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From Middle English abreggen ‎(curtail, lessen), abregge, abrigge,[1] from Old French abregier abreger, from Late Latin abbrevio ‎(make brief), from Latin ad + brēvio ‎(shorten).[2]



abridge ‎(third-person singular simple present abridges, present participle abridging, simple past and past participle abridged)

  1. (transitive, archaic) To deprive; to cut off. [First attested from around (1150 to 1350)][3]
  2. (transitive, archaic, rare) To debar from. [First attested from around (1150 to 1350)][3]
  3. (transitive) To make shorter; to shorten in duration or extent. [First attested from around (1350 to 1470)][3]
    • (Can we date this quote?), Smollett, (Please provide the title of the work):
      The bridegroom ... abridged his visit.
    • (Can we date this quote?), Fuller, (Please provide the title of the work):
      She retired herself to Sebaste, and abridged her train from state to necessity.
  4. (transitive) To shorten or contract by using fewer words, yet retaining the sense; to epitomize; to condense; as, to abridge a history or dictionary. [First attested in 1384.][4]. [First attested from around (1350 to 1470)][3]
  5. (transitive) Cut short; truncate. [First attested from around (1350 to 1470)][3]
  6. (transitive) To curtail. [First attested from around (1350 to 1470)][3]
    He had his rights abridged by the crooked sheriff.

Usage notes[edit]

  • (deprive): Usually used with to or sometimes with from as, to abridge one of his rights.

Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]


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  1. ^ Laurence Urdang (editor), The Random House College Dictionary (Random House, 1984 [1975], ISBN 0-394-43600-8), page 5
  2. ^ Philip Babcock Gove (editor), Webster's Third International Dictionary of the English Language, Unabridged (G. & C. Merriam Co., 1976 [1909], ISBN 0-87779-101-5), page 6
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Lesley Brown (editor), The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, 5th edition (Oxford University Press, 2003 [1933], ISBN 978-0-19-860575-7), page 8
  4. ^ Elliott K. Dobbie, C. William Dunmore, Robert K. Barnhart, et al. (editors), Chambers Dictionary of Etymology (Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd, 2004 [1998], ISBN 0550142304), page 4