Definition of short-handed in US English:



  • 1Not having enough or the usual number of staff or crew.

    ‘the kitchen was a bit short-handed’
    as adverb ‘because two cashiers were out with the flu, we worked short-handed’
    • ‘According to sources in Ambon, these battalions have been utilised because the army is short-handed.’
    • ‘The director did not have time to do detailed calculations, but he knew that they were ‘very short-handed.’’
    • ‘The board is supposed to have 10 members but is currently short-handed because of Rooney's departure.’
    • ‘Or the front desk staff was seemingly inattentive because they were short-handed due to illness.’
    • ‘We could be short-handed; I've still got to find out which of the guys are available.’
    • ‘Staff at St Luke's are short-handed, meaning the ones who are there are having to work in more than one area.’
    • ‘History shows the Senate has a poor record of confirming election-year nominees, meaning the Supreme Court would be short-handed.’
    • ‘Preparation has been especially intense because the Army is short-handed on military police units, so these artillerymen are being quickly re-trained to provide desperately needed security for convoys.’
    • ‘Shanks said that in a bid to add more staff on to night shifts, they were leaving themselves short-handed during the quieter daytime periods.’
    • ‘She said: ‘The problem was caused when some staff left, leaving them short-handed.’’
    • ‘He had checked her records earlier, and the only reason she was hired as a maid was because the staff was really short-handed.’
    understaffed, undermanned, below strength
    View synonyms
  • 2Ice Hockey
    (of a goal) scored by a team playing with fewer players on the ice than their opponent.

    • ‘The 30-year-old winger is equally adept at deflating the opposition with a short-handed goal or a game-winner.’
    • ‘Graham Schlender scored two short-handed goals in a single shift.’
    • ‘Todd Fedoruk ended a 49-game goal drought, and Anaheim's Chris Kunitz scored the first short-handed goal of his career.’
    • ‘A little less than seven minutes into the second period the Mustangs pulled to within one goal when Sal Peralta scored a short-handed marker.’
    • ‘Patrik Elias scored a short-handed goal and set up a power-play tally by Grant Marshall for the Devils.’
    1. 2.1 (of a situation) occurring while or because a team has fewer than six players on the ice.
      • ‘It just taxed the Devils, who faced six short-handed situations one night earlier in a 3-1 victory at the New York Rangers.’
      • ‘One would have thought that skaters most often used in the most defensive aspect of the game - in short-handed situations - would be the players most specialized in defensive skills.’
      • ‘Branko Radivojevic had two goals and an assist for the Flyers, who entered with the league's worst penalty-killing unit and yielded four goals in 10 short-handed situations.’
      • ‘One would presume that those players who are on the ice during the most pressing defensive situations - the short-handed situations - are those players whose defensive skills are rated the highest by their coaches.’