- lasting or taking a short time; of short duration: a brief walk; a brief stay in the country.
- using few words; concise; succinct: a brief report on weather conditions.
- abrupt or curt.
- scanty: a brief bathing suit.
- a short and concise statement or written item.
- an outline, the form of which is determined by set rules, of all the possible arguments and information on one side of a controversy: a debater's brief.
- a writ summoning one to answer to any action.
- a memorandum of points of fact or of law for use in conducting a case.
- a written argument submitted to a court.
- (in England) the material relevant to a case, delivered by a solicitor to the barrister who tries the case.
- an outline, summary, or synopsis, as of a book.
- briefs, (used with a plural verb) close-fitting, legless underpants with an elastic waistband.
- a briefing.
- Roman Catholic Church. a papal letter less formal than a bull, sealed with the pope's signet ring or stamped with the device borne on this ring.
- British Theater. a free ticket; pass.
- Obsolete. a letter.
- to make an abstract or summary of.
- to instruct by a brief or briefing: They brief all the agents before assigning them.
- Law. to retain as advocate in a suit.
- hold a brief for, to support or defend by argument; endorse.
- in brief, in a few words; in short: The supervisor outlined in brief the duties of the new assistant.
Origin of brief
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for briefest
STAMPER nods—we see the briefest flicker of fear in his eyes, but it is immediately replaced with resolve.Frank Underwood Will Not Tolerate Insubordination in This Olive Garden
Kelly Williams Brown
February 24, 2014
But the president made only the briefest of bows toward “modest” Medicare changes, entitlement reform, and tax reform.Obama’s State of the Union Almost Upstaged by Dorner Shootout
February 13, 2013
The briefest glance at David's productivity and output during his tenure there ought to put the quietus on that canard.The Frum Flap
March 27, 2010
There was the briefest of lulls in jokes when Obama said he was proud of his Supreme Court nominee, Sonia Sotomayor.Obama's 6 Funniest Moments from the Correspondents' Dinner
The Daily Beast Video
June 20, 2009
He is still described as having the briefest of attention spans—and the hottest of tempers.Hollywood's New Don
June 8, 2009
It is possible to give only the briefest outline of this fascinating subject.The Truth About Woman
C. Gasquoine Hartley
The others had left her, with farewells, if any, of the briefest.The Avenger
E. Phillips Oppenheim
The briefest of pauses was it, yet it was not the accident it appeared to be.The Tavern Knight
And then for the briefest moment, except for the stream, utter silence.The Vagrant Duke
Rebstock lifted his eyes from his plate for the briefest kind of a moment.The Mountain Divide
Frank H. Spearman
- short in durationa brief holiday
- short in length or extent; scantya brief bikini
- abrupt in manner; brusquethe professor was brief with me this morning
- terse or concise; containing few wordshe made a brief statement
- a condensed or short statement or written synopsis; abstract
- law a document containing all the facts and points of law of a case by which a solicitor instructs a barrister to represent a client
- RC Church a letter issuing from the Roman court written in modern characters, as contrasted with a papal bull; papal brief
- short for briefing
- a paper outlining the arguments and information on one side of a debate
- British slang a lawyer, esp a barrister
- hold a brief for to argue for; champion
- in brief in short; to sum up
- to prepare or instruct by giving a summary of relevant facts
- to make a summary or synopsis of
- English law
- to instruct (a barrister) by brief
- to retain (a barrister) as counsel
- (intr foll by against) to supply potentially damaging or negative information regarding somone, as to the media, a politician, etcSee also briefs
Word Origin and History for briefest
late 13c., from Latin brevis (adj.) "short, low, little, shallow," from PIE *mregh-wi-, from root *mregh-u- "short" (cf. Greek brakhys "short," Old Church Slavonic bruzeja "shallow places, shoals," Gothic gamaurgjan "to shorten").
from Latin breve (genitive brevis), noun derivative of adjective brevis (see brief (adj.)) which came to mean "letter, summary," specifically a letter of the pope (less ample and solemn than a bull), and thus came to mean "letter of authority," which yielded the modern, legal sense of "summary of the facts of a case" (1630s).