[ breef-lee ]
/ ˈbrif li /
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for a short duration: He stopped over briefly in Chicago.
in a few words: Let me explain briefly.
in a brief manner; quickly or brusquely: She nodded briefly and began to speak.
Should you take this quiz on “shall” versus “should”? It should prove to be a quick challenge!
Question 1 of 6
Which form is used to state an obligation or duty someone has?

Origin of briefly

Middle English word dating back to 1250–1300; see origin at brief, -ly

Words nearby briefly

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does briefly mean?

Briefly means for a short amount of time.

It can also mean concisely or in a few words, as opposed to in a longer manner, as in State your main argument briefly in a sentence or two.

Briefly is the adverb form of the adjective brief, which most commonly means lasting a short time or concise. Because it’s an adverb, briefly is used to describe verbs (actions), as in I briefly considered it, or adjectives, as in The conversation was briefly tense, but then everyone started to get along.

Example: It rained briefly, probably only for a few minutes.

Where does briefly come from?

The first records of the word briefly come from the 1200s. Its base word, brief, ultimately comes from the Latin brevis, meaning “short.” The suffix -ly is used to form adverbs.

Briefly is most commonly used to describe actions that happen only for a short time, often because there isn’t a lot of time in which to do them, as in I only have a few minutes before I have to leave, so I can only briefly discuss our plans for tonight. When you do something briefly, you do it for a short amount of time, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you do it quickly. However, a less common sense of the word briefly does mean “in a quick, abrupt, or brusque manner.” This sense of the word can imply a certain rudeness that’s not implied when briefly means “for a short time” or “concise.” For example, if you say that a person dealt with you briefly, it may mean that you think they should have taken a bit more time rather than brushing you off so quickly.

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What are some other forms related to briefly?

What are some synonyms for briefly?

What are some words that share a root or word element with briefly

What are some words that often get used in discussing briefly?

How is briefly used in real life?

Briefly is a very common word and perhaps the briefest way to say “in a short amount of time.”



Try using briefly!

Which of the following words is NOT a synonym of briefly?

A. abruptly
B. brusquely
C. concisely
D. protractedly

How to use briefly in a sentence