Shortest in Math – Definition, Examples, Facts

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What Is ‘Shortest’ in Math?

“Shortest” simply refers to the smallest in length or height. It helps us understand and compare measurements like length, height, or distance.

We use different words to compare quantities, such as: 

short and long to compare lengths. 

small and big to compare size. 

short and tall to compare heights.

Using “short” to compare height and length

The term ‘shortest’ refers to the least length, height, or distance. It can also refer to the least period of time or a way of doing something that takes the least time. 

Shortest: Definition

“Shortest” is the word used to describe an object with the smallest length, height, or distance.

For example, we use the word ‘shortest’ in the sentence like ‘the shortest pencil’ or ‘the shortest kid in the class’ or ‘the shortest road’. We sometimes use it to describe the least amount of time. For example, we can say ‘the shortest period or duration’.

Real Life Example to Identify the Shortest Object

Take a look at the image above. What is the shortest object here?

Clearly, it is the pen since it is the smallest in length.

Finding the object with the “shortest” length by comparison

Shortest in Length

Let’s take a look at the given image. There are three pencils. Comparing the lengths, we can say that the GREEN pencil is the shortest in length. 

On the other hand, the PINK one is the longest of the three and the BLUE pencil is shorter than the PINK one.

Shortest in length example; comparing lengths of pencils

Shortest in Height

There are four blocks shown in the given image. Comparing their heights, we can see that the RED one is the shortest of them all in height.

Shortest in height: example

Shortest in Distance

Consider an example in geometry. The distance of the point P and the line l can be drawn using many different line segments, but the shortest distance among them is the perpendicular PD. So, the shortest distance of a point to a line is the perpendicular distance.

Shortest distance between a point and a line

How to Use Shortest in a Sentence?

Here are some “shortest examples:

  • The shortest way to the supermarket is the main street.
  • The shortest path home is by the central mall. 
  • The shortest person in the room is standing there. 


Shortest is a concept that helps us understand one quantity with respect to others. It helps us compare the measurements of different objects and quantities and express which is the least!

Solved Examples On Shortest

1. Heena is 6 feet tall. Alex is 6.3 feet tall. Helen is 5.9 feet tall. Who is the shortest?


Helen is the shortest because her height is the least of the three persons. 

2. Identify the crayon smallest in length.

Identifying the shortest crayon by comparing lengths


The blue crayon is the shortest since it is the smallest in length. 

3. Jack took 20 minutes to complete a test. Raj took 30 minutes. Linda took 1 hour to complete it. Who finished the test in the shortest time?


20 minutes was the least amount of time taken to complete the test. 

4. Identify the stop sign that has the least height.

Comparing the heights of the STOP signs

Solution: The first STOP sign is the shortest in height.

Practice Problems On Shortest

Shortest in Math

Attend this quiz & Test your knowledge.


Tim is 5.7 feet tall. Luke is 6 feet tall. Nate is 5.2 feet tall. Who is the shortest?

Tim and Nate
Correct answer is: Nate
Comparing the heights, we can say that Nate is the shortest.

Which of the following candles is the tallest?

Shortest in Math – Definition, Examples, Facts
Correct answer is: Pink
The pink candle is the tallest because it has the greatest length.

There are three routes to reach school. One is 3 miles long, the second is 2 miles long, and the third is 1 mile long. If you take the shortest route, how long will the distance be?

2.5 miles
1.5 miles
1 mile
2 miles
Correct answer is: 1 mile
The path that is 1 mile long has the least distance out of the three paths to school.

The middle vase is the _____ among three.

Shortest in Math – Definition, Examples, Facts
Correct answer is: shortest
Since the middle vase has the least height, we can say it is the shortest.

Who is the shortest animal: zebra, camel, rabbit, or horse?

Correct answer is: Rabbit
The rabbit has the least height compared to the other three animals.

Frequently Asked Questions On Shortest

Yes, we can say much shorter when we want to indicate that a certain quantity is much lesser than another. For example, “This lamp is much shorter than what was indicated on the website.”

We use “few” to indicate a certain quantity and emphasize that it is a small quantity. For example, “There were few students in class that day.” We use “short” to describe a measurement like length and emphasize that it is small.

Shortest is a comparative word because it helps us compare two objects in terms of height or length. It is one of the comparative forms of the word “short.” The other is “shorter,” which is used when comparing two objects or things.

No, it is grammatically incorrect. “Shortest” in itself indicates that it is the most short. So, there is no need to use “most” with it.