Share this entry

Share this page

Shortenings

Shortenings are abbreviations in which the beginning or end of the word has been dropped. In some cases both the beginning and the end have been omitted. Examples include: 

shortening
original form
cello
violoncello
flu
influenza
ad
advertisement
blog
weblog
rhino
rhinoceros
phone
telephone
bike
bicycle
  
In some cases, the shortening involves a slight spelling change, as with bike.
 
These shortenings are now an accepted part of the language. In fact some of the original, longer forms tend to be used only in formal or technical writing. It would sound rather odd, for example, to describe a person as suffering from influenza unless you were writing in a scientific context. 
  • You do not need to use an apostrophe in shortenings to show that letters have been omitted.
  • You should use a capital letter only if the original form also starts with a capital letter. For example: 
Med
Mediterranean
Brit
British (person)
Jag
Jaguar (car)
  • You do not need to use a period unless the shortening is one created specifically for use in writing. For example:
Dec.
December
Tue.
Tuesday
etc.
et cetera

Share this entry

Share this page


Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Grammar and usage