abbreviate

verb
ab·​bre·​vi·​ate | \ ə-ˈbrē-vē-ˌāt How to pronounce abbreviate (audio) \
abbreviated; abbreviating

Definition of abbreviate

transitive verb

: to make briefer an abbreviated session an abbreviated version of the story especially : to reduce (a word or name) to a shorter form intended to stand for the whole You can abbreviate the word building as bldg. "United States of America" is commonly abbreviated to "USA."

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from abbreviate

abbreviator \ ə-​ˈbrē-​vē-​ˌā-​tər How to pronounce abbreviate (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for abbreviate

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

Did You Know?

Abbreviate and abridge both mean "to make shorter," so it probably will come as no surprise that both derive from the Latin verb brevis, meaning "short." Abbreviate first appeared in print in English in the 15th century and derives from abbreviatus, the past participle of Late Latin abbreviare, which in turn can be traced back to brevis. Abridge, which appeared a century earlier, also comes from abbreviare but took a side trip through Anglo-French before arriving in Middle English as abregen. Brevis is also the ancestor of English brief itself, as well as brevity and breviary ("a prayer book" or "a brief summary"), among others.

Examples of abbreviate in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Therefore, there’s still a lot up for grabs, and the NFL couldn’t just abbreviate the season and start the playoffs early. Sam Farmer, Los Angeles Times, "Nightmare for Broncos as COVID-19 crisis wreaks havoc, and NFL could take bigger hits," 29 Nov. 2020 Draconian measures will abbreviate Thanksgiving gatherings in a way unprecedented in U.S. history. Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, "The Left Politicizes COVID: Irony Abounds," 19 Nov. 2020 Rothberg wanted to abbreviate all of this commotion. Gideon Lewis-kraus, The New Yorker, "Jonathan Rothberg’s Race to Invent the Ultimate Rapid At-Home COVID-19 Test," 29 Aug. 2020 The reason is that your nasal cavities produce the molecule nitric oxide, which chemists abbreviate NO, that increases blood flow through the lungs and boosts oxygen levels in the blood. The Conversation, oregonlive, "The science behind why this is the safest way to breathe to avoid coronavirus," 19 June 2020 The reason is that your nasal cavities produce the molecule nitric oxide, which chemists abbreviate NO, that increases blood flow through the lungs and boosts oxygen levels in the blood. The Conversation, "The right way to breathe during the coronavirus pandemic," 19 June 2020 Look closely for minor differences, such as spelling out Street instead of abbreviating it. CBS News, "Where's my stimulus check? Answers to common payment questions," 29 May 2020 And if this offseason winds up being especially abbreviated by coronavirus, Dallas can scarcely afford for Prescott to skip any of it. Nate Davis, USA TODAY, "NFL free agency grades 2020: Tom Brady's decision boosts Buccaneers, sinks Patriots," 26 Mar. 2020 It's been dubbed Pediatric Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome, abbreviated as PMIS or PIMS. Audrey Mcnamara, CBS News, "What parents should know about the mysterious illness appearing in kids, according to doctors," 15 May 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'abbreviate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of abbreviate

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for abbreviate

Middle English abbreviaten, borrowed from Late Latin abbreviātus, past participle of abbreviāre "to make shorter" — more at abridge

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about abbreviate

Time Traveler for abbreviate

Time Traveler

The first known use of abbreviate was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Listen to Our Podcast about abbreviate

Statistics for abbreviate

Cite this Entry

“Abbreviate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/abbreviate. Accessed 20 Apr. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for abbreviate

abbreviate

verb
ab·​bre·​vi·​ate | \ ə-ˈbrē-vē-ˌāt How to pronounce abbreviate (audio) \
abbreviated; abbreviating

Kids Definition of abbreviate

: to make briefer : shorten

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on abbreviate

What made you want to look up abbreviate? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Thing: Flower Edition

Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!