Cambridge dictionary lists "shorthand" as an uncountable word.


However, I see a lot of its usage with the indefinite article. For example:

  • Another was labeled "Braves," a shorthand for ICE. - The New York Times
  • Developers have a shorthand for this style: the "classic graybox". - The New Yorker
  • There's a shorthand for this type of guy. - The Guardian - Film
  • "Bach and Beethoven" has become a shorthand for Western classical music. - Britannica


1 Answer 1


The dictionary definition that you cite is the traditional meaning. It is a skill that is rapidly being lost because voice recognition technology can replace it. The name of a skill is uncountable.

The usage that you are referring to is relatively new one that takes advantage of an existing word to mean something new but related. That meaning is a word or phrase routinely used as an allusive name for something. “Name” is a countable noun.

One meaning is countable; the other is not.

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