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abbreviate, brevity and brief...

A discussion of word histories and origins.

abbreviate, brevity and brief...

Postby vaibhavd85 » Sun Jan 20, 2008 5:00 pm

Abbreviate (V): shorten (a word, phrase, or text).

This word can be split up as "ad" (as in ad infinitum (without limit)) which means "to" + "breviare" which is verb root, in turn it comes from the Latin root "brevis", which means "short". So abbreviate literally means "to shorten".

Abbreviation (N): a shortened form of a word.

Contextual example:
Acronyms and abbreviations are different; an abbreviation is a shortened form of a word or a phrase for example: "miss" is an abbreviation of "mistress". Whilst acronym is strictly formed from the initial letters of the words, for example LASER (light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation).

Brevity (N):
* Concise and exact use words.
* Shortness of time.

Contextual example:
The Spartans were known for brevity of speech.

Synonyms: conciseness, curtness, pithiness, succinctness, terseness.

Antonyms: lengthiness, wordiness, long-windedness.

Anchor words:
In order to make the task of remembering this root a tad easy,you can use the word "brief" as an anchor word.

Feedback, cognates, discussion are as always welcome.

Regards,
V
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Postby Perry » Mon Jan 21, 2008 11:35 am

This word can be split up as "ad" (as in ad infinitum (without limit)) which means "to" + "breviare" which is verb root, in turn it comes from the Latin root "brevis", which means "short". So abbreviate literally means "to shorten".



I have seen in other places that this explanation is so. But what is the reason for the ad turning into ab? :?
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Postby Stargzer » Tue Jan 22, 2008 9:01 am

You had to ask, didn't, Perry? :)

The Online Etymology Dictionary gives the same etymology as V does:

abbreviation
1460, from M.Fr. abréviation, from L.L. abbreviationem (nom. abbreviatio), from pp. of abbreviare "make brief," from L. ad "to" + breviare "shorten," from brevis "short, low, little, shallow" (see brief (adj.)).


Actually, breviare is the infinitive form of the first person singular brevio, so that in English breviare means "to shorten" and brevio means "I shorten."

Lewis and Short at Perseus:

abbrĕviătio , ōnis, f. [abbrevio] ,

I. an abbreviation, a diminution,


Also:

brĕvĭātĭo , ōnis, f. [id.] ,

I. a shortening (late Lat.):


So in this case I, too, wonder how ad comes in to play here. Perhaps it's just easier to say abbreviatio than adbreviatio. However, which makes more sense: towards a shortening or from a shortening? I'd say an abbreviation is from a shortening of a word, but then I'm no expert in etymology, although I've been called an expert in other things.

("Expert: from Ex- as in has-been and -spurt as in a drip under pressure," as stated by Capt. Bob Spore of the charterboat Cathering Anne when he was introduced as a fishing expert at a seminar.)

However:

ab-brĕvĭo , āre, v. freq. a. [ab or adbrevio] ,

I. to shorten, abridge, Veg. Mil. 3 prol.;


So, I am now thoroughly confused! :?


More than you ever wanted to know:

According to Lewis and Short at the Perseus site, ad and ab are opposites:

ad , prep. with acc. (from the fourth century after Christ written also at ...

I. As antith. [antithesis?] to ab (as in to ex), in a progressive order of relation, ad denotes, first, the direction toward an object; then the reaching of or attaining to it; and finally, the being at or near it.

A. In space.

1. Direction toward, to, toward, and first, ...

2. The point or goal at which any thing arrives.
a. Without reference to the space traversed in passing, to, toward (the most common use of this prep.): ...

3. Nearness or proximity in gen. = apud, near to, by, at, close by ...

B. In time, analogous to the relations given in A.

1. Direction toward, i. e. approach to a definite point of time, about, toward: domum reductus ad vesperum, toward evening, ...


... and so on, including usage with numbers, weight, comparisons, and othe usages.

ăb, ā , abs , prep. with abl. This IndoEuropean particle (Sanscr. apa or ava, Etr. av, Gr. upo, Goth. af, Old Germ. aba, New Germ. ab, Engl. of, off) has in Latin the following forms:

I. ap, af, ab (av), au-, ā, ă; aps, abs, as-. The existence of the oldest form, ap, is proved by the oldest and best MSS. analogous to the prep. apud, the Sanscr. api, and Gr. epi, and by the weakened form af, which, by the rule of historical grammar and the nature of the Latin letter f, can be derived only from ap, not from ab. The form af, weakened from ap, also very soon became obsolete. There are but five examples of it in inscriptions, at the end of the sixth and in the course of the seventh century B. C., viz.: AF VOBEIS, Inscr. ... In the time of Cicero this form was regarded as archaic, and only here and there used in account-books ... The second form of this preposition, changed from ap, was ab, which has become the principal form and the one most generally used through all periods--and indeed the only oue used before all vowels and h; here and there also before some consonants, particularly l, n, r, and s; rarely before c, j, d, t; and almost never before the labials p, b, f, v, or before m, such examples as ab Massiliensibus, Caes. B. C. 1, 35, being of the most rare occurrence.--By changing the b of ab through v into u, the form au originated, which was in use only in the two compounds aufero and aufugio for abfero, ab-fugio; aufuisse for afuisse, in Cod. Medic. of Tac. A. 12, 17, is altogether unusual. Finally, by dropping the b of ab, and lengthening the a, ab was changed into á, which form, together with ab, predominated through all periods of the Latin language, and took its place before all consonants in the later years of Cicero, and after him almoet exclusively.--By dropping the b without lengthening the a, ab occurs in the form ă- in the two compounds ă-bîo and ă-pĕrio, q. v.--On the other hand, instead of reducing ap to a and ă, a strengthened collateral form, aps, was made by adding to ap the letter s (also used in particles, as in ex, mox, vix). From the first, aps was used only before the letters c, q, t, and was very soon changed into abs (as ap into ab): ... The use of abs was confined almost exclusively to the combination abs te during the whole ante-classic period, and with Cicero till about the year 700 A. U. C. (=B. C. 54). After that time Cicero evidently hesitates between abs te and a te, but during the last five or six years of his life a te became predominant in all his writings, even in his letters; consequently abs te appears but rarely in later authors, ... Finally abs, in consequence of the following p, lost its b, and became ds- in the three compounds aspello, as-porto, and as-pernor (for asspernor); v. these words.--The late Lat. verb abbrevio may stand for adbrevio, the d of ad being assimilated to the following b.The fundamental signification of ab is departure from some fixed point (opp. to ad. which denotes motion to a point).

I. In space, and,

II. Fig., in time and other relations, in which the idea of departure from some point, as from source and origin, is included; Engl. from, away from, out of; down from; since, after; by, at, in, on, etc.

Regards//Larry

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Postby Perry » Fri Jan 25, 2008 11:24 am

You earned your keep this time!!!
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Postby Stargzer » Fri Jan 25, 2008 1:37 pm

Now we just need our new member ClaireM, whose hobby is Medieval Latin, to jump in here.

Au Claire! :lol:
Regards//Larry

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Postby gailr » Sun Jan 27, 2008 4:46 pm

ClaireM: since you're with us again, can you take up Stargzer's challenge and throw additional Latin light on this question? Thanks!

-gailr
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