In Japanese some parts of words or letters often get left out in order to shorten them, but what is this phenomenon called? Does anyone know? Do you know the English terminology? The Japanese terminology?

Two examples ...

けれども becomes けど

かもしらない becomes かも

  • I don't think the latter items in the examples can properly be called contractions or shortened versions of the former items. That's just arbitrarily dropping words (the も particle in the first, and the negated verb しらない in the second) from the larger phrases, and so each of the pairs is not equivalent. That being said, けど may be some kind contraction of けれど, and しない can be omitted from かもしない without change in meaning in some particular cases.
    – goldbrick
    Commented May 24, 2018 at 12:47

2 Answers 2


There are two terms related to what you are talking about:

縮約{しゅくやく} - contraction

for example: けれども → けど、なければ → なきゃ、俺のうち → 俺んち、しておいて → しとって。。。

略語{りゃくご} - abbreviation

for example: 高等学校 → 高校、国民健康保険 → 国保。。。

The definitions do not seem to be very strict however, and I have seen people and dictionaries refer to everything as 略(語), whereas scientific literature seems to prefer to distinguish 略語 from 縮約形、縮約語、短縮形 among others...

For abbreviated names, the term 略称{りゃくしょう} is used instead.


けど or けれど are defined by コトバンク as 砕{くだ}けた言い方 (plain speech; colloquialisms).

かも is defined as a 略{りゃく} (abbreviation) of かも知れない by the same source.

In general, however, I believe that 略 would be commonly understood in most cases.

  • Funny enough, while 砕けた is translated as "familiar", 砕ける means "to be broken", as in "into pieces". With that in mind, 砕けた言い方 and 略 look pretty close.
    – Right leg
    Commented May 24, 2018 at 6:30

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