short·​en·​ing | \ ˈshȯrt-niŋ How to pronounce shortening (audio) , ˈshȯr-tᵊn-iŋ \

Definition of shortening

1 : 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
2 : an edible fat used to shorten baked goods

Examples of shortening in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web While the small difference in mortality rate between the two groups was not statistically significant, there was a shortening of hospital stay in remdesivir patients: an average of 11 days compared to 15. Popular Science, "Everything to know about remdesivir, the most promising COVID-19 treatment yet," 1 May 2020 Will the second- and third-order effects of rising unemployment and small-business failures include a shortening of lives? Nicholas Frankovich, National Review, "Pro-Life, or Not, in a Pandemic," 26 Mar. 2020 Zoning loopholes that enabled skyscrapers on mid-rise blocks are being scrutinized, and could even result in the shortening of some towers. Stefanos Chen, New York Times, "The People vs. Big Development," 7 Feb. 2020 In a large mixing bowl, combine sugars, butter, vegetable shortening, vanilla and eggs. Nancy Stohs, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Cookie Dough ‘Ice Cream’ Sandwiches," 3 Dec. 2019 But the shortening in this recipe makes for a forgiving, pliable dough that resists overworking while coming together more easily than an all-butter crust. Saveur Editors, Saveur, "Here is the Easiest Pie You’ll Ever Make," 5 Apr. 2017 Soon, companies were selling cottonseed oil by itself as a liquid or mixing it with animal fats to make cheap, solid shortenings, sold in pails to resemble lard. Helen Zoe Veit, Smithsonian Magazine, "How Crisco Made Americans Believers in Industrial Food," 3 Feb. 2012 Use a fork or a pastry blender to cut the shortening into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs with a few pea-size bits. Danielle Pointdujour, Essence, "3 Sweet Potato Pie Recipes By Black Cooks That You Need This Thanksgiving," 21 Nov. 2019 Grease the insert of a 5- to 6-qt slow cooker with 1 Tbsp vegetable shortening. Woman's Day Kitchen, Woman's Day, "Pan de Chocolate," 22 Oct. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'shortening.' 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 shortening

1538, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for shortening

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The first known use of shortening was in 1538

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Statistics for shortening

Last Updated

17 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Shortening.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for shortening


How to pronounce shortening (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of shortening

: a fat (such as butter) that is used in cooking or baking


short·​en·​ing | \ ˈshȯr-tᵊn-iŋ, ˈshȯrt-niŋ \

Kids Definition of shortening

: a fat used in baking especially to make pastry flaky

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