Definition of brief in US English:

brief

adjective

  • 1Of short duration.

    ‘the president made a brief visit to Moscow’
    • ‘As Cheska and Steve starred at each other for a brief moment the only expression Cheska could not hide was fear.’
    • ‘She decided to pay a brief visit to one of the stalls herself.’
    • ‘An image of Liza surfaced in his mind for a brief second and her words of their last interaction echoed in his head.’
    • ‘He'd asked to be allowed just one visit, one brief encounter with Angel.’
    • ‘The entire middle section of the book details this brief visit.’
    • ‘His blank expression broke into a brief grin that disappeared almost as quickly as it had come.’
    • ‘He took a mouthful of his ready made breakfast to hide the brief lapse in expression.’
    • ‘She had gotten a brief visit from her family, and had hated it.’
    • ‘Formal psychotherapy is difficult in a brief office visit.’
    • ‘And a brief visit to their shuttle home was restricted to the upper level.’
    • ‘Mr. Williams stammered, after flashed his daughter a brief expression of shock.’
    • ‘The brief visit left no time for discovery or inquiry.’
    • ‘Her son gave a brief smile, comforted by those words but still not completely sure that they would follow through.’
    • ‘The knight gave a brief nod at Pher's words, expressionless.’
    • ‘It recoiled, struggling to crawl away, and its features twisted into a brief expression of pain or rage.’
    • ‘But during his brief tenure, Thomson has had choice words for both the government and the opposition.’
    • ‘A brief visit to the temple in the house completes his morning routine before breakfast with the family.’
    • ‘It consists of regularly scheduled, brief office visits.’
    • ‘He paused for the brief spattering of polite applause that followed.’
    • ‘Orion must have noticed my horrified expression, because he continued after only a brief hesitation.’
    • ‘Turning to Dimitri, her once stoic expression was shattered as a brief smirk lightened her face.’
    • ‘Only then does the audience have its brief opportunity to launch incisive ripostes into the heart of the thesis.’
    • ‘After its brief exposure, the word was masked and a letter was shown above and below one of the letter positions.’
    short, flying, fleeting, hasty, hurried, quick, cursory, perfunctory
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    1. 1.1 Concise in expression; using few words.
      ‘introductions were brief and polite’
      • ‘Whenever we passed on the street we exchanged brief words but that had been it.’
      • ‘The minister had a brief word with the American team leader and left without eating or drinking anything.’
      • ‘I didn't get out of my chair right away, her brief words deeply troubled me.’
      • ‘He firmly gripped the hilt of his long sword and shouted brief words of refusal.’
      • ‘Once Heather saw that her mission had been accomplished, she sauntered over to Chez and spoke a few brief words.’
      • ‘She offered polite, brief responses and laughed right along.’
      • ‘They can send simple and brief messages like that but there's no easy way to communicate with a submarine.’
      • ‘Before moving on to a discussion of Mexicans in Aurora, a brief word is in order about sources.’
      • ‘It covers ten areas, besides a brief foreword and a crisp introduction.’
      • ‘This essay also showcases MacDonald's ability to capture the essence of a piece of music in a few brief words.’
      • ‘A few brief words about the move to Skaggerak in 1902.’
      • ‘He seemed to sense this and gave her a hug whispering brief words of comfort to her.’
      • ‘A brief interchange of words resulted in the unanimous decision to escape as soon as possible.’
      • ‘He vaguely heard a brief exchange of words between Yulia and Jana.’
      • ‘During this brief exchange of words, Klauss had ventured over to the crumpled picture and unfurled it.’
      • ‘Intervention messages should contain simple and brief information and avoid complexity.’
      • ‘With a brief word from his chauffeur, they were allowed admittance.’
      • ‘She delivered the message in a few brief words, then put down the phone.’
      • ‘A brief word, though, about Ms. Young, whom I'd never heard of before.’
      • ‘She had hoped her brief explosion in words would have ceased his badgering.’
      • ‘The information is brief and concise, and gives the reader a general overview of the various organ systems.’
      concise, succinct, short, thumbnail, to the point, pithy, incisive, short and sweet, crisp, abridged, condensed, compressed, abbreviated, compact, compendious, potted
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    2. 1.2 (of a piece of clothing) not covering much of the body; scanty.
      ‘Alice sported a pair of extremely brief black shorts’
      • ‘Mosquito bites line the insides of my legs only stopping at the brief cloth on my lower body that some would call shorts.’
      • ‘A cheerful female gorilla garbed in a brief shirt and a halter top stood at a podium.’
      • ‘The room Tripitaka entered contained about 30 women, all dressed in very brief clothing.’
      • ‘God, how she wished she were wearing something more than her brief underwear.’
      skimpy, scanty, revealing, short
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noun

  • 1A concise statement or summary.

