having little length; not long.
having little height; not tall: a short man.
extending or reaching only a little way: a short path.
brief in duration; not extensive in time: a short wait.
brief or concise, as writing.
low in amount; scanty: short rations.
not reaching a point, mark, target, or the like; not long enough or far enough.
below the standard in extent, quantity, duration, etc.: short measure.
having a scanty or insufficient amount of (often followed by in or on): He was short in experience.
being below a necessary or desired level; lacking: The office is short due to winter colds and flu.
(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.
(of the head or skull) of less than ordinary length from front to back.
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: You can cover your short transactions by purchasing securities in the distribution at the reduced price.
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.
(of an alcoholic drink) small: a short drink.
Chiefly British. (of whiskey) undiluted; straight.
Ceramics. (of clay) not plastic enough to be modeled.
Ropemaking. hard (def. 39).
on the near side of an intended or particular point: The arrow landed short.
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.
something that is short.
that which is deficient or lacking.
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. 31a).
remnants, discards, or refuse of various cutting and manufacturing processes.
a size of garment for men who are shorter than average: He wears a 42 short.
a garment, as a suit or overcoat, in such a size.
Military. a shot that strikes or bursts short of the target.
Electricity. short circuit.
Prosody. a short sound or syllable.
Baseball. shortstop (def. 1a).
Movies. short subject.
Finance. short seller.
a deficiency or the amount of a deficiency.
Chiefly British. a small drink of straight whiskey; shot.
Stock Exchange. to sell (stocks, commodities, etc.) that one does not possess, with the intent of making a profit by purchasing them later at a lower price: He speculates on bubbles by shorting stocks that are overpriced, overhyped, and overdue for a slide.
Idioms about short
cut short, to end abruptly; terminate: Her nap was cut short by a loud noise from outside.
fall / come short,
to fail to reach a particular standard.
to prove insufficient; be lacking: Her funds fell short, and she had to wire home for help.
for short, by way of abbreviation: Her name is Patricia, and she's called Pat for short.
in few words; in brief: In short, this has been rather a disappointing day.
make short work of. work (def. 53).
run short, to be in insufficient supply: My patience is running short.
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.
short and sweet. See entry at short and sweet.
short for, being a shorter form of; abbreviated to: “Phone” is short for “telephone.”
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.
- short·ness, noun
- o·ver·short, adjective
- o·ver·short·ness, noun
- un·short, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use short in a sentence
In short, he moved closer to Pelosi’s position after a monthlong showdown.Trump moves closer to Pelosi in economic aid talks, and House speaker must decide next move | Rachael Bade, Erica Werner | September 17, 2020 | Washington Post
Antebellum, the film, has its roots in a short story the duo wrote in October 2017.‘Antebellum’ tackles the past head on in an effort to ‘move forward’ | radmarya | September 17, 2020 | Fortune
When a QED calculation leads to an infinite sum, cut it short.How Mathematical ‘Hocus-Pocus’ Saved Particle Physics | Charlie Wood | September 17, 2020 | Quanta Magazine
Rapid short-term cooling following the Chicxulub impact at the Cretaceous–Paleogene boundary.
For best results, cut a short section of FireCord and remove the red strand.This essential survival tool can save your life 10 different ways | By Tim MacWelch/Outdoor Life | September 15, 2020 | Popular-Science
As this list shows, punishments typically run to a short-ish jail sentence and/or a moderately hefty fine.
The precision it took to craft such a cohesive, wholly compelling work over 12 years is nothing short of remarkable.Oscars 2015: The Daily Beast’s Picks, From Scarlett Johansson to ‘Boyhood’ | Marlow Stern | January 6, 2015 | THE DAILY BEAST
In short, fatherhood gets little attention in policy debates.
But the qualities Mario Cuomo brought to public life—compassion, integrity, commitment to principle—remain in short supply today.
In short, we found ways to couch messages of failure or inadequacy.Random Hook-Ups or Dry Spells: Why Millennials Flunk College Dating | Ellie Schaack | January 1, 2015 | THE DAILY BEAST
Sometimes the stems are quite bare; on other occasions they are partly branched; in any case the branches are short.How to Know the Ferns | S. Leonard Bastin
Many of their cannon balls that fell far short of us, were collected and returned to them with powerful effect.
He was tall and of familiar figure, and the firelight was playing in the tossed curls of his short, fair hair.The Bondboy | George W. (George Washington) Ogden
They are ovoid in shape, and lie in pairs, end to end, often forming short chains.A Manual of Clinical Diagnosis | James Campbell Todd
And since he was a very fast runner—for short distances—he met Grandfather Mole just as the old chap was crawling up the bank.The Tale of Grandfather Mole | Arthur Scott Bailey
British Dictionary definitions for short
of little length; not long
of little height; not tall
of limited duration
not meeting a requirement; deficient: the 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
lacking in the power of retentiveness: a short memory
abrupt to the point of rudeness: the salesgirl was very short with him
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
(of pastry) crumbly in texture: See 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
abruptly: to stop short
briefly or concisely
rudely or curtly
finance without possessing the securities or commodities at the time of their contractual sale: to sell short
caught short or taken short having a sudden need to urinate or defecate
to prove inadequate
(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 except: nothing 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
a short contract or sale
a short seller
a short film, usually of a factual nature
for short informal as an abbreviation: he is called Jim for short
as a summary
in a few words
- See also shorts
- shortness, noun
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
Other Idioms and Phrases with short
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
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.