- 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 for on Thesaurus.com
Related Wordspithy, concise, terse, abrupt, succinct, blunt, temporary, short-lived, quick, fleeting, swift, momentary, prepare, explain, apprise, update, inform, instruct, advise, limited
Examples from the Web for brief
In his brief appearance today, Scalise never mentioned Duke.The Price of Steve Scalise’s Silence
January 7, 2015
Before we get to all that, permit me a brief reflection on this matter of Steve Scalise.Steve Scalise and the Right’s Ridiculous Racial Blame Game
January 2, 2015
Hawking, of course, came to global fame with his book A Brief History of Time.Why Can’t Movies Capture Genius?
December 14, 2014
Even when financial facilitators are arrested, incarceration is brief.U.S. Ally Qatar Shelters Jihadi Moneymen
December 10, 2014
Even the brief time spent chewing exposes foods to enzymes that begin to break it down.‘Rectal Feeding’ Has Nothing to Do with Nutrition, Everything to Do with Torture
December 10, 2014
From one enemy of Robert the transition is brief and natural to another.
He made his way to the house of Squire Paine, and, after a brief pause, was admitted.
It concerns myself, and will therefore be as brief as possible.
We regret that his tours are so rapid, and his journals so brief.
He made a brief gesture, like one wiping an obstacle out of the way.Way of the Lawless
- 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 brief
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).
Idioms and Phrases with brief
see hold no brief for; in brief.