I've always been partial to organic interpretation/operation in literature and language. Much of my personal choice of use in words and phrases comes down to an intuitive stylistic bearing that determines whether a given word or phrase gels with the context.

I was writing and an alternative use of 'brief' came to mind. "To brief the bitter cold." Where the verb means, 'to make short or bearable'. Given that 'brief' already holds a few meanings in different parts of speech (from Google):

adjective: brief; comparative adjective: briefer; superlative adjective: briefest

1. of short duration.

noun: brief; plural noun: briefs

1. a concise statement or summary.

verb: brief; 3rd person present: briefs; past tense: briefed; past participle: briefed; gerund or present participle: briefing

1. instruct or inform (someone) thoroughly, especially in preparation for a task.

The common verb usage does not connect with the other two usages, other than the fact that "briefing" a person is typically done in a short time period.

The provided usage for 'brief', "to make shorter/more bearable", or perhaps a better definition that succeeds that, seems to describe an act for which I can't otherwise find a word. If anyone has an existing alternative, please do let me know.

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    So you're after a word that means "to make shorter/more bearable"? – KillingTime Jun 19 at 7:45
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    What does "The provided usage for 'brief'" mean? Who provided it? What are you talking about? – Old Brixtonian Jun 19 at 8:17
  • I am indeed after a word that means just that. The provided usage of brief is "to make short(er)/more bearable". That is what I'm talking about. – Zaptart Jun 19 at 8:45
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    I think that's just a mishearing of to brave the bitter cold. – user339660 Jun 19 at 14:24
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    I don't think there is a single verb (or at least another one in a more direct fashion) that means to make short and bearable. You may be stuck with the somewhat poetic use of brief. Otherwise, you'll have to rephrase the sentence. – Jason Bassford Jun 19 at 17:01

'Alleviate' might work, or other synonyms for the verb 'ease'.

Btw, the verb usage of 'brief' does relate to the two noun usages if you think of the British context of 'briefing' a barrister to argue a case in court. The solicitor gives the summary of the facts and legal arguments (the brief) to the barrister. That concept was then expanded beyond the legal world to any task instruction. See: https://www.lexico.com/en/definition/brief


The normal words for "to make something brief" are "abbreviate", which has the same root as "brief":

(transitive) To make shorter; to shorten (in time); to abridge; to shorten by ending sooner than planned. [First attested from around (1350 to 1470).]

or less formally, "shorten":

(transitive) To make shorter; to abbreviate.

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