When you enter a futures contract that commits you to sell or deliver the underlying product, you go short or have a short position.
You're also going short when you write an options contract, giving the buyer the right to exercise the contract. With stocks, you go short when you borrow shares of stock through your broker and sell them at their current market price.
In contrast, you go long when you enter a futures contract to buy, when you purchase an options contract, or buy a stock either to hold in your portfolio or sell at some point in the future.
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