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adj. brief·er, brief·est
1. Short in time, duration, length, or extent.
2. Succinct; concise: a brief account of the incident.
3. Curt; abrupt: We were upset because he was so brief with us.
1. A short, succinct statement.
2. A condensation or an abstract of a larger document or series of documents.
3. Law A document concisely stating the legal points being made, including often the citation and explanation of supporting legal authority.
4. Roman Catholic Church A papal letter that is not as formal as a bull.
5. A briefing.
6. often briefs Short, tight-fitting underpants.
7. briefs Chiefly British The instructions that are given to explain a task or assignment.
tr.v. briefed, brief·ing, briefs
1. To give instructions or preparatory information to: briefed the astronauts before the mission.
2. To summarize.
in brief
In short.

[Middle English bref, from Old French, from Latin brevis. N., Middle English bref, written communication, from Old French, from Medieval Latin breve, from Latin, neuter of brevis, short; see mregh-u- in Indo-European roots.]

brief′er n.
brief′ly adv.
brief′ness n.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


1. 'short'

Short is an adjective. You usually use it to say that something does not last for a long time.

Let's take a short break.
She made a short speech.
2. 'shortly'

Shortly is an adverb. If something is going to happen shortly, it is going to happen soon. This is a slightly old-fashioned use.

They should be returning shortly.

If something happened shortly after something else, it happened soon after it.

She died shortly afterwards.
Very shortly after I started my job, I got promoted.
3. 'briefly'

Don't use 'shortly' to say that something lasts or is done for a short time. Don't say, for example, 'She told them shortly what had happened'. Use briefly.

She told them briefly what had happened.
Collins COBUILD English Usage © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 2004, 2011, 2012
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Adv.1.briefly - for a short time; "she visited him briefly"; "was briefly associated with IBM"
2.briefly - in a concise manner; in a few words; "the history is summed up concisely in this book"; "she replied briefly"; "briefly, we have a problem"; "to put it shortly"
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


2. in outline, in brief, in passing, in a nutshell, concisely, in a few words There are four alternatives; they are described briefly below.
Collins Thesaurus of the English Language – Complete and Unabridged 2nd Edition. 2002 © HarperCollins Publishers 1995, 2002
i korthedkortkortfattet
í stuttu máli
na kratko
một cách ngắn gọn


[ˈbriːflɪ] ADV
1. (= for short time) [speak, reply, smile, pause] → brevemente
she visited us brieflynos hizo una breve or corta visita
"good morning," he said, looking up briefly"buenos días," dijo, levantando la vista fugazmente
I wondered briefly if he were lyingpor un momento me pregunté si no estaría mintiendo
he was briefly detained by the policela policía lo tuvo detenido durante un corto espacio de tiempo
2. (= in brief) [tell, reply, describe] → en pocas palabras, en resumen
the facts, briefly, are theselos hechos, en pocas palabras or en resumen, son éstos
briefly, we still don't knowen resumen or en suma, aún no lo sabemos
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005


[ˈbriːfli] adv
[speak] → brièvement
[explain, describe] → en quelques mots
[live, work, appear, hold] → pendant peu de temps
[smile, chat] → un bref instant
[visit] → en coup de vent
to glimpse briefly → entrevoir
Collins English/French Electronic Resource. © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007


[ˈbriːflɪ] adv (speak, visit) → brevemente; (glimpse) → di sfuggita
Collins Italian Dictionary 1st Edition © HarperCollins Publishers 1995


(briːf) adjective
not long; short. a brief visit; a brief account.
a short statement of facts (especially in a lawsuit, of a client's case). a lawyer's brief.
to give detailed instructions to (especially a barrister, group of soldiers etc). The astronauts were briefed before the space mission.
ˈbriefing noun
instructions and information. The pilots were given a briefing before they left.
ˈbriefly adverb
He told me briefly what he knew.
briefs noun plural
(used especially in shops) women's pants or men's underpants. a pair of briefs.
brevity (ˈbrevəti) noun
shortness (of speech, writing, time etc). He is well known for the brevity of his speeches.
ˈbriefcase noun
a light case for papers, made of leather etc. a businessman's briefcase.
in brief
in a few words. In brief, we have been successful.
Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary © 2006-2013 K Dictionaries Ltd.


لـَحْظَةً krátce kort kurz εν συντομία brevemente lyhyesti brièvement kratko brevemente 簡単に 간단히 even kort krótko brevemente коротко kortfattat อย่างสั้น kısaca một cách ngắn gọn 简要地
Multilingual Translator © HarperCollins Publishers 2009
References in classic literature ?
He said something vague about his forgetting to warn me, and asked me briefly when I left the house and what I had seen.
A FARMER of the Augustan age Perused in Virgil's golden page, The story of the secret won From Proteus by Cyrene's son How the dank sea-god sowed the swain Means to restore his hives again More briefly, how a slaughtered bull Breeds honey by the bellyful.
As I lay in bed this morning between sleeping and waking, an idea came riding on a sunbeam into my room,--a mad, whimsical idea, but one that suits my mood; and put briefly, it is this: how is it that I, a not unpresentable young man, a man not without accomplishments or experience, should have gone all these years without finding that
And to conclude, when we shall have briefly gone through everything that is necessary, we will endeavour to point out the sources of corruption, and stability, in government, as well those which are common to all as those which are peculiar to each state, and from what causes they chiefly arise.
Who that cares much to know the history of man, and how the mysterious mixture behaves under the varying experiments of Time, has not dwelt, at least briefly, on the life of Saint Theresa, has not smiled with some gentleness at the thought of the little girl walking forth one morning hand-in-hand with her still smaller brother, to go and seek martyrdom in the country of the Moors?
Thus the story of the Odyssey can be stated briefly. A certain man is absent from home for many years; he is jealously watched by Poseidon, and left desolate.
"Shed tears," he explained briefly, and rolled up the chart.
"My poor client's fate now depends on you votes." Here the speaker sat down in his place, And directed the Judge to refer to his notes And briefly to sum up the case.
They spoke to him briefly and softly, and conducted him out through the same door at the rear.
In the first place, I wish to lay before you a particular, plain statement, touching the living bulk of this leviathan, whose skeleton we are briefly to exhibit.
"My own opinion of the matter is, briefly, as follows: I don't think she has met with any serious accident.
In the course of the day's work he casually and briefly mentioned a particular job he had just got off his hands.