verb \ ə-ˈbrij \

Definition of abridge

abridged; abridging
1 : to shorten by omission of words without sacrifice of sense : condense
  • abridge a novel
  • an abridged dictionary
2 : to shorten in duration or extent
  • Tess wished to abridge her visit as much as possible …
  • —Thomas Hardy
3 formal : to reduce in scope : diminish
  • attempts to abridge the right of free speech
4 archaic : deprive



Examples of abridge in a Sentence

  1. abridge a dictionary by omitting rare words

  2. the library's hours have been drastically abridged to cut costs

Recent Examples of abridge from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of abridge

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 1brief

Synonym Discussion of 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

ABRIDGE Defined for Kids


verb \ ə-ˈbrij \

Definition of abridge for Students

abridged; abridging
: to shorten by leaving out some parts
  • abridge a dictionary

Law Dictionary


transitive verb \ ə-ˈbrij \

legal Definition of abridge

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 States
  • U.S. Constitution amend. XIV


or abridgement noun

Seen and Heard

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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


requiring immediate aid or action

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Spelling Words Quiz

  • alphabet-pasta-spelling-help
  • Which is the correct spelling?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

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