Synonym Chooser

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

Some common synonyms of curtail are abbreviate, abridge, retrench, and shorten. While all these words mean "to reduce in extent," curtail adds an implication of cutting that in some way deprives of completeness or adequacy.

ceremonies curtailed because of rain

When is abbreviate a more appropriate choice than curtail?

The synonyms abbreviate and curtail are sometimes interchangeable, but abbreviate implies a making shorter usually by omitting some part.

using an abbreviated title

Where would abridge be a reasonable alternative to curtail?

The words abridge and curtail are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, 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 might retrench be a better fit than curtail?

The words retrench and curtail can be used in similar contexts, but retrench suggests a reduction in extent or costs of something felt to be excessive.

declining business forced the company to retrench

When would shorten be a good substitute for curtail?

The meanings of shorten and curtail largely overlap; however, shorten implies reduction in length or duration.

shorten a speech

Thesaurus Entries Near curtail

Cite this Entry

“Curtail.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Nov. 2023.

More from Merriam-Webster on curtail

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