they may be abridged


Does "abridged" here refer to "reduced" (like we have an abridged version of dictionary and an unabridged one)? Or refer to "deprived"? It appears to be ambiguous, swinging between the two.

Human rights exist above the state and beyond history. They cannot be rescinded by one government any more than they can be granted by another. They inhabit the human heart, and from there, though they may be abridged, they can never be extinguished.

-John McCain

Source: NYTimes
  • lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I thought maybe he’d made a bad choice of word, but it seems the contrary is true. Oxford’s definition 2 of ABRIDGE is:

    Curtail (a right or privilege)
    ‘even the right to free speech can be abridged’