\ 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 breath 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)

1 transitive + intransitive : short-circuit The electrical system also received upgrades: Most rooms had only three or fewer outlets, and plugging in multiple devices usually shorted the circuit.— Steven Wyman-Blackburn The housing association gave her a "temperamental" electric shower but this cannot be used as the time as other electric items—including the television—as it will cause the circuit to short.— Anna Slater often used with out in U.S. English … microscopic particles of airborne dust are large enough to short out the chip's circuitry.— Michael Rothschild… 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
2 transitive, informal : shortchange, cheat When she returned minutes later, she handed me a twenty-dollar bill and a five. No change and no receipt, which meant I couldn't call her on the fact that she'd shorted Henry by sixty-six cents.— Sue Grafton
3 transitive, finance : to sell (a security) short in expectation of a fall in prices a heavily shorted stock Today [in 2003], only two per cent of all United States stock-market shares are shorted, and even with looser restrictions short selling is likely to remain uncommon.— James Surowiecki

Other Words from short


shortish \ ˈshȯr-​tish How to pronounce short (audio) \ adjective
shortness \ ˈshȯrt-​nəs How to pronounce short (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 Among them are a short film about metamorphosis and displays on butterfly habitats and adaptations. New York Times, 25 Nov. 2021 The gorgeous short film film, shot by cinematographer Rina Yang, certainly induces waterworks. Hanna Flanagan,, 23 Nov. 2021 On his website was a short film of the bust growing a shiny new nose, which hung there for a minute, pregnant with significance, then fell off. Hedley Twidle, Harper's Magazine, 23 Nov. 2021 Based on her own short film, writer-director Maya Cozier makes her feature debut with the vibrant Trinidadian drama. Kimber Myers, Los Angeles Times, 18 Nov. 2021 The 2020 short film, titled Penelope, was part of Netflix's anthology Homemade, which featured a number of directors (including The Young Pope's Paolo Sorrentino) creating work while in self-isolation. Christian Holub,, 17 Nov. 2021 The video shows a scripted and staged short film with actors that was produced by Prince Ea, who shared the clip as a joke. Mckenzie Sadeghi, USA TODAY, 16 Nov. 2021 The pop icon directed a short film to accompany the new extended song, and the scarf plays a major role in it. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, 15 Nov. 2021 Lady Gaga has released a short film exploring the connection between kindness and mental health to coincide with World Kindness Day on Nov. 13. Jazz Tangcay, Variety, 13 Nov. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb Detroit came up short in a bid for its first win with a 13-10 loss to Cleveland. Tim Bielik, cleveland, 25 Nov. 2021 The Trojans scored twice in the final 2 minutes, 59 seconds but came up short on a 2-point conversion. Mike Scandura,, 25 Nov. 2021 Another stellar recruit, freshman Caleb Houstan, also came up short for the Michigan offense over the weekend, totaling 11 points in 66 minutes of play. Paul Nasr, Detroit Free Press, 22 Nov. 2021 After the Ravens took the 16-13 lead, the Bears got the ball back with 22 seconds to go but came up short. Colleen Kane,, 22 Nov. 2021 Instead of punting, and trying to pin Harvard back, Yale coach Tony Reno went for it and Yale came up short. Dom Amore,, 20 Nov. 2021 The Thundering Herd opened the second quarter facing a 3-and-2 at UAB’s 39-yard line but came up short on back-to-back plays, turning the ball over on downs. Evan Dudley, al, 14 Nov. 2021 Punk used John Cena’s Five Knuckle Shuffle comeback, which was predictably booed, and used heel facials throughout his match against Kingston, who came up short due to (kayfabe) fatigue. Alfred Konuwa, Forbes, 14 Nov. 2021 The sloppy field conditions played a role on the 49ers’ first drive when Ray Wersching slipped and came up short on a 40-yard field-goal try. Michael Lerseth, San Francisco Chronicle, 13 Nov. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Just over a year before the fire at Malden Mills, an electrical short at the synagogue started a fire that destroyed much of the building. New York Times, 5 Nov. 2021 Crawford dove, got up from deep short and made the long throw to first, dead on the money, and made the whole thing look easy. Susan Slusser, San Francisco Chronicle, 17 Sep. 2021 Second, some combination of specific vehicle uses may be required for the pair of faults to produce a serious short within the cell. John Voelcker, Car and Driver, 13 Sep. 2021 Or, better yet, is this a short that becomes your promo piece (or pilot) for an episodic/series? Susan Johnston, Rolling Stone, 30 Aug. 2021 Pedro Almodóvar’s new film, a short called The Human Voice, functions as something of a jewel box for the entirety of his film career: one tiny, beguiling package encapsulating all of his beloved themes, characters, and visual motifs. Rachel Handler, Vulture, 10 Mar. 2021 An electrical short probably started the fire; by the time it was finally extinguished, the cathedral’s twin towers and flying buttresses held, but la forêt and the spire went up like the Hindenburg. Shawn Mccreesh, Curbed, 17 Aug. 2021 The fire was sparked by an electrical short in a ventilator that resulted in oxygen canisters exploding, said Brig. New York Times, 13 July 2021 Through a filmic short, like a music video Sialelli takes fashion watchers on a trip through imagery heightening nostalgia and the anticipatory. Allyson Portee, Forbes, 28 June 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb That’s not to short the north end of the island, which holds the Grosse Ile Woods Preserve and a bird sanctuary. Judy Rose, Detroit Free Press, 29 Aug. 2021 Commentary on the site's popular WallStreetBets forum indicated that many individual traders remain angry with Robinhood for its decision to curtail trading during January's GameStop rally, and some even threatened to short it. Cnn Business, CNN, 4 Aug. 2021 If someone enters the incorrect code too many times, the electrical system will automatically short out the bomb’s electronics, disabling it completely. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, 2 June 2021 While few if any CEOs like investors who short their stock, Musk has waged a long-running and very high-profile feud with Telsa's shorts. Chris Isidore, CNN, 22 May 2021 On one Sunday, a rainstorm caused an LED light at the top of the wheel to short out and send out a spark. Sam Whiting, San Francisco Chronicle, 9 May 2021 Public health officials are still working to short up public confidence in the coronavirus vaccine and combat lingering hesitancy that could prevent California from reaching full community immunity against the virus. Alexei Koseff, San Francisco Chronicle, 1 Apr. 2021 As a result, the company took a reputational hit, QAnon followers attempted to short the stock, and Wayfair CEO Niraj Shah was personally targeted. Lisa Kaplan, Fortune, 8 Mar. 2021 When investors short an ETF, shares are created by specialized investment firms known as authorized participants solely for the purpose of lending. Michael Wursthorn, WSJ, 8 Mar. 2021

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 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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Dictionary Entries Near short



short account

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Statistics for short

Last Updated

29 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Short.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Dec. 2021.

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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



English Language Learners Definition of short (Entry 4 of 4)

: to cause (something) to have a short circuit : short-circuit
: to stop working because of a short circuit : 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

More from Merriam-Webster on short

Nglish: Translation of short for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of short for Arabic Speakers


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