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."

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 Latin brevis, meaning "short." Abbreviate first appeared in print in English in the 15th century and derives from abbreviātus, the past participle of Late Latin abbreviāre, which in turn can be traced back to brevis. Abridge, which appeared a century earlier, also comes from abbreviāre but took a side trip through the Anglo-French abreger before arriving in Middle English as abreggen. Brevis is also the ancestor of English brief itself, as well as brevity and breviary ("a prayer book" or "a brief summary"), among other words.

Examples of abbreviate in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Meant to show strength and independence, Alzona’s sculptures abbreviate women’s bodies to such active parts as a torso or a pair of ankles and feet. Mark Jenkins, Washington Post, 1 July 2022 Having returned to public activities in May, and then having to abbreviate her schedule due to COVID, the 44-year-old royal appeared to welcome the opportunity to reengage and interact with the public. Peter Mikelbank,, 18 June 2022 As a result, manufacturers of electric vehicles are trying to abbreviate the supply chains of these metals by bringing their sources closer to them. Samanth Subramanian, Quartz, 19 Apr. 2022 Having readily available access to a niche workforce enables a company to abbreviate the development period as well as time to launch. Todd Greenbaum, Forbes, 1 Sep. 2021 The only sensible answer is to abbreviate Alaska with seven or more letters, preferably ten or fifteen. David Reamer, Anchorage Daily News, 13 Sep. 2021 Some brands, like Patek Philippe and Rolex, abbreviate or even spell out the day and date. Carol Besler, Forbes, 6 Sep. 2021 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, 29 Nov. 2020 Draconian measures will abbreviate Thanksgiving gatherings in a way unprecedented in U.S. history. Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, 19 Nov. 2020 See More

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.

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

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

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Cite this Entry

“Abbreviate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Sep. 2022.

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More Definitions for abbreviate


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

Kids Definition of abbreviate

: to make briefer : shorten

More from Merriam-Webster on abbreviate

Nglish: Translation of abbreviate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of abbreviate for Arabic Speakers


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