Etymology
Advertisement
shortness (n.)

Middle English shortnes, shortnesse, from Old English scortnes "want of length or height;" see short (adj.) + -ness. By late 14c. as "little duration; brevity in speaking or writing." From 1630s as "defectiveness." Shortness of breath is attested from 1570s.

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
brevity (n.)

"shortness," especially in speech or writing, c. 1500, from Latin brevitatem (nominative brevitas) "shortness" in space or time, from brevis "short" (from PIE root *mregh-u- "short").

Related entries & more 
asthmatic (adj.)

"pertaining to or afflicted with asthma," 1540s, from Latin asthmaticus, from Greek asthmatikos, from asthma "shortness of breath" (see asthma). The noun meaning "person with asthma" is recorded from 1610s.

Related entries & more 
asthma (n.)

"respiratory disorder characterized by paroxysms of labored breathing and a feeling of contraction in the chest," late 14c., asma, asma, from Latin asthma, from Greek asthma "shortness of breath, a panting," from azein "breathe hard," probably related to anemos "wind" (from PIE root *ane- "to breathe;" see animus). The -th- was restored in English 16c.

Related entries & more 
breve (n.)

c. 1300, "letter of authority;" see brief (n.); mid-15c. as a medieval musical notation having one-half or one-third the duration of a "long" note (longa), from Latin breve (adj.) "short" in space or time (see brief (adj.)). In modern use it has the value of two whole notes and is the longest notation (though seldom used), which reverses the etymological sense. The grammatical curved line placed over a vowel to indicate "shortness" (1540s) is from the same source.

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
abbreviation (n.)
Origin and meaning of abbreviation

early 15c., abbreviacioun, "shortness; act of shortening; a shortened thing," from Old French abréviation (15c.) and directly from Late Latin abbreviationem (nominative abbreviatio), noun of action from past-participle stem of abbreviare "shorten, make brief," from Latin ad "to" (see ad-) + breviare "shorten," from brevis "short, low, little, shallow" (from PIE root *mregh-u- "short").

From 1580s specifically of words. Technically a part of a word, usually the initial letter or syllable, used for the whole word but with no indication of the rest of the word (as abbr. for abbreviation or abbreviate). A contraction is made by elision of certain letters or syllables from the body of a word but still indicates its full form (as fwd. for forward; rec'd. for received).

Related entries & more 
carom (n.)

1779, "the hitting of two or three balls in succession by the cue ball at a single stroke," a shortening and alteration of carambole (1775), from French carambole "the red ball in billiards," from Spanish carombola "the red ball in billiards," perhaps originally "fruit of the tropical Asian carambola tree," which is round and orange and supposed to resemble a red billiard ball; from Marathi (southern Indian) karambal:

If the Striker hits the Red and his Adversary's Ball with his own Ball he played with, he wins two Points; which Stroke is called a Carambole, or for Shortness, a Carrom. ["Hoyle's Games Improved," London, 1779]
Related entries & more 
short (adj.)

Middle English short, from Old English sceort, scort "of little length; not tall; of brief duration," probably from Proto-Germanic *skurta- (source also of Old Norse skorta "to be short of," skort "shortness;" Old High German scurz "short"), from PIE root *sker- (1) "to cut," on the notion of "something cut off."

Compare Sanskrit krdhuh "shortened, maimed, small;" Latin curtus "short," cordus "late-born," originally "stunted in growth;" Old Church Slavonic kratuku, Russian korotkij "short;" Lithuanian skursti "to be stunted," skardus "steep;" Old Irish cert "small," Middle Irish corr "stunted, dwarfish," all considered to be from the same root.

Of memories from mid-14c. The sense of "not up to a required standard or amount" is from late 14c.; that of "not far enough to reach the mark" is by 1540s, in archery; that of "having an insufficient quantity" is from 1690s. The meaning "rude, curt, abrupt" is attested from late 14c. The meaning "easily provoked" is from 1590s; perhaps the notion is of being "not long in tolerating."

Of vowels or syllables, "not prolonged in utterance," late Old English. Of alcoholic drinks, colloquially, "unmixed with water, undiluted," by 1839, so called because served in small measure.

Short rib "asternal rib, one of the lower ribs," which are in general shorter than the upper ones, is from c. 1400. Short fuse in the figurative sense of "quick temper" is attested by 1951. Short run "relatively brief period of time" is from 1879. Short story for "work of prose fiction shorter than a novel" is recorded by 1877. To make short work of "dispose of quickly" is attested from 1570s. Phrase short and sweet is from 1530s. To be short by the knees (1733) was to be kneeling; to be short by the head (1540s) was to be beheaded.

Related entries & more