Skip to main content


TELESCOPING. The contraction of a phrase, word, or part of a word, on the analogy of a telescope being closed: biodegradable for biologically degradable; sitcom for situation comedy. There are two main processes: (1) Adapting classical combining forms through reducing the first word in a compound or fixed phrase: when biologically degradable is telescoped to biodegradable, bio- refers not to life alone but to biology; when telephone communications is reduced to telecommunications, tele- refers to the whole technology of remote communication. (2) Creating syllabic ACRONYMS like sitcom and blends like smog. The reduction of a series of words to some of their component syllables (or syllable-like elements) creates such new usages as sitrep for situation report, Saceur for Supreme Allied Commander Europe, and NAVFORKOR for Naval Forces Korea. Such forms are common in military, industrial, and technical usage. See ABBREVIATION.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"TELESCOPING." Concise Oxford Companion to the English Language. . 27 Aug. 2019 <>.

"TELESCOPING." Concise Oxford Companion to the English Language. . (August 27, 2019).

"TELESCOPING." Concise Oxford Companion to the English Language. . Retrieved August 27, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.