles," 17 Sep. 2019 Graduates David Gbenda and Justin Hull scored for the Cougars, who ultimately fell a point-after kick short. Jack Marrion, Houston Chronicle, "Cinco Ranch football hits the road for non-district finale against Cedar Park," 17 Sep. 2019 Before, scientists mostly observed the region for short snippets—typically during summer. Shannon Hall, Scientific American, "Marooned: Researchers Will Freeze Their Ship into Arctic Ocean Ice for a Year," 17 Sep. 2019 Out of that experience came the short documentary Nieve en el portal: El niño que se fue regresa un artista (Snow on the Portal: The boy who left returns an artist). Jordan Riefe, The Hollywood Reporter, "Artist Enrique Martinez Celaya and Fiancee Erica Packer Host Opening of New L.A. Show," 16 Sep. 2019 The short answer: three to seven days, according to Vanessa Raabe, MD, an infectious disease specialist at NYU Langone. Maggie O'neill,, "How Long Does the Flu Last?," 16 Sep. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

Creal, whose credits include Prada’s beloved, short-lived cosmetics line, was similarly impressed. Vogue, "Victoria Beckham’s First In-House Beauty Brand Is (Finally!) Here," 13 Sep. 2019 While others enjoyed some short-lived spikes in favor, Warren has steadily grown her share from 9% to 19%, according to Real Clear Politics polling averages for the Democratic nomination. Tovin Lapan, Fortune, "Elizabeth Warren Captains Steady Ascent Into Third Democratic Debate," 13 Sep. 2019 For me, and perhaps Kamala Harris, the scars and benefits of busing are a daily reminder of this nation’s short-lived attempt at addressing its past. Gloria J. Browne-marshall, Time, "Busing Ended 20 Years Ago. Today Our Schools Are Segregated Once Again," 11 Sep. 2019 Two plays later Roach found Logan Kotulock for the 4-yard touchdown pass to give Wooster a short-lived lead., "See how the Top 25 High School football teams fared in Week 2, Sept. 6, 2019," 6 Sep. 2019 In addition to working on Mad Men, Igla was a writer-co-producer on Fox’s short-lived sports drama Pitch and writer-supervising producer on Sorry for Your Loss, Facebook’s drama that starred Elizabeth Olsen. Borys Kit, The Hollywood Reporter, "Marvel's 'Hawkeye' Series Finds Its Writer With 'Mad Men' Scribe (Exclusive)," 6 Sep. 2019 Over the past decade, Iran has sent several short-lived satellites into orbit and in 2013 launched a monkey into space. CBS News, "Iran admits rocket exploded after technical malfunction," 2 Sep. 2019 Over the past decade, Iran has sent several short-lived satellites into orbit and in 2013 launched a monkey into space. Jon Gambrell, Anchorage Daily News, "Satellite photos show apparent rocket explosion Iranian launch pad," 29 Aug. 2019 Over the past decade, Iran has sent several short-lived satellites into orbit and in 2013 launched a monkey into space. Greg Norman | Fox News, Fox News, "Satellite images suggest Iranian rocket blew up on launch pad," 29 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

In the nickelodeon theaters, audiences went to watch a quick-change succession of shorts—and now here, so argued its admirers, was the nickelodeon’s novelistic equivalent. Adam Thirlwell, The New York Review of Books, "Adam Thirlwell," 25 Oct. 2018 Vanessa Hudgens also played around with black on black textures by pairing a black lace bralette, pair of shorts and bomber jacket to the Carolina Herrera runway. Kristin Corpuz, Billboard, "NYFW 2019's Most Wearable Trends -- and the Stars Who Rocked Them With Ease," 12 Sep. 2019 Shayk wore a pair of bright red shorts, with a blazer featuring a dagger-through-the-heart motif. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Irina Shayk and Gigi Hadid Had a Moment at Jeremy Scott's NYFW Show," 7 Sep. 2019 The Spanish singer Rosalía also made a cameo in New York in typically flamboyant style, this time wearing a Gen Z-leaning graphic zip-up and a checked pair of short-shorts with oversize platform thong sandals. Vogue, "The Best Fashion Instagrams of the Week: Cardi B, Irina Shayk, and More," 7 Sep. 2019 One of Hillenburg’s CalArts shorts was Wormholes — a swirling electrical storm of a cartoon with the look of a Saul Steinberg illustration come to life. Darryn King, Longreads, "The Young Man and the Sea Sponge," 13 Aug. 2019 There was no shortage of news in the first week of training camp, from Joshua Kelley’s injury and Chris Steele’s eligibility to Mike Leach analysis of, um, cargo shorts. Jon Wilner, The Mercury News, "Hotline newsletter: NCAA sanctions imposed, Petersen blocks Yankoff, camp updates, iconic moments and more," 9 Aug. 2019 For their part, Sofia and Leonor changed out of their pants in favor of some summer-appropriate shorts. Sarah Madaus, Town & Country, "Queen Letizia Just Stepped Out In The Perfect Summer Jumpsuit," 2 Aug. 2019 But that’s usually the case in the first day of shorts. Chris Solari, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan State football optimistic, chasing a better offense as practice begins," 1 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 Interest in shorting Uber stock has only grown since the I.P.O., according to share borrowing data from IHS Markit, with pessimists betting some $2 billion that the price of shares will continue to fall. Mike Isaac, New York Times, "How Uber Got Lost," 24 Aug. 2019 Wall Street is overestimating the potential price of AVXS-101, said a hedge fund manager, who asked not to be named because the fund recently began shorting the stock and doesn’t comment publicly on its bearish bets. Bailey Lipschultz,, "Biotech Stock Draws Skeptics Even as It Rallies to New Highs," 7 Mar. 2018 Val Cotter also accuses the administrator of shorting him more than $5 million in distributions from the estate. Patrick Danner,, "Cotter heirs battle over San Antonio real estate tycoon’s estate," 12 Sep. 2019 The money would go toward buying a new body for the electronic sculpture that looks just like the old one, which has often shorted out and been taped together in more than 10 years just outside Tavern at the Point. Domenica Bongiovanni, Indianapolis Star, "Mass Ave's electronic 'Ann Dancing' needs $262,800. Here's what's behind that number.," 4 June 2019 Smith allowed a double to Josh Phegley — after a video review — with two outs in the ninth, but got Marcus Semien to ground out to short to pick up his 30th save of the season. Curtis Pashelka, The Mercury News, "Evan Longoria reaches milestone, plays hero in Giants’ win over A’s," 25 Aug. 2019 Torres grounded out to short on a slow roller that permitted Judge and LeMahieu to advance to second and third base, respectively. Los Angeles Times, "Column: Dodgers’ humbling loss to Yankees reveals potential woes," 23 Aug. 2019 Conversely, the team’s been struck with injuries and uncertainty at tight end (an important spot in new OC John DeFilippo’s scheme), and still needs to short out its tackle spots. Albert Breer,, "32 Notes From 32 NFL Training Camps," 22 Aug. 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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Learn More about short

Dictionary Entries near short





short account


short and

Statistics for short

Last Updated

18 Oct 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

What made you want to look up short? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


involving a confidence or trust

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