Definition of abridgement in English:


(US abridgment)


mass noun
  • 1The action of abridging a text.

    • ‘It is true that Herbert Butterfield remarked that the trick of writing history lay in ‘the art of abridgement’, but abridgement must be both sensible and defensible.’
    • ‘Not even Balzac was too great for abridgement, carped the critics.’
    • ‘I tend not to be a fan of abridged work, unless the abridgment was done by the author.’
    • ‘The letter has been published online by The National Center without abridgment.’
    • ‘The original manuscript for this biography was three times as long as the present work; abridgement necessitated brutal condensation.’
    • ‘Work on abridgement of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad's masterpiece Tarjumanul Quran is going to be started soon.’
    • ‘Other times they shorten what has to be read through abridgement and synthesis.’
    • ‘Indeed, a sense of hasty abridgement endures throughout the first half: incident follows incident in a breezy sequence at odds with the novel's steady accretion of narrative.’
    • ‘The sources, however, have disappeared in the severe abridgement which has reduced the lexicon to a glossary, copious though that remains.’
    1. 1.1count noun A shortened version of a larger work.
      ‘an abridgement of Shakespeare's Henry VI’
      • ‘This article is a substantial abridgement of a chapter from the author's book Has science got rid of God?’
      • ‘‘The supply of abridgments created its own demand,’ Price explains, and she argues that Mrs. Humphrey Ward's nineteenth-century abridgment of Clarissa ‘claimed to respond to modern readers' need for an abridgment like hers.’’
      • ‘Various abridgements were made of it in the early middle ages, the most widely disseminated of which was the so-called Breviary of Alaric or Lex Romana Visigothorum.’
      • ‘There have been other abridgments compiled by scholars, and none less popular and effective than Bernard DeVoto's best-selling version that first appeared in 1953.’
      • ‘The first Collegiate was compiled to be used by college students, taking its place in a series of abridgements intended to serve students from primary to university level.’
      • ‘Clear and informative maps introduce each chapter, and a comprehensive index makes this abridgment very accessible.’
      • ‘In 1853, she published an abridgement and translation of Comte's Cours, which made it accessible to a widespread audience for the first time.’
      • ‘If I recall correctly this is actually an abridgement or condensation of a longer, more academically-oriented book.’
      • ‘Extensive repository supplements have turned the online journal into the complete version of AJRCCM, and the paper copy is simply an abridgement.’
      • ‘Macmillan's series of Agatha Christie audio CDs, with their elegant black-and-white cover designs, features pacey abridgements of the prolific writer's rather uninspiring prose.’
      • ‘In this eight-disc set, an abridgement of the book of the same name and the first of three volumes, Simon Schama retells the creation of modern Britain.’
      • ‘Michael produced an abridgement of Manning Clark's A History of Australia, published by Melbourne University Press and Penguin.’
      • ‘The cuts have been carefully made and produce little sense of disruption, although it might be good for Longman (in the interests of truth in advertising) to make the inclusion of abridgments more apparent in future volumes of this series.’
      • ‘This article is an abridgement of the final chapter.’
      • ‘Fisher's guide to a healthy life sold 400,000 copies in 21 editions in his lifetime, far more than any of his other books, while insurance companies distributed 12 to 15 million copies of an abridgement.’
      • ‘Flo Gibson records only the classics - and only the entire book, never an abridgement.’
      • ‘‘Sherburn's abridgment should no longer continue to masquerade as Clarissa in the canon of English literature,’ railed these critics in 1988, bolstered by the recent publication of the Penguin paperback.’
      • ‘The present book is an abridgement of Congar's massive two-volume work on tradition, and is highly recommended for both personal study and classroom use.’
      • ‘Possokhov uses excerpts from fellow Ukrainian Yuri Krasavin's film scores and abridgments of familiar Beethoven works.’
      • ‘The irony is that a weakened department, based in Edinburgh, will lose its core programme on the national station: it will go on making drama and book abridgements for the network, but not for Radio Scotland.’
      summary, abstract, synopsis, precis, outline, résumé, sketch, truncation, digest, recapitulation, recap, summing-up, rundown, round-up, review, shortening, shortened version, abridged version, concise version, condensation
      View synonyms
  • 2Law
    Curtailment of rights.

    ‘the abridgement of the rights of ownership’
    • ‘For them the most important abridgments of civil rights involved private acts of discrimination - by employers who refused to hire blacks or restaurant owners who refused to serve them at lunch counters.’
    • ‘Various polls show that up to 80 percent of Americans expect and accept some abridgments of individual freedom to combat the threat of terrorism.’
    • ‘I'm not advocating any abridgement of free speech here; just pointing out that such speech has consequences.’
    • ‘Domestically, September 11 has sparked debate about the permissible extent of civil rights abridgements in times of national peril.’
    • ‘In the second sense, ‘discrimination’ means the wrongful denial or abridgement of the civil rights of some persons in a context where others enjoy their full set of rights.’


Late Middle English: from Old French abregement, from the verb abreg(i)er (see abridge).