Something brief is short and to the point. If you make a brief visit, you don't stay long. If you make a brief statement, you use few words. If you wear brief shorts, you are showing a little too much leg.

As a noun, a brief is a condensed summary or abstract, especially a legal summary of a case. Lawyers submit pretrial briefs to the court outlining the witnesses for the prosecution or defense. As a verb, brief means to give essential information to someone — like the President gets briefed on important matters.

Definitions of brief
  1. adjective
    of short duration or distance
    “a brief stay in the country”
    primarily temporal sense; indicating or being or seeming to be limited in duration
  2. adjective
    concise and succinct
    “covered the matter in a brief statement”
    expressing much in few words
  3. adjective
    (of clothing) very short
    synonyms: abbreviated
    (primarily spatial sense) having little length or lacking in length
  4. verb
    give essential information to someone
    “The reporters were briefed about the President's plan to invade”
    see moresee less
    type of:
    apprise, apprize, instruct
    make aware of
  5. noun
    a condensed written summary or abstract
    see moresee less
    type of:
    abstract, outline, precis, synopsis
    a sketchy summary of the main points of an argument or theory
  6. noun
    a document stating the facts and points of law of a client's case
    synonyms: legal brief
    see moresee less
    amicus curiae brief
    a brief presented by someone interested in influencing the outcome of a lawsuit but who is not a party to it
    type of:
    instrument, legal document, legal instrument, official document
    (law) a document that states some contractual relationship or grants some right
Word Family

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week