adj. short·er, short·est
1. Having little length; not long.
2. Having little height; not tall.
3. Extending or traveling not far or not far enough: a short toss.
a. Lasting a brief time: a short holiday.
b. Appearing to pass quickly: finished the job in a few short months.
5. Not lengthy; succinct: short and to the point.
a. Rudely brief; abrupt: The owner was quite short with the new hire.
b. Easily provoked; irascible: has a short temper.
7. Inadequate; insufficient: oil in short supply; were short on experience.
8. Lacking in length or amount: a board that is short two inches.
9. Lacking in breadth or scope: a short view of the problem.
10. Deficient in retentiveness: a short memory.
a. Holding a trading position that is inversely related to the price of a security or index: short investors; an investor who is short gold.
b. Of or relating to a short sale: a short position.
a. Containing a large amount of shortening; flaky: a short pie crust.
b. Not ductile; brittle: short iron.
a. Linguistics Of, relating to, or being a speech sound of relatively brief duration, as the first vowel sound in the Latin word mălus, "evil," as compared with the same or a similar sound of relatively long duration, as the first vowel sound in the Latin word mālus, "apple tree."
b. Grammar Of, relating to, or being a vowel sound in English, such as the vowel sound (ă) in pat or () in put, that is descended from a vowel of brief duration.
14. Being of relatively brief duration. Used of a syllable in quantitative prosody.
15. Slang Close to the end of a tour of military duty.
adv. shorter, shortest
1. Abruptly; quickly: stop short.
2. In a rude or curt manner.
3. At a point before a given boundary, limit, or goal: a missile that landed short of the target.
4. At a disadvantage: We were caught short by the sudden storm.
5. By means of a short sale: selling a commodity short.
1. Something short, as:
a. Linguistics A short syllable, vowel, or consonant.
b. A brief film; a short subject.
c. A size of clothing less long than the average for that size.
d. shorts Short pants extending to the knee or above.
e. shorts Undershorts.
a. A short sale.
b. One that sells short.
3. shorts A byproduct of wheat processing that consists of germ, bran, and coarse meal or flour.
4. shorts Clippings or trimmings that remain as byproducts in various manufacturing processes, often used to make an inferior variety of the product.
a. A short circuit.
b. A malfunction caused by a short circuit.
6. Baseball A shortstop.
v. short·ed, short·ing, shorts
1. To cause a short circuit in.
2. Informal To give (one) less than one is entitled to; shortchange.
3. To short-sell (a security or index).
As an abbreviation: He's called Ed for short.
In summary; briefly.
An abbreviation of: Ed is short for Edward.
1. Having an inadequate supply of: We're short of cash.
2. Less than: Nothing short of her best effort was required to make the team.
3. Other than; without resorting to: Short of yelling at him, I had no other way to catch his attention.
4. Not quite willing to undertake or do; just this side of: She stopped short of throwing out the old photo.
the short end of the stick
The worst side of an unequal deal.
[Middle English, from Old English sceort, scort; see sker-1 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.