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verb (used with object), trun·cat·ed, trun·cat·ing.
  1. to shorten by cutting off a part; cut short: Truncate detailed explanations.
  2. Mathematics, Computers. to shorten (a number) by dropping a digit or digits: The numbers 1.4142 and 1.4987 can both be truncated to 1.4.
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  1. truncated.
  2. Biology.
    1. square or broad at the end, as if cut off transversely.
    2. lacking the apex, as certain spiral shells.
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Origin of truncate

1480–90; < Latin truncātus (past participle of truncāre to lop), equivalent to trunc(us) trunk + -ātus -ate1
Related formstrun·cate·ly, adverbsub·trun·cate, adjective


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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for truncate


verb (trʌŋˈkeɪt, ˈtrʌŋkeɪt)
  1. (tr) to shorten by cutting off a part, end, or top
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adjective (ˈtrʌŋkeɪt)
  1. cut short; truncated
  2. biology having a blunt end, as though cut off at the tipa truncate leaf
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Derived Formstruncately, adverbtruncation, noun

Word Origin

C15: from Latin truncāre to lop
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 truncate


late 15c., from Latin truncatus "cut off," past participle of truncare "to maim, cut off," from truncus "mutilated, cut off" (see trunk). Related: Truncated; truncating.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

truncate in Medicine


  1. To shorten by or as if by cutting off, especially by cutting across at right angles to the long axis.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.