brief
Pronunciation Adjective

brief (comparative briefer, superlative briefest)

  1. Of short duration; happening quickly. [from 15th c.]
    Her reign was brief but spectacular.
    • c. 1598–1600, William Shakespeare, “As You Like It”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, [Act III, scene ii]:
      Some, how briefe the Life of man / runs his erring pilgrimage, / That the ſtretching of a ſpan, / buckles in his ſumme of age.
  2. Concise; taking few words. [from 15th c.]
    His speech of acceptance was brief but moving.
  3. Occupying a small distance, area or spatial extent; short. [from 17th c.]
    Her skirt was extremely brief but doubtless cool.
    • 1983, Robert Drewe, The Bodysurfers, Penguin 2009, p. 17:
      On the beach he always wore a straw hat with a red band and a brief pair of leopard print trunks.
  4. (obsolete) Rife; common; prevalent.
Synonyms Related terms Translations Translations Noun

brief (plural briefs)

  1. (legal) A writ summoning one to answer to any action. attention en
  2. (legal) An answer to any action.
    • 1996, Japanese Rules of Civil Procedure, Article 79, Section 1:
      A written answer or any other brief shall be submitted to the court while allowing a period necessary for the opponent to make preparations with regard to the matters stated therein.
  3. (legal) A memorandum of points of fact or of law for use in conducting a case.
  4. (by extension, figurative) A position of interest or advocacy.
  5. (legal) An attorney's legal argument in written form for submission to a court.
  6. (English law) The material relevant to a case, delivered by a solicitor to the barrister who tries the case.
  7. A short news story or report.
    We got a news brief.
    • c. 1597, William Shakespeare, “The First Part of Henry the Fourth, […]”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, [Act IV, scene iv]:
      Hie good ſir Mighell, beare this ſealed briefe / With winged haſte to the Lord Marſhall / This to my cooſen Scroope, and all the reſt / To whom they are directed.
  8. (usually, in the plural) undershorts briefs.
    I wear boxers under trousers but for sports I usually wear a brief.
  9. (obsolete) A summary, précis or epitome; an abridgement or abstract.
    • 1589, Thomas Nashe, The Anatomie of Absurditie:
      […] euen ſo it fareth with mee, who béeing about to anatomize Abſurditie, am vrged to take a view of ſundry mens vanitie, a ſuruey of their follie, a briefe of their barbariſme […]
  10. (UK, historical) A letter patent, from proper authority, authorizing a collection or charitable contribution of money in churches, for any public or private purpose.
  11. (slang) A ticket of any type.
Translations
  • German: kurze Zusammenfassung
  • Italian: breve
  • Russian: резюме́
  • Spanish: resumen
Verb

brief (briefs, present participle briefing; past and past participle briefed)

  1. (transitive) To summarize a recent development to some person with decision-making power.
    The U.S. president was briefed on the military coup and its implications on African stability.
  2. (transitive, legal) To write a legal argument and submit it to a court.
Translations Adverb

brief

  1. (obsolete, poetic) Briefly.
    • 1667, John Milton, “Book IX”, in Paradise Lost. A Poem Written in Ten Books, London: Printed [by Samuel Simmons], and are to be sold by Peter Parker […] [a]nd by Robert Boulter […] [a]nd Matthias Walker, […], OCLC 228722708 ↗; republished as Paradise Lost in Ten Books: The Text Exactly Reproduced from the First Edition of 1667: […], London: Basil Montagu Pickering […], 1873, OCLC 230729554 ↗, line 115:
      Whence Adam faultring long, thus anſwer’d brief.
  2. (obsolete, poetic) Soon; quickly.
    • c. 1591–1595, William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Romeo and Ivliet”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, (please specify the act number in uppercase Roman numerals):
      , [Act III, scene iii], lines 173–175:
      But that a ioy paſt ioy, calls out on me, / It were a griefe, to briefe to part with thee : / Farewell.
Related terms


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