adjective, short·er, short·est.
- (of pastry and the like) crisp and flaky; breaking or crumbling readily from being made with a large proportion of butter or other shortening.
- (of dough) containing a relatively large amount of shortening.
- not possessing at the time of sale commodities or stocks that one sells.
- noting or pertaining to a sale of commodities or stocks that the seller does not possess, depending for profit on a decline in prices.
- lasting a relatively short time: “Bit” has a shorter vowel-sound than “bid” or “bead.”
- belonging to a class of sounds considered as usually shorter in duration than another class, as the vowel of but as compared to that of bought, and in many languages serving as a distinctive feature of phonemes, as the a in German Bann in contrast with the ah in Bahn, or the t in Italian fato in contrast with the tt in fatto (opposed to long).
- having the sound of the English vowels in bat, bet, bit, hot, but, and put, historically descended from vowels that were short in duration.
- (of a syllable in quantitative verse) lasting a relatively shorter time than a long syllable.
- unstressed(def 1).
- with the hands higher on the handle of the bat than usual: He held the bat short and flied out.
- in a fielding position closer to home plate than usual.
- trousers, knee-length or shorter.
- short pants worn by men as an undergarment.
- knee breeches, formerly worn by men.
- Finance.short-term bonds.
- Mining.crushed ore failing to pass through a given screen, thus being of a larger given size than a specific grade.Compare fine1(def 28a).
- remnants, discards, or refuse of various cutting and manufacturing processes.
verb (used with object)
verb (used without object)
- short account,
- short and sweet,
- short ballot,
- short bill,
- short bone
- to fail to reach a particular standard.
- to prove insufficient; be lacking: Her funds fell short, and she had to wire home for help.
- in summary.
- in few words; in brief: In short, this has been rather a disappointing day.
- Stock Exchange.to sell stocks or the like without having them in one's actual possession at the time of the sale.
- to disparage or underestimate: Don't sell Tom short; he's really an excellent engineer.
- pleasantly brief.
- pertinent: We're in a hurry, so make it short and sweet.
- less than; inferior to.
- inadequately supplied with (money, food, etc.).
- without going to the length of; failing of; excluding: Short of murder, there is nothing he wouldn't have tried to get what he wanted.
Origin of short
- not possessing the securities or commodities that have been sold under contract and therefore obliged to make a purchase before the delivery date
- of or relating to such sales, which depend on falling prices for profit
- denoting a vowel of relatively brief temporal duration
- classified as short, as distinguished from other vowels. Thus in English (ɪ) in bin, though of longer duration than (iː) in beat, is nevertheless regarded as a short vowel
- (in popular usage) denoting the qualities of the five English vowels represented orthographically in the words pat, pet, pit, pot, put, and putt
- denoting a vowel that is phonetically short or a syllable containing such a vowel. In classical verse short vowels are followed by one consonant only or sometimes one consonant plus a following l or r
- (of a vowel or syllable in verse that is not quantitative) not carrying emphasis or accent; unstressed
- to prove inadequate
- (often foll by of)to fail to reach or measure up to (a standard)
- a short contract or sale
- a short seller
- as a summary
- in a few words
Word Origin for short
Old English sceort, scort "short, not long, not tall; brief," probably from Proto-Germanic *skurta- (cf. Old Norse skorta "to be short of," skort "shortness;" Old High German scurz "short"), from PIE root *(s)ker- (1) "to cut," with notion of "something cut off" (cf. Sanskrit krdhuh "shortened, maimed, small;" Latin curtus "short," cordus "late-born," originally "stunted in growth;" Old Church Slavonic kratuku, Russian korotkij "short;" Lithuanian skurstu "to be stunted," skardus "steep;" Old Irish cert "small," Middle Irish corr "stunted, dwarfish").
Meaning "having an insufficient quantity" is from 1690s. Meaning "rude" is attested from late 14c. Meaning "easily provoked" is from 1590s; perhaps the notion is of being "not long in tolerating." Short fuse in figurative sense of "quick temper" first attested 1968. To fall short is from archery. Short run "relatively brief period of time" is from 1879. Short story first recorded 1877. To make short work of "dispose of quickly" is first attested 1570s. Phrase short and sweet is from 1530s. To be short by the knees (1733) was to be kneeling; to be short by the head (1540s) was to be beheaded.
1580s, the short "the result, the total," from short (adj.). Meaning "electrical short circuit" first recorded 1906 (see short circuit). Meaning "contraction of a name or phrase" is from 1873 (as in for short). Slang meaning "car" is attested from 1897; originally "street car," so called because street cars (or the rides taken in them) were "shorter" than railroad cars.
Old English sceortian "to grow short, become short; run short, fail," from the source of short (adj.). Transitive meaning "make short" is from late 12c. Meaning "to short-circuit" is by 1904. Related: Shorted; shorting.
Use something up so that a supply runs out or becomes insufficient, as in We ran short of envelopes, or The organization is running short of money. [Mid-1700s]
In addition to the idioms beginning with short
- short and sweet
- short end of the stick, the
- short for
- short haul
- short notice, on
- short of
- short order
- short run
- short shrift, give
- by the short hairs
- caught short
- cut short
- fall short
- for short
- in brief (short)
- in short order
- in short supply
- in the long (short) run
- life is too short
- long and short of it
- long (short) haul
- make a long story short
- make short work of
- nothing short of
- run short
- sell short
- stop short