Meaning of “short” in the English Dictionary

"short" in English

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uk /ʃɔːt/ us /ʃɔːrt/

short adjective (DISTANCE)

A1 small in length, distance, or height:

a short skirt
Her hair is much shorter than it used to be.
It's only a short walk to the station.
I'm fairly short but my brother's very tall.

B2 used to say that a name is used as a shorter form of another name:

Her name's Jo - it's short for Josephine.
Her name's Josephine, or Jo for short.

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short adjective (TIME)

A1 being an amount of time that is less than average or usual:

a short film/visit
He's grown so much in such a short time.
I work much better if I take a short break every hour or so.

A2 Short books, letters, and other examples of writing do not contain many words and do not take much time to read:

It's a very short book - you'll read it in an hour.

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short adjective (LACKING)

be short (of/on sth)

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B1 to not have enough of something:

to be short of space/time
We're short on coffee - I'd better get some more.
The bill comes to £85, but we're £15 short.
I'm a little short (= I do not have much money) this week - could you lend me ten dollars?
short of breath

unable to breathe very well, for example because you have been running or doing some type of energetic exercise:

She's always short of breath when she climbs the stairs.
be in short supply

to be few or not enough in number:

Free desks are in short supply in this office.
go short mainly UK

to not have something, especially when it is something you need in order to live:

My parents didn't have much money, but they made sure we didn't go short (of anything).
noun [ U ] uk /ˈʃɔːt.nəs/ us /ˈʃɔːrt.nəs/

shortness of time
The disease may cause sweating, nausea, vomiting, and shortness of breath (= difficulties in breathing).

shortnoun [ C ]

uk /ʃɔːt/ us /ʃɔːrt/

shortverb [ I or T ]

uk /ʃɔːt/ us /ʃɔːrt/


uk /ʃɔːt/ us /ʃɔːrt/


uk /ʃɔːt-/ us /ʃɔːrt-/

(Definition of “short” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"short" in American English

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us /ʃɔrt/

short adjective (LENGTH)

[ -er/-est only ] having little length, distance, or height:

Short hair is back in style.
It’s only a short walk to the store.

short adjective (TIME)

[ -er/-est only ] of a small amount of time, or less than the average or usual amount of time:

Mary Lou was here a short while ago.
There will be a short delay in the flight while we load a few more bags.

short adjective (LACKING)

[ not gradable ] not reaching a desired amount or level; lacking:

The bill comes to $85, but we’re $15 short.


us /ʃɔrt/

short adverb (LENGTH)

[ -er/-est only ] in a way that makes something short in length, distance, or height:

She decided to cut her hair short.

short adverb (TIME)

[ not gradable ] before the arranged or expected time or place:

I started to say something, but he cut me short (= stopped me from continuing).

(Definition of “short” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"short" in Business English

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uk /ʃɔːt/ us

[ not before a noun ] not having enough of something that you need:

be short of sth We are very short of staff and if we face a major incident we'll be stretched.
be short on sth The Budget was short on announcements about personal taxes.
leave sth short of sth The rocky economy has left the state so short of money that it must cut spending.

[ not before a noun ] not available or not large enough in number or amount:

The most common ways of ending an interview are saying that time is short.
Those from well-off homes tend to be spendthrift even when money is short.

less than a particular amount:

short of sth The charity raised just short of €7m last year.

STOCK MARKET used to describe the selling of shares that you have borrowed, hoping that their price will fall before you buy them back and return them to their owner, making a profit:

In a short sale, an investor can sell stock he doesn't own, hoping to buy the shares at a cheaper price later on.

used to describe a shorter form of a name or word:

short for sth Ami is short for artificial machine intelligence.
for short Keep an eye on Canada's Northern Telecom, Nortel for short.
at short notice US also on short notice

with little warning:

Many start-up companies need the freedom to hire and fire staff at short notice.
in short supply

not available in large amounts or numbers:

Temporary workers are in short supply.
If you can offer talents that are in short supply, you are in a strong position.


uk /ʃɔːt/ us

STOCK MARKET if you sell shares short, you sell shares that you have borrowed, hoping that their price will fall before you buy them back and return them to their owner, making a profit:

The group's conservative growth portfolio isn't allowed to sell stocks short.
A popular hedge fund move is to go short.
go short on sth Speculators are going short on the Hong Kong dollar.
run short

if you run short of something, you have too little of it left:

The bank has been plagued for months by speculation that it is running short of capital.

if something runs short, there is little of it left:

Time is for a deal to get done.
In two months food will run short.

shortverb [ T ]

uk /ʃɔːt/ us

STOCK MARKET to sell shares that you have borrowed, hoping that their price will fall before you buy them back and return them to their owner, so that you make a profit:

As many as 27% of the company's shares have been shorted.

(Definition of “short” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)