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The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:

Brief \Brief\ (br[=e]f), n. [See Brief, a., and cf. Breve.] 1. A short concise writing or letter; a statement in few words. [1913 Webster] Bear this sealed brief, With winged hastle, to the lord marshal. --Shak. [1913 Webster] And she told me In a sweet, verbal brief. --Shak. [1913 Webster] 2. An epitome. [1913 Webster] Each woman is a brief of womankind. --Overbury. [1913 Webster] 3. (Law) An abridgment or concise statement of a client's case, made out for the instruction of counsel in a trial at law. This word is applied also to a statement of the heads or points of a law argument. [1913 Webster] It was not without some reference to it that I perused many a brief. --Sir J. Stephen. [1913 Webster] Note: In England, the brief is prepared by the attorney; in the United States, counsel generally make up their own briefs. [1913 Webster] 4. (Law) A writ; a breve. See Breve, n., 2. [1913 Webster] 5. (Scots Law) A writ issuing from the chancery, directed to any judge ordinary, commanding and authorizing that judge to call a jury to inquire into the case, and upon their verdict to pronounce sentence. [1913 Webster] 6. A letter patent, from proper authority, authorizing a collection or charitable contribution of money in churches, for any public or private purpose. [Eng.] [1913 Webster] 7. pl. a type of men's underpants without legs, fitting tightly and held by an elastic waistband; also called Jockey shorts. [PJC] Apostolical brief, a letter of the pope written on fine parchment in modern characters, subscribed by the secretary of briefs, dated "a die Nativitatis," i. e., "from the day of the Nativity," and sealed with the ring of the fisherman. It differs from a bull, in its parchment, written character, date, and seal. See Bull. Brief of title, an abstract or abridgment of all the deeds and other papers constituting the chain of title to any real estate. In brief, in a few words; in short; briefly. "Open the matter in brief." --Shak. [1913 Webster]
The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:

Abstract \Ab"stract`\, n. [See Abstract, a.] 1. That which comprises or concentrates in itself the essential qualities of a larger thing or of several things. Specifically: A summary or an epitome, as of a treatise or book, or of a statement; a brief. [1913 Webster] An abstract of every treatise he had read. --Watts. [1913 Webster] Man, the abstract Of all perfection, which the workmanship Of Heaven hath modeled. --Ford. [1913 Webster] 2. A state of separation from other things; as, to consider a subject in the abstract, or apart from other associated things. [1913 Webster] 3. An abstract term. [1913 Webster] The concretes "father" and "son" have, or might have, the abstracts "paternity" and "filiety." --J. S. Mill. [1913 Webster] 4. (Med.) A powdered solid extract of a vegetable substance mixed with lactose in such proportion that one part of the abstract represents two parts of the original substance. [1913 Webster + AS] Abstract of title (Law), a document which provides a summary of the history of ownership of a parcel of real estate, including the conveyances and mortgages; also called brief of title. [1913 Webster + PJC] Syn: Abridgment; compendium; epitome; synopsis. See Abridgment. [1913 Webster]
Bouvier's Law Dictionary, Revised 6th Ed (1856):

BRIEF OF TITLE, practice, conveyancing. An abridgment of all the patents, deeds, indentures, agreements, records, and papers relating to certain real estate. 2. In making a brief of title, the practitioner should be careful to place every deed and other paper in chronological order. The date of each deed; the names of the parties; the consideration; the description of the property; should be particularly, noticed, and all covenants should also be particularly inserted. 3. A vendor of an interest in realty ought to have his title investigated, abstracted, and evidence in proof of it ready to be produced and established before he sells; for if he sell with a confused title, or without being ready to produce deeds and vouchers, he must be at the expense of clearing it. 1 Chit. Pr. 304, 463.