American English

Definition of short adjective from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    (shorter, shortest)
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  1. 1measuring or covering a small length or distance, or a smaller length or distance than usual He had short curly hair. a short walk a short skirt opposite long
  2. height
  3. 2(of a person) small in height She was short and dumpy. opposite tall
  4. time
  5. 3lasting or taking a small amount of time or less time than usual I'm going to Puerto Rico for a short break. Which is the shortest day of the year? a short book (= taking a short time to read, because it does not have many pages) She has a very short memory (= remembers only things that have happened recently). (informal) Life's too short to sit around moping. It was all over in a relatively short time. opposite long
  6. 4[only before noun] (of a period of time) seeming to have passed very quickly Just two short years ago he was the best quarterback in the country. opposite long
  7. not enough
  8. 5[not before noun] short (of something) not having enough of something; lacking something I'm afraid I'm a little short (= of money) this month. She is not short of excuses when things go wrong.
  9. 6short on something (informal) lacking or not having enough of a particular quality He was a big strapping guy but short on brains.
  10. 7[not before noun] not easily available; not supplying as much as you need Money was short at that time.
  11. 8[not before noun] short (of something) less than the number, amount, or distance mentioned or needed Her last throw was only three centimeters short of the world record. The team was two players short. She was just short of her 90th birthday when she died.
  12. of breath
  13. 9short of breath having difficulty breathing, for example because of illness a fat man, always short of breath
  14. name/word
  15. 10short for something being a shorter form of a name or word Call me Jo—it's short for Joanna. file transfer protocol or FTPfor short
  16. rude
  17. 11[not before noun] short (with somebody) (of a person) speaking to someone using few words in a way that seems rude I'm sorry I was short with you earlier—I had other things on my mind.
  18. vowel
  19. 12(phonetics) a short vowel is pronounced for a shorter time than other vowels Compare the short vowel in “full” and the long vowel in “fool.” opposite long see also shortly
    noun [uncountable] She suffered from shortness of breath.
  21. Idioms
    get the short end of the stick
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    to be the person in a group who is chosen or forced to perform an unpleasant duty or task I got the short end of the stick and had to clean the toilets.
    give somebody/something/get short shrift
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    to give somebody/get little attention or sympathy
    have/be on a short fuse
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    to have a tendency to get angry quickly and easily You may find your temper on a short fuse when confronting your teenager.
    in the long/short/medium term
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    used to describe what will happen a long, short, etc. time in the future Such a development seems unlikely, at least in the short term (= it will not happen for quite a long time). In the longer term, children of depressed mothers are more likely to suffer from childhood depression. see also long-term, medium-term, short-term
    in short order
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    quickly and without trouble
    in the short run
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    concerning the immediate future In the short run, unemployment may fall.
    in short supply
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    not existing in large enough quantities to satisfy demand Basic foodstuffs were in short supply. Sunshine will be in short supply for most of New England.
    life's too short (informal)
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    used to say that it is not worth wasting time doing something that you dislike or that is not important
    little/nothing short of something
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    used when you are saying that something is almost true, or is equal to something Last year's figures were little short of disastrous. The transformation has been nothing short of a miracle.
    the long and (the) short of it
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    used when you are telling someone the essential facts about something or what effect it will have, without explaining all the details
    make short work of something/somebody
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    to defeat or deal with something or someone quickly Our team made short work of the opposition (= in a sports competition). The kids made short work of the birthday cake (= ate it quickly).
    on short notice, at a moment's notice
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    not long in advance; without warning or time for preparation This was the best room we could get on such short notice. You must be ready to leave at a moment's notice.
    short and sweet (informal)
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    pleasant but not lasting a long time We don't have much time so I'll keep it short and sweet.
    to make a long story short (informal)
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    used when you are saying that you will get to the point of what you are saying quickly, without including all the details To make a long story short, we didn't get home until 3 in the morning!
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: short