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 Luckily, the trick to it — an old-fashioned British pie crust Ms. Hussain makes with flour, shortening and water at a boil — is just as easy. Rachel Wharton, New York Times, "The Secret to Smooth Doughs and Fluffy Bread Is Already at Hand," 16 Apr. 2021 Mix 1 1/2 cups sugar, butter, shortening and eggs in large bowl. Tribune News Service, cleveland, "Ways to glam up 3 traditional Christmas cookie doughs," 8 Dec. 2020 For the Pastry: Cut the shortening into the flour and salt with a pastry cutter. Paul Stephen, San Antonio Express-News, "Recipe: Abigail Adams' Apple Pandowdy," 10 Feb. 2021 Heat a griddle on medium-high heat, and lightly grease it with lard or vegetable shortening. Paul Stephen, San Antonio Express-News, "Recipe: Mount Vernon Hoecakes," 10 Feb. 2021 The gradual shortening of days until the winter solstice messes up our circadian rhythm, the biological clock that takes note of daylight hours and regulates sleep, appetite, body temperature, heart rate and hormone production. Popular Science, "Can a happy lamp help cure your winter blues?," 24 Jan. 2021 Coat a 12-cup Bundt or tube pan with shortening; dust with flour. Judy Walker,, "New Orleans food blogger shares 'Recipes My Daddy Never Wrote Down' in her new cookbook," 12 Jan. 2021 In a mixing bowl, beat shortening and sugar with an electric mixer on low speed until light and fluffy. Arkansas Democrat-gazette, Arkansas Online, "12 Christmas cookie recipes to spice up your holiday repertoire," 17 Dec. 2020 Add the butter and shortening and pulse until the dough begins to clump, about 20 pulses. Jessica Battilana,, "This savory meat pie is a cheery indulgence for Christmas Eve," 18 Dec. 2020

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

Time Traveler

The first known use of shortening was in 1538

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Statistics for shortening

Last Updated

30 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Shortening.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for shortening



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

Comments on shortening

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