verb short·en \ˈshr-tən\

: to become shorter

: to make (something) shorter

short·enedshort·en·ing \ˈshrt-niŋ, ˈshr-tən-iŋ\

Full Definition of SHORTEN

transitive verb
a :  to reduce the length or duration of
b :  to cause to seem short
a :  to reduce in power or efficiency <is my hand shortened, that it cannot redeem — Isa 50:2(Revised Standard Version)>
b obsolete :  to deprive of effect
:  to add fat to (as pastry dough) in order to make tender and flaky
intransitive verb
:  to become short or shorter
short·en·er \ˈshrt-nər, ˈshr-tən-ər\ noun

Examples of SHORTEN

  1. shorten a pair of pants
  2. He had to shorten the speech.
  3. Franklin D. Roosevelt is often shortened to FDR.

First Known Use of SHORTEN

14th century

Synonym Discussion of SHORTEN

shorten, curtail, abbreviate, abridge, retrench mean to reduce in extent. shorten implies reduction in length or duration <shorten a speech>. curtail adds an implication of cutting that in some way deprives of completeness or adequacy <ceremonies curtailed because of rain>. abbreviate implies a making shorter usually by omitting some part <using an abbreviated title>. abridge implies a reduction in compass or scope with retention of essential elements and a relative completeness in the result <the abridged version of the novel>. retrench suggests a reduction in extent or costs of something felt to be excessive <declining business forced the company to retrench>.

Rhymes with SHORTEN

SHORTEN Defined for Kids


verb short·en \ˈshr-tən\

Definition of SHORTEN for Kids

:  to make or become short or shorter <I shortened my trip.>


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