short1 S1 W1 comparative shorter, superlative shortest
happening or continuing for only a little time or for less time than usual [≠ long]:
a short meeting
Morris gave a short laugh.
a short course on business English
Winter is coming and the days are getting shorter.
I've only been in Brisbane a short time.
For a short while (=a short time), the city functioned as the region's capital.
I learned a lot during my short period as a junior reporter.
Germany achieved spectacular economic success in a relatively short period of time.
They met and married within a short space of time.
I promise to keep the meeting short and sweet (=short in a way that is good, especially not talking for a long time).
For a few short weeks (=they seemed to pass very quickly) the sun shone and the fields turned gold.
measuring a small amount in length or distance [≠ long]:
a short skirt
Anita had her hair cut short.
They went by the shortest route, across the fields.
Carol's office was only a short distance away, and she decided that she would walk there.
a short walk/flight/drive
It's a short drive to the airport.
The hotel is only a short walk from the beach.
someone who is short is not as tall as most people [≠ tall]:
a short plump woman
Chris was short and stocky, with broad shoulders.
He's a bit shorter than me.
a book, letter etc that is short does not have many words or pages [≠ long]: ➔ short story
a short novel
I wrote a short note to explain.
if you are short of something, you do not have enough of it
be short (of something)
Can you lend me a couple of dollars? I'm a little short.
be short of money/cash/funds
Our libraries are short of funds.
be 5p/$10 etc short
Have you all paid me? I'm about £9 short.
I'm a bit short British English spoken (=I haven't got much money at the moment)
if something is short, there is not enough of it:
Money was short in those days.
It's going to be difficult - time is short.
Gasoline was in short supply (=not enough of it was available) after the war.
to have less of something than you should have:
He's a nice guy, but a little short on brains.
The President's speech was long on colorful phrases but short on solutions.
a little less than a number
Her time was only 2 seconds short of the world record.
just/a little short of something
She was just short of six feet tall.
if something is short notice, you are told about it only a short time before it happens:
I can't make it Friday. It's very short notice.
during the period of time that is not very far into the future [↪ short-term]:
These measures may save money in the short term, but we'll end up spending more later.
if someone has a short memory, they soon forget something that has happened:
Voters have very short memories.
to be a shorter way of saying a name:
Her name is Alex, short for Alexandra.
to be unable to breathe easily, especially because you are unhealthy:
He couldn't walk far without getting short of breath.
to speak to someone using very few words, in a way that seems rude or unfriendly:
Sorry I was short with you on the phone this morning.
to get angry very easily:
Mr Yanto, who had a very short fuse, told her to get out.
if you or your idea, suggestion etc is given short shrift, you are told immediately that you are wrong and are not given any attention or sympathy:
McLaren got short shrift from all the record companies when he first presented his new band to them in 1976.
used to emphasize that something is very good, very surprising etc:
Her recovery seemed nothing short of a miracle.
The results are little short of astonishing.
to be given something difficult or unpleasant to do, especially when other people have been given something better:
Giles drew the short straw, and has to give us a talk this morning.
to finish something quickly and easily, especially food or a job:
The kids made short work of the sandwiches.
Computers can make short work of complex calculations.
19 also have/get somebody by the short hairs British English informal not polite
to put someone in a situation in which they are forced to do or accept what you want:
• I signed the contract - they've got me by the short and curlies.
used humorously to say that someone is a little crazy or stupid:
Lady, are you a few aces short of a deck?
21 British English
when workers work for fewer hours than usual, because the company cannot afford to pay them their full wage:
Most of the workers were put on short time.
in a short time and without delay
23 British English old-fashioned
to give someone less than the correct amount of something, especially in a shop
a short vowel is pronounced quickly without being emphasized, for example the sound of a in 'cat', e in 'bet', and i in 'bit' [≠ long]
—shortness noun [uncountable]
He was suffering from shortness of breath.
Shirley was very conscious of her shortness and always wore high heels.
➔ life's too shortat life (27)WORD FOCUS: short
speech/piece of writing: brief, concise, condensed, abridged
person: not very tall, little, tiny, petite
time/event: brief, quick, momentary, fleeting, ephemeral, transient, passing, short-lived
legs/fingers: stumpy, stubby