Meaning of SHORT in English

I. ˈshȯ(ə)r]t, -ȯ(ə)], usu ]d.+V\ adjective

( -er/-est )

Etymology: Middle English short, shert, from Old English scort, sceort; akin to Old High German scurz short, Old Norse skort, skortr lack, skorta to be lacking, skera to cut — more at shear


a. : having little length : not extending far from end to end

the big guns pointed short , ugly snouts seaward — Bill Davidson

short pouting lips — William Empson

b. : having little height : not tall : low

a short man

of short stature

a short smokestack


a. : not extended in time : of brief duration : lasting a little while only

a diversion which brought him short periods of physical peace — Louis Bromfield

a short life

a short season

b. : not retentive for more than a brief period

a short memory

c. : expeditious , quick

wished to make short work of the business — H.E.Scudder

d. : seeming to pass quickly

in the space of a few short years made terrifying headway — R.K.Carr

e. : allowing or requiring little time for preparation or action

short notice


a. of a speech sound : having a relatively short duration

the vowel of dock is shorter than the vowel of dark when the r is not pronounced

b. : indicating the member of a pair of similarly spelled vowel or partly vowel sounds that is descended from a durationally short vowel but that now is not durationally short or does not have duration as its chief distinguishing feature

short a in fat

short e in equity

short i in sin

short o in odd

short u in fuss


(1) of a syllable in Greek or Latin verse : of relatively brief duration

(2) of a syllable in English verse : unstressed


a. : limited in vision or range

the windows on to the outer world were few, and the view from them was short and uninviting — R.W.Southern

b. : limited in distance : not covering much ground or space

a short walk

a short trip

a short flight

c. archaic : traveling only a few miles — used of a train or train passenger


a. : not coming up to a measure, standard, or requirement

eliminate adulteration, short weights and measures — V.S.Alanne

: not sufficient in quantity : inadequate , insufficient , scanty

stockpile critical materials in short supply — J.M.Minifie

on short rations then, trying to live on a dollar a day — R.B.Gehman

b. : not extending, reaching, or traveling far enough

the coat is short on him

the page is two lines short

his throw was short

c. : having an insufficient supply : lacking a needed article or amount — usually used with of or in

short of cash at the end of the month

five dollars short in his accounts

somebody might marry her and leave him short a cook — H.G.Evarts

d. : enduring privation : doing without

local settler families … who may be temporarily short as a result of a poor harvest or bad planning — J.B.Watson

e. : inherently or basically weak in — used with on

long on ambition but short on brains

long on ideas but short on knowledge


a. : abrupt , curt , unceremonious

the service is rendered in a blunt, impersonal, irritated, or short manner — Lou Smyth

was less short with her at such moments than usual — David Walden

b. : quick to respond to provocation : easily aroused

tempers are short in the morning — W.S.Gilbert


a. : recurring quickly in succession — used of recurrent bodily phenomena (as breaths or pulse beats)

b. : having waves that break in quick succession : choppy

their swift currents and steep, short seas — American Guide Series: Massachusetts


a. archaic : not distant in time : near at hand

b. : payable at an early date


a. : easily broken : crumbling readily (as from shortening content) : crisp , friable

short pastry


(1) of metal : brittle under certain conditions — compare cold-short , hot-short , red-short

(2) : lacking tensile strength (as through desiccation)

short lumber stock

(3) : difficult to spread because of excess sanding

short mortar

(4) : defective in tenacity or plasticity

short clay

c. : not flowing readily : sticky

short ink


a. : not lengthy or drawn out in content or style : concise , succinct

could express my faith in shorter terms — John Adams

make a long story short

b. : abbreviated

doc is short for doctor

c. : of or relating to a musical score having the notes and indications of essential parts of a full score condensed onto a few staffs

11. : consisting of or containing chopped or cut straw


a. : consisting of undiluted liquor : straight

a drop of something short

b. of a beverage : served in a relatively small glass usually of five ounces or less : constituting a small measure

a short beer

a short rum punch


a. : not having goods or property that one has sold in anticipation of a fall in prices — usually used with of or in

short of wheat

short in cotton

b. : consisting of, relating to or involving a sale of securities, commodities, or foreign exchange that the seller does not possess or has not contracted for at the time of the sale

a short sale

short contracts

14. : having or containing fewer than the average number of cards in a particular suit ; specifically : having or containing fewer than three cards in a particular suit in bridge


a. : pitched at a spot too near the bowling end to be considered of good length — used of a bowled ball in cricket

b. : placed relatively close to the batsman's wicket — used of a fielder or fielding position

short slip

short mid on

Synonyms: see brief

- in short order

II. adverb

( -er/-est )

Etymology: Middle English, from short, adjective

1. : in a curt manner

always going about in his apron and talking short with everyone — W.D.Steele

2. : for or during a brief time — used in combination

short -lasting

short -living

3. : tightly

caught him up short by his coat lapels — Barnaby Conrad

4. : at a disadvantage : aback , unawares

caught short

taken short

5. : so as to interrupt

took him up short before he could continue

6. : abruptly , suddenly

would halt short , order everybody to be still, and insist that she had heard something — H.L.Davis

7. : at some point or distance before a goal or limit aimed at or approached

his throw fell five yards short

the shells dropped short

8. : clean across

the axle was snapped short

9. : by or as if by a short sale — compare sell short

III. noun

( -s )

Etymology: short (I)

1. : the sum and substance : upshot — usually used with the

the short of it is, in my judgment — A.E.Stevenson †1965


a. : a short musical note

b. : a short syllable

c. : a short sound or signal (as in Morse code)

the buzzer sounded in the hall: three longs and a short — Harold Brodkey

3. shorts plural

a. : a by-product of wheat milling that includes the germ, fine bran, and a small amount of flour

b. : refuse, clippings, or trimmings, discarded in various manufacturing processes

4. : straight liquor

5. shorts plural

a. : smallclothes 1

b. : knee-length or less than knee-length trousers made in various styles for informal wear or sportswear

c. : short drawers


a. : one who purchases or operates on the short side of the market — compare bear I 3b

b. shorts plural : short-term bonds

7. shorts plural : items that are lacking to make up a quantity or total : deficiencies ; specifically : the copies of different printed sheets needed to complete an imperfect edition

8. : something of less than a full or required length: as

a. shorts plural : lumber of less than standard length

b. : a fish or lobster of less than the length required for legal catching

c. : a clothing size for short men

d. : one of the smaller standard firearm cartridges

e. : a short often documentary or educational film shown with a full-length feature or as part of a program of short films

f. : a brief news story or feature item in a newspaper or periodical

9. : something that falls short ; specifically : a shot that strikes or bursts short of the target

10. : short circuit


a. : shortstop

plays a fine short

b. : short field

hit the ball to deep short

- for short

- in short

- the short and long

IV. transitive verb

( -ed/-ing/-s )

Etymology: short (I)

1. : to supply with less than is customary, needed, or expected

shorted him on his favorite hog jowl and turnip greens — Time

2. : shortchange , cheat

slugged a … weighman who was shorting him at the scales — Irish Digest

3. : short-circuit

V. adjective

: near the end of one's tour of duty

VI. transitive verb

: to sell (as stocks) short

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.