Synonym Chooser

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

Some common synonyms of shorten are abbreviate, abridge, curtail, and retrench. While all these words mean "to reduce in extent," shorten implies reduction in length or duration.

shorten a speech

When might abbreviate be a better fit than shorten?

The words abbreviate and shorten are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, abbreviate implies a making shorter usually by omitting some part.

using an abbreviated title

Where would abridge be a reasonable alternative to shorten?

While in some cases nearly identical to shorten, 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 is curtail a more appropriate choice than shorten?

Although the words curtail and shorten have much in common, curtail adds an implication of cutting that in some way deprives of completeness or adequacy.

ceremonies curtailed because of rain

When would retrench be a good substitute for shorten?

The meanings of retrench and shorten largely overlap; however, retrench suggests a reduction in extent or costs of something felt to be excessive.

declining business forced the company to retrench

Thesaurus Entries Near shorten

Cite this Entry

“Shorten.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/shorten. Accessed 8 Dec. 2022.

More from Merriam-Webster on shorten

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