trun·​cate | \ ˈtrəŋ-ˌkāt How to pronounce truncate (audio) , 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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from truncate


truncation \ trəŋ-​ˈkā-​shən How to pronounce truncation (audio) , trən-​ \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for truncate

Synonyms: Verb

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

Antonyms: Verb

elongate, extend, lengthen, prolong, protract

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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

Those 15 minutes of silent reading have been truncated and moved into the advisory periods set for Mondays and Fridays. Andrew J. Campa, Burbank Leader, "Changes are in store for Luther Burbank Middle School’s class schedule," 8 Aug. 2019 Nearly a third of the genes have picked up mutations that cause them to produce a protein that is truncated, with translation stopping before the full protein is made. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Infectious cancer hasn’t done much over the last 4,000 years," 3 Aug. 2019 But the plot involving Gyllen’s estranged dad (Ben Chaplin), who has decided to start a new family in southwestern France, feels truncated, hardly giving enough time for their big crisis to develop. Jordan Mintzer, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Roads': Film Review," 30 July 2019 This stat truncates difficulty scores at 33 because if ATP rankings were used, unseeded players would be over-weighted (in my opinion). Jon Wertheim,, "How Does Djokovic's Wimbledon Win Impact His GOAT Status?," 24 July 2019 His first year was truncated by injury problems, whilst Dembele looked short of confidence for large periods last term., "Ousmane Dembele Handed Barcelona Lifeline as Blaugrana Decide to Ignore Offers for Frenchman," 20 June 2019 But truncating the speech to a few minutes can be as brutal as seeing a literary masterpiece reduced to a few lines on an inspirational greeting card. Walter Shapiro, The New Republic, "On the Oratory Trail in Iowa," 11 June 2019 Rising production costs, combined with the huge cost of those land wars and an economic recession, truncated the number of Zumwalts from 32 to seven, and finally to just three. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "As the Final Zumwalt-Class Stealth Destroyer Launches, the Ships’ Fate Remains Unclear," 11 Dec. 2018 Bank regulations have expanded and tightened, cross-border financial linkages (such as via bank lending) have been truncated, and the Fed has worked far harder to support growth. WSJ, "Corrections & Amplifications," 11 Sep. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about truncate

Listen to Our Podcast about truncate

Statistics for truncate

Last Updated

20 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for truncate

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for truncate



English Language Learners Definition of truncate

formal : to make (something) shorter

Keep scrolling for more

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

Comments on truncate

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


friendly or mild

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Where in the World? A Quiz

  • peter bruegel tower of babel painting
  • What language does pajama come from?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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