in brief

Idioms & Phrases

in brief

Also, in short; in a word. Concisely, in few words, to sum up. All three phrases usually precede or follow a summary statement, as in In brief, we didn't get much out of his speech, or There was no agenda; in short, they could discuss whatever they wanted to, or The sun was shining, the sky was clearin a word, it was a beautiful day. The first expression dates from the early 1400s; in short dates from the 1300s but the present usage dates from the 1700s; the hyperbolic in a word (since there is nearly always more than one word) dates from the late 1500s.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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