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For abbreviations in Wiktionary, see Category:Abbreviations by language


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Alternative forms[edit]


First attested 1400–50. From Middle English abbreviacioun, from Middle French abreviation, from Late Latin abbreviātiō, from ab(from) + abbreviō(make brief), from Latin ad + breviō(shorten), from brevis(short).



abbreviation (plural abbreviations)

  1. The result of shortening or reducing; abridgment. [First attested around 1350 to 1470.][1]
  2. (linguistics) A shortened or contracted form of a word or phrase, used to represent the whole, utilizing omission of letters, and sometimes substitution of letters, or duplication of initial letters to signify plurality, including signs such as, +, =, @. [Late 16th century.][1]
  3. The process of abbreviating. [Mid 16th century.][1]
  4. (music) A notation used in music score to denote a direction, as pp or mf.
  5. (music) One or more dashes through the stem of a note, dividing it respectively into quavers, semiquavers, demisemiquavers, or hemidemisemiquavers.
  6. Any convenient short form used as a substitution for an understood or inferred whole.
    • the phrase "civil rights" is an abbreviation for a whole complex of relationships. - Pres. Truman's comittee on Civil Rights
  7. (biology) Loss during evolution of the final stages of the ancestral ontogenetic pattern.
  8. (mathematics) Reduction to lower terms, as a fraction.



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See also[edit]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Lesley Brown (editor), The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, 5th edition (Oxford University Press, 2003 [1933], ISBN 978-0198605751), page 3