Definition of shorthand in English:



  • 1[mass noun] A method of rapid writing by means of abbreviations and symbols, used especially for taking dictation. The major systems of shorthand currently in use are those devised in 1837 by Sir Isaac Pitman and (in the US) in 1888 by John R. Gregg (1867–1948)

    ‘he took notes in shorthand’
    [as modifier] ‘a shorthand typist’
    • ‘It never prevailed over the more popular Pitman system of shorthand, even though it was easier to write.’
    • ‘Her tired assistant sat opposite her scribbling away on her notepad, writing in shorthand every word that her employer was saying.’
    • ‘Part of the symphony was substantially complete, but the rest consisted of shorthand scribbles and anguished remarks in the margins.’
    • ‘Each supports the other by writing letters composed of little more than their own shorthand dialogue.’
    • ‘He even went to great lengths to conceal his work by writing in cryptic shorthand or writing backwards.’
    • ‘Well I guess they do have some shorthand or abbreviations but then, how do they remember them all?’
    • ‘Each page on the pads is filled with all sorts of bizarre shorthand scribbled in a totally random fashion around the edges.’
    • ‘Otherwise, he would not be able to record the thoughts of Martin O'Neill, and would have to rely on shorthand skills.’
    • ‘When he was just 12, Mr Walton's father persuaded a local journalist to teach his son shorthand in the hope that it would open doors to a better career.’
    • ‘Sir Issac Pitman began the first correspondence course for his shorthand system.’
    • ‘He cannot read shorthand and throws Harker's encrypted writings on the fire in disgust.’
    • ‘Recently an auction of items belonging to Isaac Pitman, inventor of the Pitman shorthand system of writing, went up for sale.’
    • ‘With the development of girls' education and the acquisition of typing and shorthand skills, women increasingly made their mark on this sector.’
    • ‘He and his brothers all helped out with reporting and were so skilled at shorthand that each could read the other's verbatim notes.’
    • ‘The chemical formula provides a great deal of information about a substance in shorthand form.’
    • ‘For journalists, it could well signal the death-knell of the spiral-bound notebook with its copious shorthand notes.’
    • ‘They condense complicated concepts into shorthand words and phrases, saving time.’
    • ‘A shorthand system such as the Banff system is completely opaque to nonspecialists.’
    • ‘Coleridge also gave lectures on general literature and philosophy, which have survived in the form of notes and shorthand reports.’
    • ‘These notes are almost entirely written in Aramaic in a form of shorthand abbreviations.’
    scribble, scrawl, illegible writing, squiggles, jottings, writing, shorthand
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1[in singular]A short and simple way of expressing or referring to something.
      ‘poetry for him is simply a shorthand for literature that has aesthetic value’
      • ‘My flatmate and I use ‘dutch’ as a shorthand for anything we disapprove of.’
      • ‘But it is a useful shorthand that signals both the wider ways in which dearer petrol hurts our economy and the sense of malignity from a distance.’
      • ‘It doesn't often happen but when it does, the slogan provides a shorthand for the entire campaign.’
      • ‘Aptitude is also a shorthand for social selection.’
      • ‘Have we adopted a convenient shorthand for a longer and more complete description of the object?’
      • ‘Stories and our memory of them then provide both an interpretive function and a shorthand for the business of interpretation.’
      • ‘Among the generals in the 1940s the shorthand for being arrested and beaten up was ‘having coffee with Beria’.’
      • ‘While this may be a simplified description, it provides a useful shorthand to examine the very different approaches of different disciplines.’
      • ‘The name Tony Soprano replaced Michael Corleone as shorthand for thug-like tactics.’
      • ‘While part two gives you a nice shorthand to get your point across, part one precludes the fact that something doesn't have to be new to be good.’
      • ‘Now Bollywood is almost a shorthand, a buzzword for one of the most happening trends in America.’
      • ‘Hinduism is not a unified system of belief and practice, and should at best be regarded as a convenient shorthand for a complex social and cultural phenomenon.’
      • ‘This focus seems to have gone from a useful shorthand to an obsession.’
      • ‘It becomes a touchstone, something that people can refer to, use as a shorthand and take as a common foundation.’
      • ‘It also defies commentators to find an easy generic shorthand for its mode of creation.’
      • ‘Every meaningless name became shorthand for a certain class status.’
      • ‘This is a convenient shorthand for certain important developments which have impacted English studies in India.’