adj., adv., n., & v.
adj. 1 a measuring little; not long from end to end (a short distance). b not long in duration; brief (a short time ago; had a short life). c seeming less than the stated amount (a few short years of happiness). 2 of small height; not tall (a short square tower; was shorter than average). 3 a (usu. foll. by of, on) having a partial or total lack; deficient; scanty (short of spoons; is rather short on sense). b not far-reaching; acting or being near at hand (within short range). 4 a concise; brief (kept his speech short). b curt; uncivil (was short with her). 5 (of the memory) unable to remember distant events. 6 Phonet. & Prosody of a vowel or syllable: a having the lesser of the two recognized durations. b unstressed. c (of an English vowel) having a sound other than that called long (cf. LONG(1) adj. 8). 7 a (of pastry) crumbling; not holding together. b (of clay) having poor plasticity. 8 esp. Stock Exch. a (of stocks, a stockbroker, crops, etc.) sold or selling when the amount is not in hand, with reliance on getting the deficit in time for delivery. b (of a bill of exchange) maturing at an early date. 9 Cricket a (of a ball) pitching relatively near the bowler. b (of a fielder or his position) relatively near the batsman. 10 (of a drink of spirits) undiluted.
adv. 1 before the natural or expected time or place; abruptly (pulled up short; cut short the celebrations). 2 rudely; uncivilly (spoke to him short).
n. 1 colloq. a short drink, esp. spirits. 2 a short circuit. 3 a short film. 4 Stock Exch. a a person who sells short. b (in pl.) short-dated stocks. 5 Phonet. a a short syllable or vowel. b a mark indicating that a vowel is short. 6 (in pl.) a mixture of bran and coarse flour.
v.tr. & intr. short-circuit. be caught (or taken) short 1 be put at a disadvantage. 2 colloq. urgently need to urinate or defecate. bring up (or pull up) short check or pause abruptly. come short be inadequate or disappointing. come short of fail to reach or amount to. for short as a short name (Tom for short). get (or have) by the short hairs colloq. be in complete control of (a person). go short (often foll. by of) not have enough. in short to use few words; briefly. in short order US immediately. in the short run over a short period of time. in short supply scarce. in the short term = in the short run. make short work of accomplish, dispose of, destroy, consume, etc. quickly. short and sweet esp. iron. brief and pleasant. short-arm (of a blow etc.) delivered with the arm not fully extended. short back and sides a haircut in which the hair is cut short at the back and the sides. short change insufficient money given as change. short-change v.tr. rob or cheat by giving short change. short circuit an electric circuit through small resistance, esp. instead of the resistance of a normal circuit. short-circuit 1 cause a short circuit or a short circuit in. 2 shorten or avoid (a journey, work, etc.) by taking a more direct route etc. short commons insufficient food. short cut 1 a route shortening the distance travelled. 2 a quick way of accomplishing something. short date an early date for the maturing of a bill etc. short-dated due for early payment or redemption. short-day (of a plant) needing the period of light each day to fall below some limit to cause flowering. short division Math. division in which the quotient is written directly without being worked out in writing. short drink a strong alcoholic drink served in small measures. short-eared owl an owl, Asio flammeus, frequenting open country and hunting at dawn or dusk. short for an abbreviation for ('Bob' is short for 'Robert'). short fuse a quick temper. short game Golf approaching and putting. short-handed undermanned or understaffed. short haul 1 the transport of goods over a short distance. 2 a short-term effort. short head Racing a distance less than the length of a horse's head. short-head v.tr. beat by a short head. short hundredweight see HUNDREDWEIGHT. short list Brit. a list of selected candidates from which a final choice is made. short-list v.tr. Brit. put on a short list. short-lived ephemeral; not long-lasting. short mark = BREVE 2. short measure less than the professed amount. short metre Prosody a hymn stanza of four lines with 6, 6, 8, and 6 syllables. short notice an insufficient length of warning time. short odds nearly equal stakes or chances in betting. short of 1 see sense 3a of adj. 2 less than (nothing short of a miracle). 3 distant from (two miles short of home). 4 without going so far as; except (did everything short of destroying it). short of breath panting, short-winded. short on colloq. see sense 3a of adj. short order US an order in a restaurant for quickly cooked food. short-pitched Cricket (of a ball) pitching relatively near the bowler. short-range 1 having a short range. 2 relating to a fairly immediate future time (short-range possibilities). short rib = floating rib. short score Mus. a score not giving all parts. short shrift curt or dismissive treatment. short sight the inability to focus except on comparatively near objects. short-sleeved with sleeves not reaching below the elbow. short-staffed having insufficient staff. short story a story with a fully developed theme but shorter than a novel. short suit a suit of less than four cards. short temper self-control soon or easily lost. short-term occurring in or relating to a short period of time. short time the condition of working fewer than the regular hours per day or days per week. short title an abbreviated form of a title of a book etc. short ton see TON. short view a consideration of the present only, not the future. short waist 1 a high or shallow waist of a dress. 2 a short upper body. short wave a radio wave of frequency greater than 3 MHz. short weight weight less than it is alleged to be. short whist whist with ten or five points to a game. short wind quickly exhausted breathing-power. short-winded 1 having short wind. 2 incapable of sustained effort. shortish adj. shortness n.
[ OE sceort f. Gmc: cf. SHIRT, SKIRT ]