- butter, lard, or other fat, used to make pastry, bread, etc., short.
- Phonetics. the act, process, or an instance of making or becoming short.
- the act or process of dropping one or more syllables from a word or phrase to form a shorter word with the same meaning, as in forming piano from pianoforte or phone from telephone.
- clipped form.
Origin of shortening
Origin of shorten
Synonyms for shortenSee more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for shortening
Contemporary Examples of shortening
Remove the butter and shortening from the freezer, and toss them with the dry ingredients, coating them well.Cat Cora’s Valentine’s Day Menu for Single People
February 13, 2014
The RNC report recommends cutting the number of debates in half and shortening the debating season.What the GOP Autopsy Proves
March 28, 2013
From freeing prisoners to shortening school weeks, Benjamin Sarlin presents 10 of the toughest cuts.The Top 10 Most Brutal Budget Cuts
December 5, 2010
A law is being considered that would allow the shortening of the 30-day notice period required to get married.India's Strangely Modern Killing Spree
July 11, 2010
Historical Examples of shortening
The odds are shortening because, by Jove, people have taken the horse.
And up she went and down she went, shortening and lengthening, swelling and decreasing.Dr. Sevier
George W. Cable
Or was it indicative of a shortening of our religious privileges?The Prison Chaplaincy, And Its Experiences
Hence the demand has arisen for a shortening of the college course.College Teaching
With the vague notion of shortening sail, I let the sheet go from my hand.Romance
Joseph Conrad and F.M. Hueffer
- butter, lard, or other fat, used in a dough, cake mixture, etc, to make the mixture short
- to make or become short or shorter
- (tr) nautical to reduce the area of (sail)
- (tr) to make (pastry, bread, etc) short, by adding butter or another fat
- gambling to cause (the odds) to lessen or (of odds) to become less
1540s, "action of making short," verbal noun from shorten. Meaning "butter or other fat used in baking" (1796) is from shorten in the sense "make crumbly" (1733), from short (adj.) in the secondary sense of "easily crumbled" (early 15c.), which perhaps arose via the notion of "having short fibers." This is the short in shortbread and shortcake.