- not having the usual or necessary number of workers, helpers, etc.
Origin of short-handed
First recorded in 1615–25
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for short-handed
The Sterling was short-handed this passage, mustering but four hands in a watch.Ned Myers
James Fenimore Cooper
They're short-handed anyhow and a fellow likes to help what he can.
We were too short-handed ourselves to spare a single soldier.Reminiscences of Forts Sumter and Moultrie in 1860-'61
“We are short-handed enough as it is,” he told me, when he joined us on the poop.The Mutiny of the Elsinore
When a ship has an insufficient complement, or is short-handed.The Sailor's Word-Book
William Henry Smyth
- lacking the usual or necessary number of assistants, workers, etc
- sport, US and Canadian with less than the full complement of players
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