short·​en·​ing | \ˈshȯrt-niŋ, 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

Bizarrely, losing to Belgium in the third and final group game resulted in another shortening, this time to 8/1., "Timeline of Hope and Glory: How England's Odds of Winning the World Cup Have Changed in 6 Months," 11 July 2018 Pepperidge Farm’s version contains vegetable shortening. Carole Kotkin, miamiherald, "Puff pastry can be used in countless sweet and savory ways," 12 July 2018 Try this: Combine 3 level tablespoons of cocoa powder with 1 tablespoon of solid vegetable shortening. Houston Chronicle, "Can banana aging be foiled?," 26 June 2018 Late summer and early fall bring peaches, apples and Asian pears, which all need the large amount of daylight to mature and the shortening amount of light to ripen. Dave Epstein,, "It’s official: Summer has begun," 21 June 2018 When a sandy mixture has formed, add shortening and beat on medium speed until thoroughly incorporated. Amanda Garrity, Woman's Day, "Strawberry Tamales," 11 June 2018 Using two knives or a pastry cutter, cut in the shortening or butter until mixture resembles coarse meal. Teri Mena, sacbee, "A good pie crust can be fulfilling," 5 June 2018 Add shortening; pulse just until coarse crumbs form. The Good Housekeeping Test Kitchen, Good Housekeeping, "Best-Ever Buttermilk Biscuits," 21 Mar. 2016 Add butter and shortening and pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Woman's Day, "Cornmeal Biscuits," 31 Dec. 2011

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

The first known use of shortening was in 1538

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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

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More from Merriam-Webster on shortening

Nglish: Translation of shortening for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of shortening for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about shortening

Comments on shortening

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


by force of circumstances

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