Definition of abbreviate
- an abbreviated session
- an abbreviated version of the story
- You can abbreviate the word building as bldg.
- "United States of America" is commonly abbreviated to "USA."
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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.
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.
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