- The definition of abbreviate is to use a shortened form of something, such as a word or phrase, to represent the full form.
To abbreviate the name of New York City, you would use NYC to represent the full city name.
transitive verbab·bre·vi·at·ed, ab·bre·vi·at·ing, ab·bre·vi·ates
- To make shorter: abbreviated the meeting to make time for your visit. See Synonyms at shorten.
- To reduce (a word or phrase) to a shorter form intended to represent the full form.
Origin of abbreviateMiddle English abbreviaten, from Late Latin abbreviāre, abbreviāt- : ad-, ad- + breviāre, to shorten (from brevis, short; see mregh-u- in Indo-European roots).
(third-person singular simple present abbreviates, present participle abbreviating, simple past and past participle abbreviated)
- To make shorter; to shorten; to abridge; to shorten by ending sooner than planned. [First attested from around (1350 to 1470).]
- To reduce a word or phrase by means of contraction or omission to a shorter recognizable form. [First attested in the late 16th century.]
- (mathematics) To reduce to lower terms, as a fraction.
(comparative more abbreviate, superlative most abbreviate)
- (biology) Having one part relatively shorter than another or than the ordinary type. [First attested in the mid 19th century.]
- (obsolete) An abridgment. [Mid 16th century.]
- From Late Latin abbreviātus, perfect passive participle of abbreviō (“abbreviate”).