Extending or pushing a deadline means giving more time to work on a project. But what if you want to say you are changing it so that the task is due sooner?

What are the words or expressions I could use?

  • 2
    People with a 'go-getter' attitude might say they were accelerating the project as a way to cast a positive light on it.
    – Patrick M
    Sep 25 '13 at 4:04
  • What did you find when you looked in a thesaurus for antonyms of extend? Oct 12 '13 at 9:02

10 Answers 10


Most often you will encounter moving up the deadline.

  • 1
    Or curtailing the lead time.
    – tchrist
    Sep 25 '13 at 0:50
  • 1
    Or pulling it in, but I think I hear moving up most often. Sep 25 '13 at 1:14

One would shorten a deadline.

  • Another word for "shorten" would be "abridge" Sep 25 '13 at 4:29
  • 1
    The deadline runs across the timeline representing a point in time: its length makes no difference :)
    – Kris
    Sep 25 '13 at 6:11

Looking up dictionaries I found that prepone is actually a legitimate word.

to reschedule to an earlier day or time: Our Wednesday meeting has been preponed to Tuesday afternoon at 3:00.

It makes sense etymologically as well since postpone is a composite of post (after) and pone (place, position). Example sentences using the words prepone and preponement can be found here.

EDIT: As per the OED this word has etymological roots in Latin very much the same as the corresponding antonym. It derives from the classical Latin word praepōnere meaning to place in front.

  • 2
    Legitimate only in Indian English, as your link says. Not a bad thing in itself, but care is needed elsewhere. Sep 25 '13 at 16:55
  • Not according to citations found on the wiki link provided it seems.
    – user49727
    Sep 25 '13 at 16:59
  • 1
    All the citations on the wiki link strengthen the case against prepone other than in Indian English.
    – Kris
    Oct 13 '13 at 10:12
  • praepōnere: 'place before', in the sense of 'give a higher priority/ importance', preference translate.google.com/#auto/en/praep%C5%8Dnere -- not the antonym of postpone
    – Kris
    Oct 14 '13 at 11:43
  • @Kris How about coining something else then: antepone. :)
    – Kaz
    Oct 17 '13 at 3:43

The term extending the deadline is itself incorrect. You can only move the deadline, farther or nearer. "deadline: the latest time or date by which something should be completed."

The deadline runs across the timeline, representing a point in time: its length makes no difference :)

A similarly incorrect, though very common, phrase is extending the Last Date/ Due Date. The last date or due date is a point in time. One should be saying "extending the time for (completion/ action/ etc.).

  • 4
    Natural language ≠ formal logic. Interpreted utterly literally, “extending the deadline” doesn’t quite make sense, but its idiomatic meaning is very well-established; it’s perfectly correct English.
    – PLL
    Sep 25 '13 at 20:28
  • @PLL It was never the case that the expression is grammatically incorrect; in fact, it's almost idiomatic. However, you've agreed it's illogical, which was my point :)
    – Kris
    Sep 26 '13 at 8:17
  • 2
    @Kris, the very first line of your answer says, "The term extending the deadline is itself incorrect". That doesn't sound so much like your point was that it is simply formally illogical.
    – Ben Lee
    Oct 7 '13 at 21:31
  • 2
    But more importantly, even if that was your point, you are then just making a comment that is not even linguistically relevant -- how does this answer the question at all?
    – Ben Lee
    Oct 7 '13 at 21:31
  • @BenLee The second sentence contains the answer. Rest of the narration explains it. google.com/search?q="shorten the deadline"
    – Kris
    Oct 8 '13 at 5:41

You can say advancing the deadline.

Refer to Advance .

5: to bring forward in time; especially : to make earlier


Yet another way:

"Bring forward the deadline."


I've only ever heard "Moving the schedule up" or "Fast-tracking the schedule" (or project). Mind, I'm not commenting on correctness, just referring to my BS Bingo sheet.


I heard someone said 'pull in the project', that's what you mean, I'm not a native English speaker, anyone can confirm this?


I've heard the phrase "tightening up the schedule", used to signify that low-priority tasks would be cancelled to move the finish date up.


Rescheduling any event so it's nearer to the present is often called bringing it forward, whereas the reverse is pushing it back.

The deadline was brought forward by one week

This idiom is defined in the Macmillan Dictionary, amongst other places:

bring forward: to change the date or time of an event so that it happens earlier

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