verb1 : to shorten by proportionately contracting in the direction of depth so that an illusion of projection or extension in space is obtained 2 : to make more compact : abridge, shorten
“The past is a giant foreshortened with his feet towards us; and sometimes the feet are of clay.” — G. K. Chesterton, A Short History of England, 1917
“A low vantage point provides the opportunity to dramatically foreshorten the dimensions of the building, drawing the eye upward to the dome.” — Mary McNaughton, The Little Book of Drawing, 2007
Did you know?
Foreshorten first appeared in a 1606 treatise on art by the British writer and artist Henry Peacham: “If I should paint … an horse with his brest and head looking full in my face, I must of necessity foreshorten him behinde.” Peacham’s foreshorten comes from fore- (meaning “earlier” or “beforehand”) plus shorten. The addition of fore- to verbs was a routine practice in Peacham’s day, creating such words as fore-conclude, fore-consider, fore-instruct, and fore-repent. Foreshorten, along with words like foresee and foretell, is one of the few fore- combinations to still survive.