• synonyms


[fawr-shawr-tn, fohr-]
verb (used with object)
  1. Fine Arts. to reduce or distort (parts of a represented object that are not parallel to the picture plane) in order to convey the illusion of three-dimensional space as perceived by the human eye: often done according to the rules of perspective.
  2. to abridge, reduce, or contract; make shorter.
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Origin of foreshorten

First recorded in 1600–10; fore- + shorten
Related formsun·fore·short·ened, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for foreshorten

Historical Examples of foreshorten

  • The mountains dwarf mankind and foreshorten the procession of its long generations.

    The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table

    Oliver Wendell Holmes

  • You foreshorten as though you never used the model, and you've caught Kami's pasty way of dealing with flesh in shadow.

  • After all, foreshortening is only good drawing, and a good draughtsman will foreshorten well, while a bad draughtsman will not.

    The Painter in Oil

    Daniel Burleigh Parkhurst

  • The laws of perspective interfere and alter the apparent directions, and foreshorten the dimensions of its several parts.

  • Of course he could, if he had cared to do so; for if you can foreshorten a limb or a hand, much more a tree branch.

British Dictionary definitions for foreshorten


verb (tr)
  1. to represent (a line, form, object, etc) as shorter than actual length in order to give an illusion of recession or projection, in accordance with the laws of linear perspective
  2. to make shorter or more condensed; reduce or abridge
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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

Word Origin and History for foreshorten


c.1600, from fore- + shorten. Related: Foreshortened; foreshortening.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper