Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.


Langdon's perplexity was cut short by the cry, "They're off!"

The complaint was cut short by the entrance of Mr. Galloway.

His soliloquy was cut short by the appearance of Jameson and his friend.

But I won't have my words criticised and cut short by you or any other man.

If the head and neck are enlarged, the trunk and extremities are cut short.

Whatever he was about to say was cut short by the approach of the rancher.

But he was cut short with a violence that seemed quite unnecessary.

Her reflections were cut short by the sudden appearance of the farm-wife from the house.

Jeff had not been in the street since the walk he had cut short with Madame Beattie.

But please don't let it tempt you to cut short your visit with me, my friend.


Old English sceort, scort "short, not long, not tall; brief," probably from Proto-Germanic *skurta- (cf. Old Norse skorta "to be short of," skort "shortness;" Old High German scurz "short"), from PIE root *(s)ker- (1) "to cut," with notion of "something cut off" (cf. Sanskrit krdhuh "shortened, maimed, small;" Latin curtus "short," cordus "late-born," originally "stunted in growth;" Old Church Slavonic kratuku, Russian korotkij "short;" Lithuanian skurstu "to be stunted," skardus "steep;" Old Irish cert "small," Middle Irish corr "stunted, dwarfish").

Meaning "having an insufficient quantity" is from 1690s. Meaning "rude" is attested from late 14c. Meaning "easily provoked" is from 1590s; perhaps the notion is of being "not long in tolerating." Short fuse in figurative sense of "quick temper" first attested 1968. To fall short is from archery. Short run "relatively brief period of time" is from 1879. Short story first recorded 1877. To make short work of "dispose of quickly" is first attested 1570s. Phrase short and sweet is from 1530s. To be short by the knees (1733) was to be kneeling; to be short by the head (1540s) was to be beheaded.


Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.