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Webster's Dictionary 1828 - Online Edition

Webster's Dictionary 1828

Americal Dictionary of the English Language

American Dictionary
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Brief

BRIEF, adjective [Latin brevis, when brevio, so shorten abbreviate. Brevis, in Latin, is doubtless contracted from the Gr., whence to abridge. The Greek word coincides in elements with break.]

Short; concise; it is used chiefly of language, discourses, writings and time; as a brief space, a brief review of a book. Shakespeare applies it to wars, to nature, etc. A little brief authority is authority very limited.

BRIEF, noun [In this sense the word has been received into most of the languages of Europe.]

1. An epitome; a short or concise writing. This is the general sense of the word, as explained by Zonaras on the council

of Carthage. It was thus used as early as the third century after Christ.

In modern times, an apostolical brief is a letter which the pope dispatches to a prince or other magistrate, relating to public affairs. A brief is distinguished from a bull, in being more concise, written on paper, sealed with red wax, and impressed with the seal of the fisherman or Peter in a boat. A bull is more ample, written on parchment, and sealed with lead or green wax.

2. In law, an abridgment of a client's case, made out for the instruction of council on a trial at law.

Also, a writ summoning a man to answer to any action; or any precept of the king in writing, issuing from any court, whereby he commands a thing to be done.

In Scots law, a writ issuing from the chancery, directed to any judge ordinary, commanding and authorizing that judge to call a jury to inquire into the case, and upon their verdict to pronounce sentence.

3. A letter patent, from proper authority, authorizing a public collection or charitable contribution of money for any public or private purpose.

4. A writing in general.

In music, the word, if I mistake not, is now written breve.