What does brief mean?

Definitions for brief

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word brief.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. brief, legal briefnoun

    a document stating the facts and points of law of a client's case

  2. briefadjective

    a condensed written summary or abstract

  3. briefadjective

    of short duration or distance

    "a brief stay in the country"

  4. briefadjective

    concise and succinct

    "covered the matter in a brief statement"

  5. abbreviated, briefverb

    (of clothing) very short

    "an abbreviated swimsuit"; "a brief bikini"

  6. briefverb

    give essential information to someone

    "The reporters were briefed about the President's plan to invade"


  1. briefnoun

    An attorney's legal argument in written form for submission to a court.

  2. briefnoun

    A short news story or report.

  3. briefnoun

    A summary, précis or epitome; an abridgement or abstract.

  4. briefverb

    To knowledgeably 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.

  5. briefverb

    To write a legal argument and submit it to a court.

  6. briefadjective

    Of short duration; happening quickly.

  7. briefadjective

    Concise; taking few words.

  8. briefadjective

    Occupying a small distance, area or spatial extent; short.

  9. Etymology: From brief, from brevis. Compare French bref.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. BRIEFadjective

    Etymology: brevis, Lat. brief, Fr.

    A play there is, my lord, some ten words long,
    Which is as brief as I have known a play;
    But by ten words, my lord, it is too long,
    Which makes it tedious. William Shakespeare, Midsum. Night’s Dream.

    I will be mild and gentle in my words. ——
    —— And brief, good mother, for I am in haste. William Shakespeare, R. III.

    I must begin with rudiments of art,
    To teach you gamut in a briefer sort,
    More pleasant, pretty, and effectual. William Shakespeare, Tam. Shrew.

    They nothing doubt prevailing, and to make it brief wars. William Shakespeare, Coriolanus.

    The brief stile is that which expresseth much in little. Ben Jonson, Discovery.

    If I had quoted more words, I had quoted more profaneness; and therefore Mr. Congreve has reason to thank me for being brief. Jeremy Collier, View of the Stage.

    The shrine of Venus, or straight pight Minerva,
    Postures beyond brief nature. William Shakespeare, Cymbeline.

  2. Briefnoun

    Etymology: brief, Dutch, a letter.

    There is a brief, how many sports are ripe:
    Make choice of which your highness will see first. William Shakespeare.

    The apostolical letters are of a twofold kind and difference, viz. some are called briefs, because they are comprised in a short and compendious way of writing. John Ayliffe, Parergon.

    But how you must begin this enterprize,
    I will your highness thus in brief advise. Fairy Queen, b. ii.

    I doubt not but I shall make it plain, as far as a sum or brief can make a cause plain. Francis Bacon, Holy War.

    The brief of this transaction is, these springs that arise here, are impregnated with vitriol. John Woodward, on Fossils.

    The brief with weighty crimes was charg’d,
    On which the pleader much enlarg’d. Jonathan Swift.


  1. brief

    Brief refers to something that is concise, short in duration or extent, or reduced to only the most important points. It can be used to describe a document, statement, instruction, or period of time that is not lengthy or extensive.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Briefadjective

    short in duration

  2. Briefadjective

    concise; terse; succinct

  3. Briefadjective

    rife; common; prevalent

  4. Briefadverb


  5. Briefadverb

    soon; quickly

  6. Briefadjective

    a short concise writing or letter; a statement in few words

  7. Briefadjective

    an epitome

  8. Briefadjective

    an abridgment or concise statement of a client's case, made out for the instruction of counsel in a trial at law. This word is applied also to a statement of the heads or points of a law argument

  9. Briefadjective

    a writ; a breve. See Breve, n., 2

  10. Briefnoun

    a writ issuing from the chancery, directed to any judge ordinary, commanding and authorizing that judge to call a jury to inquire into the case, and upon their verdict to pronounce sentence

  11. Briefnoun

    a letter patent, from proper authority, authorizing a collection or charitable contribution of money in churches, for any public or private purpose

  12. Briefverb

    to make an abstract or abridgment of; to shorten; as, to brief pleadings


  1. Brief

    A brief is a written legal document used in various legal adversarial systems that is presented to a court arguing why one party to a particular case should prevail. In England and Wales, the phrase refers to the papers given to a barrister when they are instructed.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Brief

    brēf, n. a short account of a client's case for the instruction of counsel: a writ: a short statement of any kind.—adj. short: concise.—adj. Brief′less.—adv. Brief′ly.—n. Brief′ness.—In brief, in few words.—King's briefs, royal mandates ordering collections to be made in chapels for building churches, &c.; Papal brief, such documents as are issued without some of the solemnities proper to bulls.—The brief and the long (Shak.), the short and the long.—To be brief, to speak in a few words; To hold a brief, to be retained as counsel in a case; To take a brief, to undertake a case. [Fr. bref—L. brevis, short.]

Etymology and Origins

  1. Brief

    A brief summary of all the facts of a client’s case prepared by a solicitor for the instruction of counsel.

Surnames Frequency by Census Records

  1. BRIEF

    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Brief is ranked #64388 in terms of the most common surnames in America.

    The Brief surname appeared 309 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 0 would have the surname Brief.

    95.1% or 294 total occurrences were White.
    3.2% or 10 total occurrences were of Hispanic origin.

Matched Categories

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'brief' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #2192

  2. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'brief' in Written Corpus Frequency: #2470

  3. Adjectives Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'brief' in Adjectives Frequency: #277

Anagrams for brief »

  1. fiber

  2. fibre

  3. bifer

How to pronounce brief?

How to say brief in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of brief in Chaldean Numerology is: 9

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of brief in Pythagorean Numerology is: 4

Examples of brief in a Sentence

  1. Michael Winkleman:

    This is a matter that should be decided by a jury, and we are confident and hopeful the appellate court will agree, we will continue to fight and raise awareness about the dangers of unintentional toddler window falls. This case was always about Chloe Wiegand and shining a light on Chloe Wiegand brief but beautiful life. That goal has not changed.

  2. Nick Shelton:

    Flags, flowers and letters alike lie near the remains of Wayne Wilson at the conclusion of the memorial service at the Silverbrook Cemetery in Niles, Mich., Niles Wednesday, July 17, 2019. ( Emil Lippe/Kalamazoo Gazette via AP) Mourners came from several states away to honor him. It said on Facebook he didnt have any family. He does have family, Ohio resident Kenneth Creechtold WNDU-TV. Everybody that stepped foot in Vietnam is a brother. CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP In brief remarks, Niles Mayor Nick Shelton thankedWilson and others like Niles Mayor Nick Shelton thankedWilson. General George S. Patton Jr. said it best : It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather, we should thank God that such men lived, thank God for Wayne Wilson and thank you all for being a part of his legacy.

  3. Robert Southey:

    If you would be pungent, be brief; for it is with words as with sunbeams - the more they are condensed, the deeper they burn.

  4. Don Stewart:

    Congress will review this new request and the president’s budget request. And given limited federal resources, we expect the administration will brief Congress on their funding priorities at the briefing.

  5. Andrew Weiss:

    There is palpable concern in Washington that a brief lull is only temporary.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for brief

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

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"brief." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 20 May 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/brief>.

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    used of men; markedly masculine in appearance or manner
    A butch
    B contagious
    C ectomorphic
    D ambidextrous

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