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

WORD ORIGIN

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.

MORE RELATED WORDS FOR SHORT-AND-SWEET

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