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- a shortened or contracted form of a word or phrase, used to represent the whole, as Dr. for Doctor, U.S. for United States, lb. for pound.
- an act of abbreviating; state or result of being abbreviated; reduction in length, duration, etc.; abridgment; summary: His abbreviation of his famous monograph, an enormous endeavor in itself, made an excellent introduction to the volume of collected essays of which he was the editor.
- a short phrase or reduced form used to represent a larger, more complex idea, situation, set of beliefs, etc.: “Freedom of speech” has become an abbreviation for a wealth of debate—and case law—about protesters’ rights. The artist presented an abbreviation of line, plane, and curve; she creates breathtaking abstract representations of bodies you expect to leap off the canvas and start dancing.
- a shortened or contracted form of a word or phrase used in place of the whole
- the process or result of abbreviating
mid-15c., from Middle French abréviation (15c.), from Late Latin abbreviationem (nominative abbreviatio), noun of action from past participle stem of abbreviare “make brief,” from Latin ad “to” (see ad-) + breviare “shorten,” from brevis “short, low, little, shallow” (see brief (adj.)).
A shortened form of an expression, usually followed by a period. Dr. is a standard abbreviation for Doctor; MA is a standard abbreviation for Massachusetts.