- 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 briefs
Sometimes when a woman asks him to sign her briefs, it turns out she's still wearing them.Will the Real Jim Palmer Please Stand Up
September 27, 2014
One afternoon at 5:30 p.m., we sit in the dining room as Doug briefs the staff about the evening special: Hawaiian pink snapper.A Magical Meal at Louie’s Backyard in the Conch Republic
Jane & Michael Stern
July 13, 2014
But these briefs are serious in tone even though Ilya is funny in person.My Reverse-Cyrano Moment Wooing the Supreme Court
P. J. O’Rourke
March 30, 2014
He also wrote that he liked to wear “the briefs that are like boxers.”Erbie Bowser: A ‘Gentle Giant’ Who Snapped
August 9, 2013
He then goes on to do some stretches in his briefs, undoubtedly a pleasant surprise for some moviegoers.Zac Efron, Tom Cruise & More Actors in Their Tighty Whities (VIDEO)
October 4, 2012
Briefs in all those cases were, to a great extent, prepared by Judge Willson.Cleveland Past and Present
It's better to work than sit still and wait for briefs which never corns.Young Mr. Barter's Repentance
David Christie Murray
Quentyns had been called to the Bar, and was already beginning to receive "briefs."A Young Mutineer
Mrs. L. T. Meade
When the briefs begin to come in, we'll see about something better.The Giant's Robe
If I trust to briefs, my existence will be but brief—we all must live.Olla Podrida
Frederick Marryat (AKA Captain Marryat)
- men's underpants or women's pants without legs
- 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 briefs
"short, tight underwear," 1934, from brief (adj.).
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).