1. Not long; having brief length or linear extension; as, a short distance; a short piece of timber; a short flight. The bed is shorter than that a man can stretch himself on it. (isa. Xxviii. 20)
2. Not extended in time; having very limited duration; not protracted; as, short breath. The life so short, the craft so long to learn. (Chaucer) To short absense I could yield. (milton)
3. Limited in quantity; inadequate; insufficient; scanty; as, a short supply of provisions, or of water.
4. Insufficiently provided; inadequately supplied; scantily furnished; lacking; not coming up to a resonable, or the ordinary, standard; usually with of; as, to be short of money. We shall be short in our provision. (Shak)
5. Deficient; defective; imperfect; not coming up, as to a measure or standard; as, an account which is short of the trith.
6. Not distant in time; near at hand. Marinell was sore offended That his departure thence should be so short. (Spenser) He commanded those who were appointed to attend him to be ready by a short day. (Clarendon)
7. Limited in intellectual power or grasp; not comprehensive; narrow; not tenacious, as memory. Their own short understandings reach no farther than the present. (Rowe)
8. Less important, efficaceous, or powerful; not equal or equivalent; less (than); with of. ”Hardly anything short of an invasion could r
ouse them again to war.” (Landor)
9. Abrupt; brief; pointed; petulant; as, he gave a short answer to the question.
10. Breaking or crumbling readily in the mouth; crisp; as, short pastry.
11. (Science: chemistry) Brittle.
metals that are brittle when hot are called ot-short; as, cast iron may be hot-short, owing to the presence of sulphur. Those that are brittle when cold are called cold-short; as, cast iron may be cold-short, on account of the presence of phosphorus.
12. Engaging or engaged to deliver what is not possessed; as, short contracts; to be short of stock. See The shorts, under Short, and To sell short.
In mercantile transactions, a note or bill is sometimes made payable at short sight, that is, in a little time after being presented to the payer.
13. Not prolonged, or relatively less prolonged, in utterance; opposed to long, and applied to vowels or to syllables. In english, the long and short of the same letter are not, in most cases, the long and short of the same sound; thus, the i in ill is the short sound, not of i in isle, but of ee in eel, and the e in pet is the short sound of a in pate, etc. See quantity, and guide to Pronunciation, 22.
Short is much used with participles to form numerous self-explaining compounds; as, short-armed, short-billed, short-fingered, short-haired, short-necked, short-sleeved, short-tailed, short-winged, short-wooled, etc. at short notice, in a brief time; promptly. Short rib, any suit having only three cards, or less than three. To come short, To cut short, To fall short, etc. See Come, Cut, etc.
Origin: OE. Short, schort, AS. Scort, sceort; akin to OHG. Scurz, Icel. Skorta to be short of, to lack, and perhaps to E. Shear, v. T. Cf. Shirt.