abridged; abridging

transitive verb

: to shorten by omission of words without sacrifice of sense : condense
abridge a novel
an abridged dictionary
: to shorten in duration or extent
Tess wished to abridge her visit as much as possible …Thomas Hardy
formal : to reduce in scope : diminish
attempts to abridge the right of free speech
archaic : deprive
abridger noun
Choose the Right Synonym for abridge

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

Example Sentences

abridge a dictionary by omitting rare words the library's hours have been drastically abridged to cut costs
Recent Examples on the Web What counts as a good reason to abridge a civil right to intimate privacy would be difficult to satisfy. WIRED, 6 Oct. 2022 No prior power can be twisted to abridge or infringe on our Civil Rights. Anchorage Daily News, 5 Aug. 2022 One way to measure these mores and practices is to count state laws: How many states recognize a putative right and how many try to abridge it? Akhil Reed Amar, WSJ, 13 May 2022 The Ninth Circuit has interpreted the case in a way that would allow states to abridge a business’s right to exclude people from its property. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 19 Mar. 2021 Indeed, at the most significant moments in African-American history, the Court reflected the most reactionary elements of the culture in its efforts to abridge, degrade, or simply eliminate the rights of African-Americans. Keeanga-yamahtta Taylor, The New Yorker, 25 Sep. 2020 A few hours later, the trio would depart for the airport to board a Sunday night flight back to Waters’ native Portland, his season abridged by the worldwide coronavirus pandemic. Hillel Kuttler, oregonlive, 30 Mar. 2020 Some of Avila’s answers have been abridged for length. Carlos Monarrez, Detroit Free Press, 8 Mar. 2020 But the First Amendment prohibits the government, not private companies, from abridging people's free speech rights. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, 5 Mar. 2020 See More

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

Word History


Middle English abreggen, abriggen "to reduce, diminish, shorten," borrowed from Anglo-French abreger, going back to Late Latin abbreviāre, from Latin ad- ad- + breviāre "to shorten, abridge," verbal derivative of brevis "short" — more at brief entry 1

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 4

Time Traveler
The first known use of abridge was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near abridge

Cite this Entry

“Abridge.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/abridge. Accessed 28 Jan. 2023.

Kids Definition


abridged; abridging
: to make less : diminish
forbidden to abridge the rights of citizens
: to shorten in duration or extent
: to shorten by omission of words : condense
abridger noun

Legal Definition


transitive verb
abridged; abridging
: to diminish or reduce in scope
no State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United StatesU.S. Constitution amend. XIV
abridgment noun
or abridgement

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