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From Middle English schortly, schortliche, from Old English sċortlīċe (shortly; before long; soon), equivalent to short +‎ -ly.


  • (file)
  • (US) IPA(key): /ʃɔːɹtli/


shortly (not comparable)

  1. In a short or brief time or manner; quickly.
  2. In or after a short time; soon.
    • 1898, Winston Churchill, chapter 4, in The Celebrity:
      No matter how early I came down, I would find him on the veranda, smoking cigarettes, or otherwise his man would be there with a message to say that his master would shortly join me if I would kindly wait.
  3. In few words
    Synonyms: briefly, concisely
    Ideas are generally expressed more shortly in verse than in prose
  4. In an irritable ("short") manner.
    Synonyms: abruptly, curtly
    • 2009, Susanne James, The Millionaire's Chosen Bride (page 147)
      'Well, I still think it was a rather off-hand way for you—for anyone—to behave,' he said shortly.
      Suddenly Melody felt trapped—and annoyed. And she didn't like being spoken to like a child, either.


Middle English[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

From Old English sċortlīċ, equivalent to short +‎ -ly.

Alternative forms[edit]



  1. lasting a short time; transitory
  2. brief; concise
  3. fast; quick

Etymology 2[edit]

From Old English sċortlīċe, equivalent to short +‎ -ly.

Alternative forms[edit]



  1. shortly (in a short period of time)
    • 14th Century, Chaucer, General Prologue
      Now have I toold you shortly in a clause
      Now that I have briefly told you above