Need a refresher on abbreviations for the months of the year? What about the days of the week? It’s important to know what month and day you’re talking about when making appointments or time commitments in English. Keep reading to learn more about common month abbreviations and days of the week abbreviations.
Standard Month and Days of the Week Abbreviations
Months of the Year Abbreviations
For the most part, month abbreviations use the first three letters of the word. Two exceptions are May (which is never abbreviated shorter than its original word) and September (which is often abbreviated with four letters). Here are common ways to abbreviate the months of the year.
Jan. - January
Feb. - February
Mar. - March
Apr. - April
May - May
Jun. - June
Jul. - July
Aug. - August
Sep. or Sept. - September
Oct. - October
Nov. - November
Dec. - December
Style Guide Exceptions
While the above abbreviations are correct in informal writing, you should know how to use them when writing formally as well. Both the MLA and APA style guides dictate how you should abbreviate months. These rules include:
MLA: All months are abbreviated as above, except for May, June, and July, which are spelled out in full. Abbreviations begin with a capital letter and end with a period.
APA: Spell out the month completely. Avoid abbreviations when possible.
History of the Months of the Year
The modern calendar is known as the Gregorian calendar. It has changed from its original form as the ancient Roman lunar calendar, which had 10 named months and 2 unnamed months during the winter. Roman months were named after gods and goddesses and Latin words. They included:
January was named after Janus, god of gates and openings.
February comes from the Latin februa (“to cleanse or clean”) and the purification festival of Februalia.
March was named after Mars, god of war, during a period of military campaigns.
April comes from the Latin aperio (“to open” in plants or buds).
May was named after the goddess Maia, the earth goddess.
June was named after the goddess of marriage, Juno.
September comes from septem, the seventh month of the 10-month year.
October comes from the Latin octo, meaning the eighth month of the year.
November comes from the Latin novem (“nine”).
December comes from the Latin decem (“ten).
Julius Caesar revised the calendar to the Julian calendar, which modified the month lengths according to the Earth’s revolutions around the sun. After his death, the months July (Julius) and August (Augustus) were added to the calendar.
Today’s Gregorian calendar keeps the Julian names – including the now-incorrect numbered names for September, October, November and December.
Days of the Week Abbreviations
Ever get confused when your weekly schedule is full of letters? Clear up any confusion with these days of the week abbreviations. There are two ways to abbreviate the days of the week: long abbreviations and letter abbreviations.
Long Abbreviations for Days
You’re more likely to see long abbreviations on a weekly schedule or template. The long abbreviations for the days of the week are:
Sun - Sunday
Mon - Monday
Tue or Tues - Tuesday
Wed - Wednesday
Thu, Thur, or Thurs - Thursday
Fri - Friday
Sat - Saturday
Short Days of the Week Abbreviations
When pressed for time or space, you may not want the longer abbreviations for the days of the week. You might need to jot down shorter abbreviations instead. Here’s how you might abbreviate the days of the week with even fewer letters:
S or U - Sunday
M - Monday
T or Tu - Tuesday
W - Wednesday
Th or R - Thursday
F - Friday
S - Saturday
Writing the days of the week as single letters allows you to convey a longer schedule. Some examples of letter schedules include:
SS - Saturday and Sunday
MWF - Monday, Wednesday, Friday
T/Th or TR - Tuesday and/or Thursday
Try making a mnemonic for the days of the week! For example: Umbrellas Must Tango With Red Froggy Salamanders. Can you think of one that helps you remember the days of the week?
More Common Abbreviations
Are you up to speed on the days of the week and the months of the year? Review more time-related abbreviations with an article on seconds, minutes, and hours. You can also brush up on your cooking measurement abbreviations with a helpful list and conversion chart.