Definition of brief in English:


Syllabification: brief
Pronunciation: /brēf



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  • 1A concise statement or summary: their comments were cribbed right from industry briefs
  • 1.1A set of instructions given to a person about a job or task: his brief is to turn around the country’s economy
    More example sentences
    • 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 receiving an informative brief on the testing process given by the warrant officer, the staff were counted.
    • Chief executives of government authorities often complain that they are not given an unambiguous brief with clear mandates and a single objective.
  • 1.2US A written summary of the facts and legal points supporting one side of a case, for presentation to a court.
    More example sentences
    • The briefs on the other side of the case were written exclusively by major media companies, congressmen, and copyright holders.
    • 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.
    • The Association has issued a number of legal briefs to support the civil rights of individuals.
  • 1.3A letter from the pope to a person or community on a matter of discipline.
    More example sentences
    • He has delivered a papal brief recommending it to that prince that he will take the same steps in this matter.
    • He discovered that the agreement, far from being in accordance with the papal Brief, was in direct opposition to it.
    • For a papal brief to be valid, it has to be read in the presence of those whom it concerns.


[with object] Back to top  


hold no brief for

Not support or argue in favor of: I hold no brief for the president
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • This newspaper holds no brief for the Chief Justice.

in brief

In a few words; in short: he is, in brief, the embodiment of evil the news in brief
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • Here's the big guy's cinematic history in brief.



More example sentences
  • Despite the briefness of the play, there is certainly no lack of depth here.
  • Surprised by the briefness of the conversation, I stuttered back, ‘O-okay, I guess.’
  • Despite its briefness, Mason's work is the best of the three actors who are first billed in the film.


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

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