- Abbreviate usually refers to the shortening of a word or phrase by contraction or by substitution of a symbol, but also has extended, sometimes jocular applications an abbreviated account of events, an abbreviated costume
- Abridge implies reduction in compass by condensing, omitting parts, etc. but usually connotes that what is essential is kept to abridge a dictionary
- Curtail implies a making shorter than was originally intended, as because of necessity or expediency expenditures curtailed because of a reduced income
- Shorten implies reduction in length, extent, or duration to shorten a rope, a visit, one's life, etc.