short·​en·​ing ˈshȯrt-niŋ How to pronounce shortening (audio)
: the action or process of making or becoming short
specifically : the dropping of the latter part of a word so as to produce a new and shorter word of the same meaning
: an edible fat used to shorten baked goods

Examples of shortening in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Using a pastry blender, cut in shortening and butter until pieces are pea-size. Sheena Chihak, Better Homes & Gardens, 1 Feb. 2024 Slovenian Rosettes Makes 4 dozen 2 eggs 1 cup milk 1 teaspoon sugar 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 cup all-purpose flour 1 (3-pound) container solid vegetable shortening, for frying Powdered sugar, for garnish Whisk eggs, milk, sugar and salt together in a large bowl. Mary G. Pepitone, Kansas City Star, 30 Jan. 2024 Corrective Actions: Must eliminate pests. 37: Observed 2 boxes of sausages and 1 box of shortening stored directly on the floor in front of the hand sink. Harriet Ramos, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 27 Jan. 2024 Cut in shortening, using a pastry blender, until crumbly. Southern Living Test Kitchen, Southern Living, 31 Dec. 2023 Step 1: Prepare the Pan Grease muffin cups by brushing the bottoms and sides with shortening or softened butter, or spraying them with nonstick cooking spray. Nik Pugmire, Better Homes & Gardens, 5 Jan. 2024 Crisco shortening and Duncan Hines cake mixes rolled off assembly lines on their way to homes across America. Alexander Coolidge, The Enquirer, 4 Jan. 2024 Make dumpling dough: Meanwhile, combine flour, baking soda, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large bowl; cut in shortening with a pastry blender (or use your fingers) until mixture resembles coarse meal. Southern Living Test Kitchen, Southern Living, 30 Dec. 2023 Rosemary Biscuits Finely chopped rosemary adds herbal flair to these old-school biscuits made with half-and-half and shortening. Becky Krystal, Washington Post, 3 June 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'shortening.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1538, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of shortening was in 1538

Dictionary Entries Near shortening

Cite this Entry

“Shortening.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


: a making or becoming short or shorter
: a fat (as butter or lard) used in baking especially to make pastry flaky or crumbly
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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