Abbreviations are short forms of lengthy expressions. Abbreviations are in use in almost every discipline and area of life from commonly used abbreviations like names, for instance Mr. for Mister or Sgt. for Sergeant, to less commonly used abbreviations, such as the shortened version of abbreviation itself, which is abbr. The U.S. is itself a well-established abbreviation. Abbreviations exist in all areas of life from medicine to military and international relations to religion.
List of Commonly Used Abbreviations
In Everyday Conversation
Written and verbal communication often includes these abbreviations:
- R.S.V.P. – This acronym means "Répondez s'il vous plait," French for "respond, if you please." It is often used on invitations to parties and special events, and is intended (as it says) to be responded to with a "yes, we will attend," or "no, we will not."
- P.S. – Means "post script." At the end of a letter, people will often include a P.S. to include an extra thought that was intended to be included in the letter, but forgotten. Using a P.S. was more common in typewritten letters, when you couldn’t go back and add a sentence in the body of a letter.
- A.S.A.P. – "As soon as possible," used when encouraging someone to respond to a request without delay.
- E.T.A. – This acronym means "estimated time of arrival," and is used as a guess for when one expects to arrive while traveling.
- B.Y.O.B. – "Bring your own bottle" is used for parties where guests are expected to bring their own beverages.
- D.I.Y. – This acronym stands for "do it yourself," which means creating something on your own. It is often used for crafts and home repairs.
States of the United States
Perhaps the most commonly used abbreviations used in the U.S. are found in the names of the 50 states:
- Alabama - AL
- Alaska - AK
- Arizona - AZ
- Arkansas - AR
- California - CA
- Colorado - CO
- Connecticut - CT
- Delaware - DE
- Florida - FL
- Georgia - GA
- Hawaii - HI
- Idaho - ID
- Illinois - IL
- Indiana - IN
- Iowa - IA
- Kansas - KS
- Kentucky - KY
- Louisiana - LA
- Maine - ME
- Maryland - MD
- Massachusetts - MA
- Michigan - MI
- Minnesota - MN
- Mississippi - MS
- Missouri - MO
- Montana - MT
- Nebraska - NE
- Nevada - NV
- New Hampshire - NH
- New Jersey - NJ
- New Mexico - NM
- New York - NY
- North Carolina - NC
- North Dakota - ND
- Ohio - OH
- Oklahoma - OK
- Oregon - OR
- Pennsylvania - PA
- Rhode Island - RI
- South Carolina - SC
- South Dakota - SD
- Tennessee - TN
- Texas - TX
- Utah -UT
- Vermont - VT
- Virginia - VA
- Washington - WA
- West Virginia - WV
- Wisconsin - WI
- Wyoming - WY
Abbreviations for Cooking and Baking
Abbreviations are also necessary for measurements for cooking and baking - after all, your cake won't come out very well if you don't know the difference between:
- tsp or t - teaspoon/teaspoons
- tbs, tbsp or T - tablespoon/tablespoons
- c - cup/cups
- gal - gallon
- lb - pound/pounds
- pt - pint
- qt - quart
If you want to find your way around, you better know location abbreviations such as:
- Ave - avenue
- Blvd - boulevard
- Ln - lane
- Rd - road
- St - street
Educational Degrees and Job Titles
Abbreviations often show up in describing educational degrees and job titles. For example:
- BA - Bachelor of Arts
- BS - Bachelor of Science
- MA - Master of Arts
- M.PHIL or MPHIL - Master of Philosophy
- JD - Juris Doctor
- DC - Doctor of Chiropractic
- PA - Personal Assistant
- MD - Managing Director
- VP - Vice President
- SVP - Senior Vice President
- EVP - Executive Vice President
- CMO - Chief Marketing Officer
- CFO - Chief Financial Officer
- CEO - Chief Executive Officer
The advent of the Internet has brought about a whole new range of abbreviations we may use in our daily life. Among these abbreviations, online chat has evolved and created a language of its own, made up almost entirely of abbreviations. For example:
- ACE - a cool experience
- AD - awesome dude
- AFAIK - as far as I know
- AFK - away from keyboard
- ANI - age not important
- BRB - be right back
- CUL - see you later
- CWYL - chat with you later
- IIRC - if I recall/remember correctly
- IQ - ignorance quotient
- LOL - laugh-out-loud
- NP - no problem
- ROFL - rolling on the floor laughing
- TY - thank you
- WC - wrong conversation
These are just a handful of innumerable abbreviations that are used in chat language.
During the Great Depression, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt created a number of agencies to stimulate job growth in the United States. Known as "alphabet agencies," these are some of the most famous abbreviations today.
- AAA – The Agricultural Adjustment Act. This act was created in 1933 to compensate farmers for not planting crops as a way to increase the demand for certain agricultural products and raise prices. By 1936, the Supreme Court ruled that the act was to be voided.
- CCC – The Civilian Conservation Corps. Single men between the ages of 18 and 25 were selected to form this corps, which would work on conserving the wildlife and national preservation areas, in addition to planting trees and fighting erosion.
- CWA – The Civil Works Administration. Four million people were employed by the CWA to work in renovation and construction jobs such as building repair, road building, and other infrastructural work. However, some of the jobs provided by the CWA were considered useless, such as employing people to rake leaves.
- FDIC – The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Since banks were widely distrusted after the many bank failures during the depression, this alphabet agency was created to encourage public confidence in saving money in banks by insuring customers against losses of up to $5,000 if the bank would happen to fail.
- FHA – The Federal Housing Administration. This organization was created to help people secure loans to buy houses.
- NRA – The National Recovery Administration. In 1933, Roosevelt helped create the NRA was an attempt to aid deflation and encourage market competition, in order to restore the economy. Unfortunately, the administration did not stimulate industrial production, although investor and consumer confidence were restored.
- SSA – The Social Security Administration. The Social Security Act, administered by the Social Security Administration, created a national pension for retired people as well as unemployment insurance and government aid for single mothers, children, and handicapped persons. The SSA exists even today.
Understanding Latin-based Abbreviations
Looking at Latin, the root of the English language, is a good way to decipher abbreviations. The most popular abbreviations that we use in our day to day life are derived from this ancient language. For example:
- AM, which we use to denote morning, is an abbreviation for ante meridian, and PM stands for post meridian.
- The era in which we live, AD, is actually an abbreviation for Anno Domini, or “The Year of Our Lord.”
Latin has also gifted us with other abbreviations that we use so frequently that at times, we seem to forget what they stand for such as:
- When someone quotes an example and uses the abbreviation e.g. to express it, it stands for exampli gratia, which means, "example given."
- Also, i.e., another equally popular abbreviation we use in daily life, stands for id est, meaning, "that is."
- "Etc", which is used also used often, is short for etcetera, which means "and other things."
- Another popular Latin abbreviation we use in our daily life is "viz", which stands for videlicet, meaning "namely."
- Other popular Latin abbreviations include n.b which is written at the end of a communication. It stands for nota bene, which means "take notice," or "note well."
Abbreviations have become an inalienable part of our lives. In other words, almost anything you want to do will require you to know an abbreviation or two.
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"List of Commonly Used Abbreviations." YourDictionary, n.d. Web. 18 June 2018. <http://abbreviations.yourdictionary.com/articles/list-of-commonly-used-abbreviations.html>.
List of Commonly Used Abbreviations. (n.d.). Retrieved June 18th, 2018, from http://abbreviations.yourdictionary.com/articles/list-of-commonly-used-abbreviations.html