Nearby words

  1. shoreward,
  2. shoreweed,
  3. shorewood,
  4. shoring,
  5. shorn,
  6. short account,
  7. short and sweet,
  8. short ballot,
  9. short bill,
  10. short bone


Origin of short

before 900; Middle English schort (adj.), Old English sceort; cognate with Old High German scurz short, Old Norse skortr shortness, scarcity

4. Short, brief are opposed to long, and indicate slight extent or duration. Short may imply duration but is also applied to physical distance and certain purely spatial relations: a short journey. Brief refers especially to duration of time: brief intervals. 5. terse, succinct, laconic, condensed. 6. curt, sharp, testy. 7. poor, deficient, inadequate, wanting, lacking. 12. crumbly. 14. brachycephalic.

3, 4. long.

Related formsshort·ness, nouno·ver·short, adjectiveo·ver·short·ness, nounun·short, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for run short



of little length; not long
of little height; not tall
of limited duration
not meeting a requirement; deficientthe number of places laid at the table was short by four
(postpositive; often foll by of or on) lacking (in) or needful (of)I'm always short of money
concise; succinct
lacking in the power of retentivenessa short memory
abrupt to the point of rudenessthe salesgirl was very short with him
  1. not possessing the securities or commodities that have been sold under contract and therefore obliged to make a purchase before the delivery date
  2. of or relating to such sales, which depend on falling prices for profit
  1. denoting a vowel of relatively brief temporal duration
  2. classified as short, as distinguished from other vowels. Thus in English (ɪ) in bin, though of longer duration than () in beat, is nevertheless regarded as a short vowel
  3. (in popular usage) denoting the qualities of the five English vowels represented orthographically in the words pat, pet, pit, pot, put, and putt
  1. 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
  2. (of a vowel or syllable in verse that is not quantitative) not carrying emphasis or accent; unstressed
(of pastry) crumbly in textureSee also shortcrust pastry
(of a drink of spirits) undiluted; neat
(of betting odds) almost even
have someone by the short and curlies informal to have (someone) completely in one's power
in short supply scarce
short and sweet unexpectedly brief
short for an abbreviation for


abruptlyto stop short
briefly or concisely
rudely or curtly
finance without possessing the securities or commodities at the time of their contractual saleto sell short
caught short or taken short having a sudden need to urinate or defecate
fall short
  1. to prove inadequate
  2. (often foll by of)to fail to reach or measure up to (a standard)
go short not to have a sufficient amount, etc
short of exceptnothing short of a miracle can save him now


anything that is short
a drink of spirits as opposed to a long drink such as beer
phonetics prosody a short vowel or syllable
  1. a short contract or sale
  2. a short seller
a short film, usually of a factual nature
for short informal as an abbreviationhe is called Jim for short
in short
  1. as a summary
  2. in a few words


See also shorts

Derived Formsshortness, noun

Word Origin for short

Old English scort; related to Old Norse skortr a lack, skera to cut, Old High German scurz short

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

Word Origin and History for run short
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with run short

run short

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

also see:

  • 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
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.