trun·​cate | \ˈtrəŋ-ˌkāt, ˈtrən-\
truncated; truncating

Definition of truncate 

(Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to shorten by or as if by cutting off

2 : to replace (an edge or corner of a crystal) by a plane



Definition of truncate (Entry 2 of 2)

: having the end square or even truncate leaves

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Other Words from truncate


truncation \trəŋ-​ˈkā-​shən, trən-​ \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for truncate

Synonyms: Verb

abbreviate, abridge, curtail, cut back, dock, elide, shorten, syncopate

Antonyms: Verb

elongate, extend, lengthen, prolong, protract

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The Connection Between Truncate and Trees


Truncate descends from the Latin verb truncare, meaning "to shorten," which in turn can be traced back to the Latin word for the trunk of a tree, which is truncus. Incidentally, if you've guessed that truncus is also the ancestor of the English word trunk, you are correct. Truncus also gave us truncheon, which is the name for a police officer's billy club, and the obscure word obtruncate, meaning "to cut the head or top from."

Examples of truncate in a Sentence


a truncated version of the 11 o'clock newscast followed the awards show, which ran over its time slot—as it always does

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The emails—most from about 2012 to 2014—are far from conclusive, lacking context and in some cases truncated. Kirsten Grind, WSJ, "Facebook Considered Charging for Access to User Data," 28 Nov. 2018 The Navy truncated the program to just 3 subs, each of which cost $4.4 billion each, and turned its attention to developing the smaller, more versatile, more affordable Virginia class. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "The Navy’s Next Attack Submarine Will Be Big, Expensive," 22 Oct. 2018 While the challenge often is truncating an abundance of material, sometimes the dilemma is the opposite. Carita Rizzo, The Hollywood Reporter, "Writers on 'Versace,' 'Tupac' and More Reveal Secrets to Bringing True Tales to the Screen," 1 June 2018 In addition to potential weekend sessions and truncating the August recess, the senators floated an interesting idea for handling regular fiscal 2019 spending bills ahead of August. Tribune News Service,, "Bill Cassidy, John Kennedy join GOP colleagues urging Senate to skip August recess," 15 May 2018 The endings are frequently murky and strange, often abruptly truncated. Parul Sehgal, New York Times, "A Master Storyteller From 19th-Century Brazil, Heir to the Greats and Entirely Sui Generis," 6 June 2018 After a 16-month absence from Slam tennis, and at the age of 36, Williams won her first three matches and looked to be a real contender in Paris before this pectoral injury truncated her tournament. Jon Wertheim,, "Three Thoughts on Serena Williams' Withdrawl From French Open," 4 June 2018 Their preference was to wait until the 17th day of the season, which would have delayed the start of Lucchesi’s service time clock while potentially truncating his season by just two starts. Kevin Acee,, "Padres prospect Joey Lucchesi to make major league debut Friday," 29 Mar. 2018 Looney has battled injuries in his career thus far, including one that delayed his start at UCLA and led to labrum surgery that truncated his rookie year in 2015-16. Jr Radcliffe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "68 Degrees of Separation: a Wisconsin connection to every team in the 2018 NCAA Tournament," 12 Mar. 2018

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


circa 1717, in the meaning defined at sense 1


15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for truncate


Latin truncatus, past participle of truncare to shorten, from truncus trunk

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Statistics for truncate

Last Updated

10 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for truncate

The first known use of truncate was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for truncate



English Language Learners Definition of truncate

: to make (something) shorter

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More from Merriam-Webster on truncate

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with truncate

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for truncate

Spanish Central: Translation of truncate

Nglish: Translation of truncate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of truncate for Arabic Speakers

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