Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • transitive verb To make shorter: synonym: shorten.
  • transitive verb To reduce (a word or phrase) to a shorter form intended to represent the full form.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To make briefer; abridge; make shorter by contraction or omission of a part: as, to abbreviate a writing or a word.
  • In mathematics, to reduce to the lowest terms, as fractions.
  • To practise or use abbreviation.
  • Abbreviated.
  • noun An abridgment; an abstract.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun obsolete An abridgment.
  • transitive verb To make briefer; to shorten; to abridge; to reduce by contraction or omission, especially of words written or spoken.
  • transitive verb (Math.) To reduce to lower terms, as a fraction.
  • adjective rare Abbreviated; abridged; shortened.
  • adjective (Biol.) Having one part relatively shorter than another or than the ordinary type.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb transitive, mathematics To reduce to lower terms, as a fraction.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • verb shorten
  • verb reduce in scope while retaining essential elements

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English abbreviaten, from Late Latin abbreviāre, abbreviāt- : ad-, ad- + breviāre, to shorten (from brevis, short; see mregh-u- in Indo-European roots).]

Examples

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