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 To make the dumplings, mix the dry ingredients, and work in the shortening with a fork until pea-size balls of floury dough start to form. Tim Neville, Outside Online, 8 July 2021 Republic prepares its dough off-site daily with vegetable shortening. Washington Post, 15 June 2022 Butter is reduced or left out in favor of vegetable shortening; water is used instead of milk; and, sometimes, the eggs are skipped entirely. New York Times, 21 Mar. 2022 With the mixer running on low, slowly add the confectioners’ sugar, the shortening, the milk and the vanilla. New York Times, 16 Mar. 2022 Here, vegetable shortening, not butter, does the trick. New York Times, 21 Mar. 2022 The shortening helps make the cake especially lofty and tender. Washington Post, 25 Apr. 2022 Years of sitting causes a functional shortening of muscles such as the hip flexors that compromises the running stride and increases injury risk. Matt Fitzgerald, Outside Online, 3 July 2014 These four studies illustrate the reasoning behind the CDC’s shortening of its isolation and quarantine recommendations to five days. William Petri, The Conversation, 4 Mar. 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of shortening

1538, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Learn More About shortening

Time Traveler for shortening

Time Traveler

The first known use of shortening was in 1538

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near shortening

shorten in


short ess

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for shortening

Last Updated

11 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Shortening.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Aug. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for shortening


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

Kids Definition of shortening

: a fat used in baking especially to make pastry flaky


Test Your Vocabulary

Commonly Confused Words Quiz

  • vector image of a face with thought expression
  • I went to the ______ store to buy a birthday card.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!