Improve Your Vocabulary: Abbreviations etc

We like to shorten things in English, whether it's BRB in a chat room (Be Right Back) or etc (et cetera), these abbreviations can trip you up if you're not sure what they mean. In this article I introduce you to the most commonly used abbreviations and initialisms, and what they mean. 

Tip: If you are serious about improving your vocabulary, then Troy and I highly recommend you try the popular vocabulary program, Ultimate Vocabulary. Click Ultimate Vocabulary for further information.*

Keep an eye on the punctuation in each abbreviation; each entry has been double checked for accuracy. 
a/c account (or air conditioning!)
AD Anno Domini (e.g., AD 450)
AGM Annual General Meeting
a.m. ante meridiem, "before noon"
approx. approximately
BA Bachelor of Arts (degree)
BC before Christ
BCE before the Common Era (used instead of BC)
BSc Bachelor of Science (degree)
c circa, "about" or "approximately" (as in c 1800)
c. century (as in the 19th c.)
cc carbon copy, "send a copy to"
CE of the Common Era (used instead of AD)
CEO chief executive officer
cf. confer, the Latin term for "compare with"
c/o care of (used on letters)
cm centimetre
COD cash on delivery
dept. department
Dr. Doctor
e.g. exempli gratia, "for example"
esp. especially
ETA estimated time of arrival
et al. et alii, "and others"
etc. et cetera, "and so on"
ibid. ibidem, "in the same book or passage"
id. idem, "the same", used to refer to an author's work that has just been cited in the text
i.e. id est, "that is to say"
kg kilogram
km kilometre
lb pound (weight)
MD Doctor of Medicine (from Medicinae Doctor)
MS Manuscript
n/a not applicable
NB nota bene, "it is important to note"
no. Number
p page
p.a. per annum, "per year"
p.m. post meridiem, "after noon"
pp pages
PhD Doctor of Philosophy
Prof. Professor
PS post scriptum, an additional remark at the end of a letter
PTO please turn over
q.v. quod vide, "which see", directs the reader to another part of a text for additional information
re res ("thing" in Latin) "with reference to, in the matter of, about, concerning"
sp. spelling
St. Saint
viz. videlicet, "namely"

 We'll put up an article about commonly used Internet abbreviations soon, too!

You might like to add these abbreviations to your vocabulary list to practise. We can recommend giving Ultimate Vocabulary a try for this purpose.

*Troy and I recommend only products that we have tried and tested. These include Ultimate Vocabulary. We have agreed to receive a commission from some sales of Ultimate Vocabulary software because we are happy to endorse that software.


Last modified on Tuesday, 17 November 2015 05:13
English Language Skills (Denise)

English Language Skills (Denise)

I'm a syndicated puzzle writer, with 8 puzzle books to my name, including Word Searches for Dummies and Cracking Codes and Cryptograms for Dummies (with Mark Koltko-Rivera). I have a background in science and graphic design, and am a trained indexer. My favourite puzzles are cryptic crosswords. and my favourite books are murder mysteries and cookbooks. I am also a very keen knitter.

I write a blog all about puzzles, called Puzzling.

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