Synonym Chooser

How is the word abbreviate different from other verbs like it?

Some common synonyms of abbreviate are abridge, curtail, retrench, and shorten. While all these words mean "to reduce in extent," abbreviate implies a making shorter usually by omitting some part.

using an abbreviated title

In what contexts can abridge take the place of abbreviate?

The synonyms abridge and abbreviate are sometimes interchangeable, but abridge implies a reduction in compass or scope with retention of essential elements and a relative completeness in the result.

the abridged version of the novel

When would curtail be a good substitute for abbreviate?

While the synonyms curtail and abbreviate are close in meaning, curtail adds an implication of cutting that in some way deprives of completeness or adequacy.

ceremonies curtailed because of rain

Where would retrench be a reasonable alternative to abbreviate?

In some situations, the words retrench and abbreviate are roughly equivalent. However, retrench suggests a reduction in extent or costs of something felt to be excessive.

declining business forced the company to retrench

When might shorten be a better fit than abbreviate?

The words shorten and abbreviate are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, shorten implies reduction in length or duration.

shorten a speech


Thesaurus Entries Near abbreviate

Cite this Entry

“Abbreviate.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 May. 2024.

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