[ uh-bree-vee-eyt ]
See synonyms for: abbreviateabbreviatedabbreviating on

verb (used with object),ab·bre·vi·at·ed, ab·bre·vi·at·ing.
  1. to shorten (a word or phrase) by omitting letters, substituting shorter forms, etc., so that the shortened form can represent the whole word or phrase, as ft. for foot, ab. for about, R.I. for Rhode Island, NW for Northwest, or Xn for Christian.

  2. to reduce (anything) in length, duration, etc.; make briefer: to abbreviate a speech.

verb (used without object),ab·bre·vi·at·ed, ab·bre·vi·at·ing.
  1. to use abbreviations.

Origin of abbreviate

First recorded in 1400–50; late Middle English abbreviaten, from Late Latin abbreviātus shortened (past participle of abbreviāre), equivalent to Latin ad-ad- + breviātus (brevi(s) “short“ + -ātus-ate1)

synonym study For abbreviate

See shorten.

Other words from abbreviate

  • ab·bre·vi·a·tor, noun

Words Nearby abbreviate Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use abbreviate in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for abbreviate


/ (əˈbriːvɪˌeɪt) /

  1. to shorten (a word or phrase) by contraction or omission of some letters or words

  2. to shorten (a speech or piece of writing) by omitting sections, paraphrasing, etc

  1. to cut short

Origin of abbreviate

C15: from the past participle of Late Latin abbreviāre, from Latin brevis brief

Derived forms of abbreviate

  • abbreviator, noun

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012