Green’s Dictionary of Slang

short n.

1. as a vehicle [the comparatively short distance a street car or automobile would travel compared to a railway train; for sense 1b note Current Slang III:2 (1968): ‘This seems to be derived from the idea that most cars, especially compacts, are short in comparison with the old favorites, especially the Cadillac’].

(a) [1900s–50s] a street car.

(b) [1930s+] (also shot) an automobile.

2. [1930s–40s] (US) a short-barrelled or sawn-off revolver.

3. [1930s–50s] a short measure of drugs.

4. [1940s+] (US black/prison) a cigarette butt; a half-smoked cigarette.

5. [1980s+] a measure of drugs, esp. crack cocaine, that is sold at a reduced price.

6. [late 19C; 2010s] a short payment, thus the individual who makes it.

In phrases

crack a short (v.)

[1960s] (US Und.) to break into a car; usu. in pl. crack shorts.

on the hot shorts

[1940s] (US Und.) stealing automobiles.

push shorts (v.)

[1930s–50s] (drugs, also shove shorts) to sell in small amounts; to sell short measure.

take no shorts (v.) [SE short change]

[1980s+] (US black) to refuse to be fooled, cheated or put at a disadvantage.

will you short?

[late 19C] (Aus.) will you have a drink of spirits?

work the shorts (v.)

[1910s-40s] (US Und.) to pick pockets on a street car.