/ ʃɔːt; NAmE ʃɔːrt/ adjective , adverb , noun , verb
( short·er , short·est )
LENGTH / DISTANCE
measuring or covering a small length or distance, or a smaller length or distance than usual :
He had short curly hair.
a short walk
a short skirt
( of a person ) small in height :
She was short and dumpy.
lasting or taking a small amount of time or less time than usual :
I'm going to France for a short break.
Which is the shortest day of the year?
a short book (= taking a short time to read, because it does not have many pages)
She has a very short memory (= remembers only things that have happened recently)
( informal )
Life's too short to sit around moping.
It was all over in a relatively short space of time .
[ only before noun ] ( of a period of time ) seeming to have passed very quickly :
Just two short years ago he was the best player in the country.
[ not before noun ] short (of sth) not having enough of sth; lacking sth :
I'm afraid I'm a little short (= of money) this month.
She is not short of excuses when things go wrong.
short on sth ( informal ) lacking or not having enough of a particular quality :
He was a big strapping guy but short on brains.
[ not before noun ] not easily available; not supplying as much as you need :
Money was short at that time.
[ not before noun ] short (of sth) less than the number, amount or distance mentioned or needed :
Her last throw was only three centimetres short of the world record.
The team was five players short.
She was just short of her 90th birthday when she died.
short of breath having difficulty breathing, for example because of illness
NAME / WORD
short for sth being a shorter form of a name or word :
Call me Jo—it's short for Joanna.
file transfer protocol or FTP for short
[ not before noun ] short (with sb) ( of a person ) speaking to sb using few words in a way that seems rude :
I'm sorry I was short with you earlier—I had other things on my mind.
( phonetics ) a short vowel is pronounced for a shorter time than other vowels :
Compare the short vowel in 'full' and the long vowel in 'fool'.
—see also shortly
► short·ness noun [ U ]:
She suffered from shortness of breath.
- a brick short of a load, two sandwiches short of a picnic, etc.
- get the short end of the stick
- give sb/sth / get short shrift
- have / be on a short fuse
- in short order
- in the short run
- in short supply
- little / nothing short of sth
- make short work of sth/sb
- short and sweet
—more at draw verb , life noun , long adjective , measure noun , notice noun , term noun , thick adjective
■ adverb ( short·er , short·est )
if you go short of or run short of sth, you do not have enough of it :
I'd never let you go short of anything.
Mothers regularly go short of food to ensure their children have enough.
They had run short of (= used most of their supply of) fuel.
not as far as you need or expect :
All too often you pitch the ball short.
before the time expected or arranged; before the natural time :
a career tragically cut short by illness
I'm afraid I'm going to have to stop you short there, as time is running out.
- be caught short
- come short
- fall short of sth
- short of (doing) sth
- pull, bring, etc. sb up short
—more at sell verb , stop verb
■ noun ( informal )
—see also shorts
( BrE ) a small strong alcoholic drink, for example of whisky
a short film / movie, especially one that is shown before the main film
= short circuit
- in short
—more at long adjective
[ v , vn ] ~ (sth) (out) ( informal ) = short-circuit
Old English sceort , of Germanic origin; related to shirt and skirt .