General English


  • adjective for a small period of time


  • adjective occupying or indicating a position relatively close to the batsman’s wicket; the term is often used in combination to indicate a modified fielding position that would normally be somewhat further from the striker, such as third man, mid-wicket, or extra cover
    Citation ‘Wessels and Dyson took their opening stand to 39 before Wessels pulled one from Willis to Botham at a short and rather wide mid-on’ (Henry Blofeld, Cricketer February 1983)
    Citation ‘Such … made further inroads, having mark Taylor caught at short gully off bat and pad’ (Mike Selvey, Guardian 7 July 1993)
    Compare deep See fielding positions
  • adjective pitching at a point on the wicket somewhat closer to the bowler than a ball of good length but further down the wicket than a long hop (
    See length
    Citation ‘Holding produced a vicious rising short ball to have Gavaskar caught at slip when 10 runs more would have given the batsman a unique 30th Test century’ (WCM January 1984)
    Citation ‘There is also the question of whether the wearing of a helmet, especially by the lower order batsmen, gives fast bowlers a licence to bowl short even at batsmen incompetent to deal with the bouncer’ (Christopher Martin-Jenkins, Cricketer September 1983)


  • Used with "sell" or "sale," this means that the seller does not currently have the thing being sold, but intends to acquire it on the market prior to making delivery.
  • Used by itself as a verb, it means to sell short, as "to short a currency," meaning to sell it forward in anticipation that its value on the spot market will fall.

Information & Library Science

  • adjective having only a few words or pages

Media Studies

  • noun a film whose running time is approximately 30 minutes or less


  • adjective not very tall or long


  • noun a drink of spirits such as gin, whisky, etc., with not much liquid


  • used to describe a wine with very little aftertaste or finish

Origin & History of “short”

Etymologically, something that is short has been ‘cut off’. The word’s immediate Germanic ancestor was *skurtaz, which was descended from an extension of the Indo-European base *sker- ‘cut’ (source also of English score, share, shear, etc). Another version of the base, without the s, was the source of Latin curtus ‘short’, which has produced English curt and curtail, and also supplied the word for ‘short’ in the other Germanic languages (German kurz and Dutch, Swedish, and Danish kort), as well of course as the romance languages (French court, Italian and Spanish corto, and Romanian scurt). The shirt and the skirt are etymologically ‘short’ garments.