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."

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Other Words from abbreviate

abbreviator \ ə-​ˈbrē-​vē-​ˌā-​tər How to pronounce abbreviator (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 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 Mourning and the landscape of death has been restricted, too, with funeral services abbreviated and in-person attendance shrunk to no more than 10. Hayes Gardner, The Courier-Journal, "Livestreaming funerals becomes increasingly common in age of coronavirus," 15 Apr. 2020 In California, nurses have protested limited access to personal protective equipment, often abbreviated as PPE. David Z. Morris, Fortune, "Glowsticks to surgical masks: Businesses pivot to tackle coronavirus shortages," 26 Mar. 2020 Lizzo took the mini-bag trend to its logical extreme carrying a charm-sized purse with her Pierpaolo Piccioli For Valentino abbreviated ruffled frock. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, "The Best Dressed Stars at the 2019 American Music Awards," 25 Nov. 2019

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.

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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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Time Traveler for abbreviate

Time Traveler

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

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Last Updated

23 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Abbreviate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/abbreviate. Accessed 7 Aug. 2020.

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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

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Comments on abbreviate

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