short order

a dish or serving of food that is quickly prepared upon request at a lunch counter.

1890–95 Unabridged


of, pertaining to, or specializing in short orders: a short-order cook; short-order diner.
performed or supplied quickly: They obtained a short-order divorce decree.

1900–05 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
short order
chiefly (US), (Canadian)
 a.  food that is easily and quickly prepared
 b.  (as modifier): short-order counter

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

in restaurant jargon, "to be made quickly," 1906, from short (adj.) + order (n.). First attested in an O. Henry story.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

short order

  1. Quickly; see in short order.

  2. An order of food to be prepared and served quickly, as in It's just a diner, serving short orders exclusively. This expression, dating from about 1890, gave rise to the adjective short-order, used not only in , a cook specializing in short orders, but in other terms such as short-order divorce, a divorce quickly obtained owing to liberal divorce laws.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
Scientists fear that if the bridge falls the entire shelf could disintegrate in
  relatively short order.
But in short order, scientists worldwide would be utterly depressed.
But then, the heating element inside turns cherry red, and in short order the
  edges of the briquettes start to glow.
Meanwhile, companies at risk had little choice but to shape up in short order.
Idioms & Phrases
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