c. 1300, abreggen, "make shorter, shorten, condense," from Old French abregier, abrigier "abridge, diminish, shorten" (12c., Modern French abréger), from Late Latin abbreviare "make short," from Latin ad "to" (see ad-) + breviare "shorten," from brevis "short, low, little, shallow" (from PIE root *mregh-u- "short").
Abbreviate is the same word directly from Latin. The sound development that turned Latin -vi- to French -dg- is paralleled in assuage (from assuavidare) and deluge (from diluvium). Of writing, "shorten by omission," late 14c. Related: Abridged; abridging.
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