    ‘their comments were cribbed right from industry briefs’
    1. 1.1 A set of instructions given to a person about a job or task.
      ‘his brief is to turn around the country's economy’
      • ‘When we receive a brief from a casting director, we go through our book of models and put forward who we think is suitable for the job.’
      • ‘After the brief, we dash to complete one more task before strapping on the jet.’
      • ‘The brief was to produce something that could be turned into a tattoo - something with not too much fine detail.’
      • ‘Adam brought his ten-year-old son to him, with a brief to knock the boy's piano technique into shape.’
      • ‘This retained a lot of the edginess that you might associate with the band whilst adding the elements that was required from the original brief.’
      • ‘It had to widen its brief to embrace purchasing and information technology as well.’
      • ‘In the interests of simplicity and keeping things as open as possible, it has been decided to go for an open brief with only a few key guidelines.’
      • ‘Once we get a brief from a client there is a research stage and a brainstorming session.’
      • ‘After receiving an informative brief on the testing process given by the warrant officer, the staff were counted.’
      • ‘It doesn't matter how good your brief and debrief are if you haven't got airplanes to fight with.’
      • ‘What four areas should be covered in the task definition section of a creative brief?’
      • ‘What we all hoped - and actually, it was all part of the brief - that it would be political.’
      • ‘He felt that the brief was too abstract.’
      • ‘Without any brief or instruction, the man had made his home in a clearing and even cultivated a small potato crop.’
      • ‘Over the past year anyone with a brief to invest in, say, small companies or commodities would have naturally outperformed.’
      • ‘Most of what you get from your clients in a creative brief is akin to stereo instructions in terms of dramatic impact and sheer volume.’
      • ‘He stayed with the company until 1994, where his experiences bled into the brief behind Theatre Absolute.’
      • ‘Design is accomplishing the task, according to the brief, to the customer's satisfaction.’
      • ‘But surely he can't be a currently serving, if he abuses his brief so widely?’
      • ‘Chief executives of government authorities often complain that they are not given an unambiguous brief with clear mandates and a single objective.’
      instructions, directions, directives, briefing
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    2. 1.2US A written summary of the facts and legal points supporting one side of a case, for presentation to a court.
      • ‘He presents legal briefs on violations of environmental law to the authorities.’
      • ‘It is noted that neither he nor the plaintiffs ever requested copies of the briefs or reports in writing or otherwise.’
      • ‘These are briefs in support of deportation orders, decidedly not a traditional civil rights function.’
      • ‘He also helps to write legal briefs for other inmates.’
      • ‘Nineteen states have joined in an amicus brief supporting Kansas.’
      • ‘The Association has issued a number of legal briefs to support the civil rights of individuals.’
      • ‘Counsel for the plaintiff shall make brief written submissions in reply and on costs within 10 days after that.’
      • ‘The court have received these submissions as ‘friend of the court briefs,’ supporting one side or the other.’
      • ‘APA has filed an amicus brief in support of the policy.’
      • ‘The office also writes amicus briefs applying psychological research to legal issues.’
      • ‘The team put together mountains of legal briefs to support the argument that Texas had no right to control the private conduct of its citizens.’
      • ‘He didn't just file a brief; he helped write one with the Center for Law and Justice.’
      • ‘The three groups in the brief sided with the British during World War II.’
      • ‘And fifteen other states evidently agreed - filing amicus briefs in support of Alabama's position.’
      • ‘The brief set forth the argument in six concise points.’
      • ‘Heavy amicus curiae briefs are filed in support of both upholding and reversing the Circuit Court's decision.’
      • ‘To what extent is it appropriate for judges to ‘borrow’ language from one side's brief?’
      • ‘Skills like writing a brief, conducting a deposition, or arguing in court are useful by-products.’
      • ‘We're taught how to write case briefs, memorandums, appellate briefs, and case citations.’
      • ‘The briefs on the other side of the case were written exclusively by major media companies, congressmen, and copyright holders.’
    3. 1.3 A letter from the Pope to a person or community on a matter of discipline.
      • ‘He has delivered a papal brief recommending it to that prince that he will take the same steps in this matter.’
      • ‘For a papal brief to be valid, it has to be read in the presence of those whom it concerns.’
      • ‘He discovered that the agreement, far from being in accordance with the papal Brief, was in direct opposition to it.’
      • ‘In 1773, following the expulsion of Jesuits from several European and Italian states, Clement XIV issued a brief suppressing the order.’

