"a short letter, note," 1776, short for chitty (1690s), from Mahrati (Hindi) chitthi "letter, note, memorandum," from Sanskrit chitra-s "distinctively marked" (see cheetah).
1790, "cut short" (adj.), from cut (v.). Also used as a noun of a variety of things: a short spoon, a short tobacco pipe, a pop-gun, also a dismissive term for a naughty or wanton woman or girl. Also used of a wren or a hare.