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[fawr-shawr-tn, fohr-] /fɔrˈʃɔr tn, foʊr-/
verb (used with object)
Fine Arts. to reduce or distort (parts of a represented object that are not parallel to the picture plane) in order to convey the illusion of three-dimensional space as perceived by the human eye: often done according to the rules of perspective.
to abridge, reduce, or contract; make shorter.
1600-10; fore- + shorten
Related forms
unforeshortened, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for foreshortening
  • It also magnifies the animation, so that flaws and poor foreshortening are more plain.
  • Early decision distorts high school mainly by foreshortening the experience.
  • As they descended, the apparent foreshortening increased, until they disappeared.
  • They also call for an adroit technique, and he is a master of foreshortening and narrative tempo.
  • The shape of each spot, amount of foreshortening, will depend on the angle of incidence to the film.
British Dictionary definitions for foreshortening


verb (transitive)
to represent (a line, form, object, etc) as shorter than actual length in order to give an illusion of recession or projection, in accordance with the laws of linear perspective
to make shorter or more condensed; reduce or abridge
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for foreshortening



c.1600, from fore- + shorten. Related: Foreshortened; foreshortening.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Article for foreshortening

method of rendering a specific object or figure in a picture in depth. The artist records, in varying degrees, the distortion that is seen by the eye when an object or figure is viewed at a distance or at an unusual angle.

Learn more about foreshortening with a free trial on
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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