Why isn't there a shorter word for abbreviation?

A young mountaineer from Colorado asks, "Why isnít there a shorter word for abbreviation?" Sigh.

I found this question, and another little conundrum this fellow asked, on a humor page along with other puzzlers such as, "When you choke a smurf, what color does it turn?" Now, some people might be offended by this faux challenge, but mrlucky believes there are no totally stupid questions. Marginally stupid, yes--but not totally. Thus...

Abbreviate and its attendant forms appear on the scene, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, circa 1530. It derives from the Latin ab (meaning off) plus brevia-re (to shorten).

Actually, there are two shorter words you can use that means pretty much the same thing as abbr. (the abbreviation of abbreviation). The alternates are abridgement and contraction, each of which will save you one whole letter. Just be glad youíre not German, where you might be using das Abkuerzungszeichen.

mrlucky thinks your best bet is to coin your own term and get it accepted by Merriam-Webster. You can check out Merriam-Webster's website for details on how words get accepted into the language; or at least into dictionaries.

If you decide to go this route, I suggest brev. Itís pithy, shares the root derivation with its lengthier antecedent, and can double as both a verb AND a noun. I think George Orwellís Big Brother would find this linguistic ...er... abbreviature "doubleplusgood"!

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