Meaning of SHORT in English



( shorter, shortest)

Frequency: The word is one of the 700 most common words in English.

Please look at category 23 to see if the expression you are looking for is shown under another headword.


If something is short or lasts for a short time, it does not last very long.

The announcement was made a short time ago...

How could you do it in such a short period of time?...

Kemp gave a short laugh...

We had a short meeting.

≠ long



If you talk about a short hour, day, or year, you mean that it seems to have passed very quickly or will seem to pass very quickly.

For a few short weeks there was peace...

≠ long

ADJ : usu ADJ n


A short speech, letter, or book does not have many words or pages in it.

They were performing a short extract from Shakespeare’s Two Gentlemen of Verona...

≠ long

ADJ : usu ADJ n


Someone who is short is not as tall as most people are.

I’m tall and thin and he’s short and fat.

...a short, elderly woman with grey hair...

≠ tall



Something that is short measures only a small amount from one end to the other.

The city centre and shops are only a short distance away...

His black hair was very short.

≠ long



If you are short of something or if it is short , you do not have enough of it. If you are running short of something or if it is running short , you do not have much of it left.

Her father’s illness left the family short of money...

Supplies of everything are unreliable, food is short...

ADJ : v-link ADJ , usu ADJ of n


If someone or something is or stops short of a place, they have not quite reached it. If they are or fall short of an amount, they have not quite achieved it.

He stopped a hundred yards short of the building...

ADJ : v-link ADJ of n


Short of a particular thing means except for that thing or without actually doing that thing.

Short of climbing railings four metres high, there was no way into the garden from this road...



If something is cut short or stops short , it is stopped before people expect it to or before it has finished.

His glittering career was cut short by a heart attack...

ADV : ADV after v


If a name or abbreviation is short for another name, it is the short version of that name.

Her friend Kes (short for Kesewa) was in tears...

‘O.O.B.E.’ is short for ‘Out Of Body Experience’.

ADJ : v-link ADJ for n


If you have a short temper, you get angry very easily. awkward, self-conscious woman with a short temper.


see also short-tempered


If you are short with someone, you speak briefly and rather rudely to them, because you are impatient or angry.

She seemed nervous or tense, and she was definitely short with me.

ADJ : v-link ADJ , usu ADJ with n


If a person or thing is called something for short , that is the short version of their name.

Opposite me was a woman called Jasminder (Jazzy for short)...

PHRASE : usu n PHR


If you go short of something, especially food, you do not have as much of it as you want or need.

Some people may manage their finances badly and therefore have to go short of essentials.

PHRASE : V inflects , oft PHR of n


You use in short when you have been giving a lot of details and you want to give a conclusion or summary.

Try tennis, badminton or windsurfing. In short, anything challenging...

PHRASE : PHR with cl


You use nothing short of or little short of to emphasize how great or extreme something is. For example, if you say that something is nothing short of a miracle or nothing short of disastrous, you are emphasizing that it is a miracle or it is disastrous.

The results are nothing short of magnificent...

PHRASE : v-link PHR adj / n [ emphasis ]


If you say that someone is, for example, several cards short of a full deck or one sandwich short of a picnic , you think they are stupid, foolish, or crazy. ( INFORMAL )

PHRASE : v-link PHR


If someone or something is short on a particular good quality, they do not have as much of it as you think they should have.

The proposals were short on detail.

PHRASE : V inflects [ disapproval ]


If someone stops short of doing something, they come close to doing it but do not actually do it.

He stopped short of explicitly criticizing the government...

PHRASE : V inflects , PHR -ing / n


If workers are put on short time , they are asked to work fewer hours than the normal working week, because their employer can not afford to pay them a full time wage.

Workers across the country have been put on short time because of the slump in demand...

Most manufacturers have had to introduce short-time working.



If something pulls you up short or brings you up short , it makes you suddenly stop what you are doing.

The name on the gate pulled me up short.

PHRASE : V inflects


If you make short work of someone or something, you deal with them or defeat them very quickly. ( INFORMAL )

Agassi made short work of his opponent.

PHRASE : V inflects , PHR n


short of breath: see breath

at short notice: see notice

to sell someone short: see sell

to get short shrift: see shrift

to cut a long story short: see story

to draw the short straw: see straw

in short supply: see supply

in the short term: see term



( shorts)


Shorts are trousers with very short legs, that people wear in hot weather or for taking part in sports.

...two women in bright cotton shorts and tee shirts.

N-PLURAL : also a pair of N


Shorts are men’s underpants with short legs. ( mainly AM )

N-PLURAL : also a pair of N


A short is a small amount of a strong alcoholic drink such as whisky, gin, or vodka, rather than a weaker alcoholic drink that you can drink in larger quantities. ( mainly BRIT )



A short is a short film, especially one that is shown before the main film at the cinema.


Collins COBUILD Advanced Learner's English Dictionary.      Английский словарь Коллинз COBUILD для изучающих язык на продвинутом уровне.