Short in time, duration, length, or extent. Succinct; concise: a brief account of the incident. Curt; abrupt. A short, succinct statement. A condensation or an abstract of a larger document or series of documents. Law A formal outline listing main contentions along with supporting evidence and documentation. Law A document containing all the facts and points of law pertinent to a specific case, filed by an attorney before arguing the case in court. Roman Catholic Church A papal letter that is not as formal as a bull. A briefing. Short, tight-fitting underpants. To summarize. To give instructions or preparatory information to: briefed the astronauts before the mission. in brief In short.