• Short


    • RP IPA: /ʃɔːt/
    • US enPR: shôrt, IPA: /ʃɔɹt/
    • St. Louis IPA: ʃɑɹt
    • Rhymes: -ɔː(ɹ)t


    From Middle English short, schort, from Old English sċeort, scort ("short"), from Proto-Germanic *skurtaz ("short"), from Proto-Indo-European *(s)k(ʷ)Art-, *(s)k(ʷ)Ard- ("short"). Cognate with Scots short, schort ("short"), Old High German scurz ("short") (whence ((etyl|gmh|-} schurz), Old Norse skorta ("to lack") (whence Danish skorte), Albanian shkurt ("short, brief"), Latin curtus ("shortened, incomplete"), Russian короткий ("short, brief"). More at shirt.

    Full definition of short



    1. Having a small distance from one end or edge to another, either horizontally or vertically.
    2. (of a person) Of comparatively little height.
    3. Having little duration; opposite of long.
      • 2012, Anna Lena Phillips, Sneaky Silk Moths, Last spring, the periodical cicadas emerged across eastern North America. Their vast numbers and short above-ground life spans inspired awe and irritation in humans—and made for good meals for birds and small mammals.
    4. Our meeting was a short six minutes today. Every day for the past month it's been at least twenty minutes long.
    5. (followed by for) Of a word or phrase, constituting an abbreviation (for another) or shortened form (of another).“Phone” is short for “telephone” and "asap" short for "as soon as possible".
    6. (cricket, Of a ball) that bounced relatively far from the batsman.
    7. (cricket, Of a fielder or fielding position) that is relatively close to the batsman.
    8. Brittle (of pastry, and some metals); see also shortening, shortcrust.
    9. Abrupt; brief; pointed; petulant.He gave a short answer to the question.
    10. Limited in quantity; inadequate; insufficient; scanty.a short supply of provisions
    11. Insufficiently provided; inadequately supplied; scantily furnished; lacking.to be short of moneyThe cashier came up short ten dollars on his morning shift.
    12. Deficient; less; not coming up to a measure or standard.an account which is short of the truth
      • LandorHardly anything short of an invasion could rouse them again to war.
    13. (obsolete) Not distant in time; near at hand.
      • SpenserMarinell was sore offended
        That his departure thence should be so short.
      • ClarendonHe commanded those who were appointed to attend him to be ready by a short day.
    14. In a financial investment position that is structured to be profitable if the price of the underlying security declines in the future.I'm short General Motors because I think their sales are plunging.

    Usage notes

    (having a small distance between ends or edges) Short is often used in the positive vertical dimension and used as is shallow in the negative vertical dimension; in the horizontal dimension narrow is more commonly used.



    • (having a small distance between ends or edges) tall, high, wide, broad, deep, long
    • (of a person, of comparatively little height) tall
    • (having little duration) long
    • (cricket, of a fielder or fielding position, relatively close to the batsman) long



    1. Abruptly, curtly, briefly.They had to stop short to avoid hitting the dog in the street.He cut me short repeatedly in the meeting.The boss got a message and cut the meeting short.
    2. Unawares.The recent developments at work caught them short.
    3. Without achieving a goal or requirement.His speech fell short of what was expected.
    4. (cricket, of the manner of bounce of a cricket ball) Relatively far from the batsman and hence bouncing higher than normal; opposite of full.
    5. (finance) With a negative ownership position.We went short most finance companies in July.



    (plural shorts)
    1. A short circuit.
    2. A short film.
      • 2012 July 12, Sam Adams, AV Club Ice Age: Continental Drifthttp://www.avclub.com/articles/ice-age-continental-drift,82358/Preceded by a Simpsons short shot in 3-D—perhaps the only thing more superfluous than a fourth Ice Age movie—Ice Age: Continental Drift finds a retinue of vaguely contemporaneous animals coping with life in the post-Pangaea age.
    3. Used to indicate a short-length version of a size38 short suits fit me right off the rack.Do you have that size in a short.
    4. (baseball) A shortstop.Jones smashes a grounder between third and short.
    5. (finance) A short seller.The market decline was terrible, but the shorts were buying champagne.
    6. (finance) A short sale.He closed out his short at a modest loss after three months.
    7. A summary account.
      • ShakespeareThe short and the long is, our play is preferred.
    8. (phonetics) A short sound, syllable, or vowel.
      • H. SweetIf we compare the nearest conventional shorts and longs in English, as in "bit" and "beat", "not" and "naught", we find that the short vowels are generally wide, the long narrow, besides being generally diphthongic as well.
    9. (programming) An integer variable shorter than normal integers; usually two bytes long.


    1. (transitive) To cause a short circuit in (something).
    2. (intransitive) Of an electrical circuit, to short circuit.
    3. (transitive) To shortchange.
    4. (transitive) To provide with a smaller than agreed or labeled amount.This is the third time I've caught them shorting us.
    5. (transitive, business) To sell something, especially securities, that one does not own at the moment for delivery at a later date in hopes of profiting from a decline in the price; to sell short.
    6. (obsolete) To shorten.


    1. Deficient in.We are short a few men on the second shift.He's short common sense.
    2. (finance) Having a negative position in.I don't want to be short the market going into the weekend.


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