TELESCOPING

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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.

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