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Possibly an allusion to painting, in which a painter typically finishes a work with short, careful, finishing strokes of the paint brush, or to golf, in which a player concludes each hole by making short strokes with a putter.


  • (file)


short strokes pl (plural only)

  1. (idiomatic, usually preceded by the) The final steps of an undertaking, especially one which has been lengthy or laborious.
    • 1990, M. E. Morris, The Last Kamikaze, →ISBN, p. 242:
      He knows they are in the short strokes—it's almost over.
    • 1998, Peter Botte, "Straw Signing Official Today," New York Daily News, 8 Jan. (retrieved 18 May 2009):
      Ironing out the short strokes has taken a little longer than expected, but it all should be worth the wait for Strawberry when the Yankees officially announce today they have re-signed the rehabbed slugger.
    • 2006, William Annett, The Final Undertaking, →ISBN, p. 87:
      Sly and Dave Chandler having set the deal, and Al McAfee moving in to do the legal fine points, Maxwell and Johnson tumbled into our lap for just over a million in cash up front and about twice that in Slumberhaven stock and options. I didn't even have to get involved, except for the short strokes toward the end.
  2. (idiomatic) Bare essentials.
    • 2005, Martin Levin, "Shelf Life" (review of Close Range by Annie Proulx), Globe and Mail (Canada), 15 Jan., p. D13:
      She can evoke an entire scene in short strokes, as in this from "The Wamsutter Wolf": "This trailer was in ruins, broken-backed because its west end had slipped off the cinder-block supports. All the windows had been shot out."


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