Anglo-Norman abbreggement, abreggement, Anglo-Norman and Middle French abbregement, abregement(French (now rare) abrégement) action or process of making a shortened version of a longer text (13th cent. in Old French), shortening, curtailment, limitation, an instance of this (late 13th cent. or earlier in Anglo-Norman), digest, abstract (late 13th cent. or earlier in Anglo-Norman), in Anglo-Norman also reduction in amount demanded of a defendant or in settlement of an account (14th cent. or earlier, frequently in legal contexts) < abbreger, abreger, abregger, abregier, etc. abridge v.+ -ment-ment suffix. In later forms with medial -dg-assimilated to the spelling of abridge
- 1. a. The action of reducing something in magnitude, extent, or duration; shortening, cutting short; curtailment, limitation; an instance of this.
- b. spec. The action or process of making a shortened version or abstract of a longer text; statement in abridged form; an instance of this.
- 2. a. A digest or shortened version of a longer text, treatise, etc., esp. produced by omitting the less important passages of the original; an abstract, an epitome. Formerly also: †a concise record, handbook, etc., containing the essentials or salient points of something, a compendium
- b. fig. Chiefly with of. A person who or thing which epitomizes or embodies something, a compendium; a representation in miniature; the essence or distillation of something. Now rare.1605
- c. A shortened form of a word or phrase; an abbreviation.
- 3. Law. The omission of certain parts from a writ, claim, etc., the grievance still holding good for the remainder; the omission of certain items from the damages awarded in a case. Now rare.
- 4. A means of passing or whiling away time; a pastime, an entertainment.
Abridgement or abridgment is a term defined as "shortening" or "condensing" and is most commonly used in reference to the act of reducing a written work, typically a book, into a shorter form. The abridgement can be true to the original work in terms of mood and tone, capturing the parts the abridging author perceives to be most important, or it could be a complete parody of the original.
A written work may be abridged to make it more accessible to a wider audience; for example, to make an adaptation of it as an audio book or a television show, to make a more convenient companion to an already established work, or to create a shorter reference version.