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Abridgment vs Abstract vs Synopsis vs Conspectus vs Epitome

Abridgment, abstract, synopsis, conspectus and epitome all mean a condensed treatment.

Abridgment implies reduction in compass with retention of relative completeness.

  • I gave him an abridgment of this whole history, I gave him a picture of my conduct for fifty years in miniature.

Abstract applies to a summary of points (as of a treatise, document, or proposed treatment). (see also: Detach vs Disengage vs Abstract and Abstract vs Ideal vs Transcendent vs Transcendental )

  • There is a section at the end of the magazine that includes abstracts of recent articles/books.

Synopsis implies a skeletal presentation of an article or narrative suitable for rapid examination.

  • For each title there is a brief synopsis of the book.

Conspectus suggests a quick overall view of a large detailed subject.

  • New recordings containing five of his works give a rich conspectus of his art.

Epitome suggests the briefest possible presentation of a complex whole as an ideal example.

  • Even now in her sixties, she is the epitome of French elegance.