I've come across these words many times over the years, but I realized that I don't have a proper conceptualization of the concrete difference between them. Can I ask for some sample sentences which highlight the nuances in these words?


What confuses you is, perhaps, English. Let's try a dictionary:


1 : a shortened form of a written word or phrase used in place of the whole word or phrase
2 : the act or result of abbreviating something : abridgment

The Japanese word that corresponds to definition 1 is 略語. Among that, shortened forms of names (usually proper nouns) are especially called 略称. What 省略 rightly corresponds to is definition 2 of abbreviation.

  • Ok that makes sense. So 略称 is a shortening of one word or phrase. And 省略 is a shortening of a longer passage of text. Is that accurate?
    – kandyman
    Dec 8 '17 at 18:25
  • @kandyman No it's more like "shortening" and "the shortened", one stands for the action and the other, product. Dec 13 '17 at 9:59
  • Sorry but I don't understand your comment about "shortening" and "the shortened".
    – kandyman
    Dec 13 '17 at 12:08
  • @kandyman Sorry for my poor & confusing English usage... What I meant was that, if I understand correctly, Definition 1 stands for a word, that's a shortened form of another word or phrase, while Definition 2 stands for an act, that makes a long expression into a shorter one. And 略称 could only be the counterpart of Def 1, while 省略 only Def 2. Dec 16 '17 at 4:30

I can teach you what the difference between 略称 and 省略.
略称 means that you can make a short-cut ONLY for one name/group. So, for example, UN in Japanese is 国際連合, but you can do 略称 as 国連.
On the other hand, 省略 is used when you skip/omit something, for example, you can say that 長さの単位を省略する。, which means that you omit the unit of length.

  • Wait, doesn't 省略 also mean a shortening (abbreviation)?
    – kandyman
    Dec 5 '17 at 23:40
  • 省略 includes the meaning(abbreviation) as well. So, just 略称 is a specific word to express only an abbreviation. You can't use 略称 in this way, 長さの単位を略称する.
    – Kdbiqb
    Dec 5 '17 at 23:47
  • So can I say - 「国連」は「国際連合」の省略です - ? Is that natural too?
    – kandyman
    Dec 6 '17 at 1:00
  • Yeah, you can say in that way!
    – Kdbiqb
    Dec 6 '17 at 1:24

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