adj. brief·er, brief·est
1. Short in time, duration, length, or extent.
2. Succinct; concise: a brief account of the incident.
3. Curt; abrupt: We were upset because he was so brief with us.
1. A short, succinct statement.
2. A condensation or an abstract of a larger document or series of documents.
3. Law A document concisely stating the legal points being made, including often the citation and explanation of supporting legal authority.
4. Roman Catholic Church A papal letter that is not as formal as a bull.
5. A briefing.
6. often briefs Short, tight-fitting underpants.
7. briefs Chiefly British The instructions that are given to explain a task or assignment.
tr.v. briefed, brief·ing, briefsIdiom:
1. To give instructions or preparatory information to: briefed the astronauts before the mission.
2. To summarize.
[Middle English bref, from Old French, from Latin brevis. N., Middle English bref, written communication, from Old French, from Medieval Latin breve, from Latin, neuter of brevis, short; see mregh-u- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.