shorten

verb short·en \ ˈshȯr-tᵊn \
Updated on: 17 May 2018

Definition of shorten

shortened; shortening play \ˈshȯrt-niŋ, ˈshȯr-tᵊn-iŋ\
1 a : to reduce the length or duration of
b : to cause to seem short
2 a : to reduce in power or efficiency
  • is my hand shortened, that it cannot redeem
  • —Isaiah 50:2 (Revised Standard Version)
b obsolete : to deprive of effect
3 : to add fat to (something, such as pastry dough) in order to make tender and flaky
: to become short or shorter

shortener

play \ˈshȯrt-nər, ˈshȯr-tᵊn-ər\ noun

Examples of shorten in a Sentence

  1. shorten a pair of pants

  2. He had to shorten the speech.

  3. “Franklin D. Roosevelt” is often shortened to “FDR.”

Recent Examples of shorten from the Web

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

First Known Use of shorten

14th century

in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

See Words from the same year
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Synonym Discussion of shorten

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

SHORTEN Defined for English Language Learners

shorten

Definition of shorten for English Language Learners

  • : to become shorter

  • : to make (something) shorter


SHORTEN Defined for Kids

shorten

verb short·en \ ˈshȯr-tᵊn \

Definition of shorten for Students

shortened; shortening
: to make or become short or shorter
  • I shortened my trip.


Seen and Heard

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