Definition of shorthand in US English:



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

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