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See more synonyms for shorthand on Thesaurus.com
  1. a method of rapid handwriting using simple strokes, abbreviations, or symbols that designate letters, words, or phrases (distinguished from longhand).
  2. a simplified or makeshift manner or system of communication: We spoke in a kind of pidgin shorthand to overcome the language barrier.
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  1. using or able to use shorthand.
  2. written in shorthand.
  3. of or relating to shorthand.
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Origin of shorthand

First recorded in 1630–40; short + hand
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for shorthand

print, handwriting, script, calligraphy, transcription, chirography, hand, scrawl, scribble, autograph, cuneiform, shorthand, hieroglyphics, longhand, correspondence, notes, record, copy, stenography, phonography

Examples from the Web for shorthand

Contemporary Examples of shorthand

Historical Examples of shorthand

  • Closely looked at, all novel-writing is a sort of shorthand.

  • He could read in my face that I was guilty, and he demanded my shorthand note-book.

    The Crevice

    William John Burns and Isabel Ostrander

  • But you don't suppose I took notes in shorthand of what we said to each other, do you?


    Charles James Lever

  • Instead of going into logarithms, Henry went into shorthand.

    A Great Man

    Arnold Bennett

  • The youth was serious, industrious, and trustworthy, and in shorthand incomparable.

    A Great Man

    Arnold Bennett

British Dictionary definitions for shorthand


    1. a system of rapid handwriting employing simple strokes and other symbols to represent words or phrases
    2. (as modifier)a shorthand typist
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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 shorthand


method of rapid writing, 1636, from short (adj.) in the "rapid" sense + hand (n.) "handwriting." Short-handed "having too few 'hands' " is from 1794; the ice hockey sense is recorded from 1939.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper