Word of the Day: Truncate
Truncate (verb) TRUNG-kayt
: to shorten by or as if by cutting off
“Apparently, a federal law … requires printed credit card receipts truncate not only the credit card number, but also the expiration date.” — Jack Greiner, The Cincinnati Enquirer, 28 Aug. 2016
“Google’s own URL shortener service … instantly truncates the URL you’re visiting and copies the new address to the clipboard for use anywhere.” — Eric Griffith, PCMag.com, 23 Aug. 2016
Did You Know?
Truncate descends from the Latin verb truncare, meaning “to shorten,” which in turn can be traced back to the Latin word for the trunk of a tree, which is truncus. Incidentally, if you’ve guessed that truncus is also the ancestor of the English word trunk, you are correct. Truncusalso gave us truncheon, which is the name for a police officer’s billy club, and the obscure word obtruncate, meaning “to cut the head or top from.”
Truncate is another word that is part of my everyday vocabulary. It joined my vocabulary decades ago when I became a software engineer. Truncating strings (letters or words, such as a last name, an error message, or other similar communications). I’ve also used it to truncate trailing spaces in a string, to minimize storage necessities or make a message easier to understand.
In everyday life, agencies and companies routinely truncate, or prune, portions of a string to protect the privacy of the end user. Displaying the last four digits of a social security number or a credit card number protects the identity of the owner of that number. I could come up with example after example, but I believe you get the idea. So, the next time you see a truncated string, just remember that it’s there to help protect your privacy or understand the message.
Other things that can be truncated include cropped shirts, cropped shorts, and cropped hair cuts. Cropped is another word for truncate. Look around and see what other examples you can find in everyday life. Share them by commenting below. In the meantime, have a great day.
Brought to you by Merrian-Webster, Word of the Day.