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[shawrt-hand] /ˈʃɔrtˌhænd/
a method of rapid handwriting using simple strokes, abbreviations, or symbols that designate letters, words, or phrases (distinguished from longhand).
a simplified or makeshift manner or system of communication:
We spoke in a kind of pidgin shorthand to overcome the language barrier.
using or able to use shorthand.
written in shorthand.
of or relating to shorthand.
Origin of shorthand
First recorded in 1630-40; short + hand Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for short-hand
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Mrs. Fortescue says, 'that he is a complete master of short-hand writing.'

    Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9) Samuel Richardson
  • She was taking lessons in short-hand and type-writing in the afternoons.

    Mary Gray Katharine Tynan
  • Lady Agatha dictated it, and Mary took it down in short-hand.

    Mary Gray Katharine Tynan
  • In the short-hand of the police-courts, you had better call it suicide.

  • I must have a stenographer of course, a short-hand typist, if I do begin this thing.

    Man and Maid Elinor Glyn
  • Mr. Walter sat at a table near, prepared to take notes in short-hand.

    Ruth Hall Fanny Fern
  • Horaces vestry-man friend was what is known as a short-hand reporter.

    Friar Tuck Robert Alexander Wason
  • Where was Gurney, the short-hand writer; where was Sherer, and what had become of Morton?

  • I write my thoughts in short-hand, and copy at leisure for the press.

    Ladies on Horseback Nannie Lambert
British Dictionary definitions for short-hand


  1. a system of rapid handwriting employing simple strokes and other symbols to represent words or phrases
  2. (as modifier): a shorthand typist
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for short-hand



method of rapid writing, 1636, from short (adj.) in the "rapid" sense + hand (n.) "handwriting." Short-handed "having too few 'hands' " is from 1794; the ice hockey sense is recorded from 1939.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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