verb

[with object]
  • Instruct or inform (someone) thoroughly, especially in preparation for a task.

    ‘she briefed him on last week's decisions’
    • ‘Another problem arose when he briefed his people about this mission.’
    • ‘At his first meeting at the Pentagon three colonels briefed him.’
    • ‘However, you can't fake knowledge, and the waiter was thoroughly briefed on all aspects of the menu.’
    • ‘They made us sit on seats and Nina began to brief us with the projector showing us the information.’
    • ‘He has all the information you'll need and will brief you thoroughly.’
    • ‘It is briefing me about the weather tomorrow.’
    • ‘You can brief a witness all day long, all year long and the dynamics once you get in a courtroom always change.’
    • ‘Even the easy stuff is hard: scheduling meetings, briefing the right people, keeping the bureaucracy under control.’
    • ‘Well before I answer, let me brief you on how it all began…’
    • ‘Figuring I'd briefed him thoroughly on the other aspects of the policy, I answered his question.’
    • ‘He went to England in 2001 to brief the staff about water jets.’
    • ‘I briefed him in Kathmandu all about altitude illness so he'd know what to look for.’
    • ‘If you'll inform Crane as soon as possible, we can brief him and get him on the inside ASAP.’
    • ‘We're going to brief you later on on who didn't get nominated and all that.’
    • ‘Lucky Tahlia got to sit through my cursing and weariness as she directed and briefed me.’
    • ‘The volunteers were briefed about the study protocol and informed consent was obtained from them.’
    • ‘They'd brief us if there were any serious threats.’
    • ‘And the general who briefed us this morning said he was well aware of them from the earlier Persian Gulf War.’
    • ‘Do they brief the family as to the progress, or is it as difficult for you to get information?’
    • ‘But the one thing we were not able to do was brief the President directly.’
    inform of, tell about, bring up to date on, update on, notify of, advise of, acquaint with, apprise of, give information about
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Phrases

  • hold no brief for

    • Not support or argue in favor of.

      ‘I hold no brief for the president’
      • ‘This newspaper holds no brief for the Chief Justice.’
      • ‘I hold no brief for him as an individual or for his policies.’
      • ‘I definitely hold no brief for the Board and can never support its stand on these matters.’
      • ‘I hold no brief for the organization, and the vast majority of Americans don't either.’
      • ‘One who holds no brief for this view in the first place will not be convinced by the present argument.’
  • in brief

    • In a few words; in short.

      ‘he is, in brief, the embodiment of evil’
      ‘the news in brief’
      • ‘They have, in brief, become the Establishment.’
      • ‘We will cover in brief different options you have while considering your holiday.’
      • ‘This article is featured in brief on the website.’
      • ‘The argument, in brief, is that if the means of production are socialized then there would be no prices to guide producers.’
      • ‘Here's the big guy's cinematic history in brief.’
      • ‘Taking a look at news in brief tonight, a winter storm dropped up to 10 inches of snow in parts of the Midwest.’
      • ‘The consequence is mass unemployment and weakened schemes for social protection - in brief, a breaking up of society.’
      • ‘After the sports news, THBN repeated their lead story in brief.’
      • ‘Hamlet, in brief, was right and the Danish Establishment was wrong.’
      • ‘Some magnificent artistic traditions have been illustrated here in brief.’
      in short, in brief, to put it briefly, to cut a long story short, in a word, to sum up, in sum, to come to the point, in a nutshell, to put it in a nutshell, in essence, in outline
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Origin

Middle English: from Old French brief, from Latin brevis ‘short’. The noun is via late Latin breve ‘note, dispatch’, hence ‘an official letter’.

Pronunciation

brief

/brēf//brif/