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Shortened form of a word or phrase

Example of 15th century Latin manuscript text with Writing abbreviations

An abbreviation (from Latin meaning [1]) is a shortened form of a word or phrase by any method. It can be a group of letters or words taken from the full version of the word or phrase. for example the word itself can be represented by the abbreviation , , or ; , for nothing (or anything) by mouth is an abbreviated medical instruction. It can also be all initials, a mixture of initials and words, or words or letters representing words in another language (e.g. e.g., i.e. or RSVP). Some types of abbreviations are acronyms (which are pronounceable), initialisms (only with initials) or grammatical contractions or Crasis.

An abbreviation is a shortening by one of these or other methods .

Different types of abbreviations

Acronyms, initialisms, contractions, and krases share some semantic and phonetic functions, and all four are identified by the term “abbreviation” connected in loose language.[2]:S. 167

A contraction is a reduction in size by pulling parts together; A contraction of a word or words is done by omitting certain letters or syllables and merging the first and last letters or elements such as “I am”. Thus, contractions are a subset of abbreviations.


Abbreviations have a long history, so spelling out an entire word can be avoided. This can be done to save time and space and to ensure secrecy. Both Greece and Rome The reduction of words to single letters was common.[3] In Roman inscriptions, “words were commonly abbreviated using the initial letter or letters of words, and most inscriptions have at least one abbreviation”. “However, some may have more than one meaning depending on the context. (For example, “A” may be an abbreviation for many words, z , , , , , , and .)”[4]

Abbreviations in English have been widely used since the beginning. Manuscripts of copies of the old English poem used many abbreviations, for example the Tironian et ( ⁊) or & for , and y for , so “not much space is wasted”.[5] The standardization of English in the 15th-17th centuries involved such an increase in the use of abbreviations.[ 6] Initially, abbreviations were sometimes represented with various suspension characters, not just periods. For example, sequences like ‹er› have been replaced by ‹ɔ›, as in ‹mastɔ› for and ‹exacɔbate› for . This may seem trivial, but it was symptomatic of people attempting to manually reproduce academic texts to reduce copying time.

Mastɔ subwardenɔ y ɔmēde me to you. And where you write you last look that it is not good to distinguish the choice to determine the tinitatis, I have to imagine that it will then be a Bowte Mydsom.

Warden of Merton College, Oxford University in , 1503.[6]

In the Early Modern English period between the 15th and 17th centuries Thorn ( letter) Þ was used for , as in Þe (‘that’). However, in modern times ⟨Þ⟩ has often been misunderstood and erroneously rewritten as ⟨y⟩, as in Y.e Olde Tea Shoppe.[7]

During the growth of philological The theory of language in academic Britain became very fashionable. For example J. R. R. Tolkien, his friend C.S. Lewis and other members of the Oxford literary group were known as the Huh.< span>[8][] Also a century earlier in BostonIt began an abbreviation fad that swept the United States with the globally popular term OK generally credited as a remnant of his influence.[9][10]

Over the years, however, the lack of conventions in some style guides has made it difficult to determine which two-word abbreviations should be abbreviated with dots and which should not. This question is considered below,

The widespread use of electronic communications via mobile phones and the Internet in the 1990s allowed for a significant rise in the colloquial abbreviation. This was mainly due to the rise in popularity of text communication services such as instant and text messaging. The original SMS, supported maximum message lengths of 160 characters (using the GSM 03.38 character set) , for example.[a] This brevity led to an informal abbreviation scheme sometimes called Textese, which allows 10% or more of the words in a typical SMS message.[11] More recently, Twitter, a popular social networking service, began using Abbreviations with a limit of 140 characters.

Style conventions in English

There are several in modern English Abbreviation conventions and choices can be confusing. The only generally accepted rule is that one should be, and to make this easier, publishers express their preferences in a Style Guide. Questions that arise are those in the following subsections.


If the original word is capitalized, the first letter of its abbreviation should remain capitalized, for example Lev. to the . If a word is abbreviated to more than a single letter and was originally written in lowercase, no capitalization is required. However, when abbreviating a phrase using only the first letter of each word, all letters should be capitalized, as in YTD for , PCB for , and FYI for . However, in the following section you will find abbreviations that have become common vocabulary: they are no longer capitalized.

Periods_(full_stops)_and_spaces”>Periods (dots) and spaces

a, shows the American style of including the period for contractions as well.

Sign on the New York subway and read “Penna.” for penna, shows the American style of including the period for contractions as well.

A period (dot) is often used to denote an abbreviation, but opinion is divided as to when and if this should be done.

According to Hart’s rulesThe traditional rule is that abbreviations (in the strict sense, which only contain words ending in ) end in a period, while contractions (meaning words lacking a middle part) do not. There are exceptions.[2]:S. 167–170 Fowler’s Modern English Usage says that periods are used to mark both abbreviations and contractions, but discourages this practice: they only advise for lowercase abbreviations and initialisms and not for uppercase initialisms and contractions.[12 ]

ExampleCategoryShort formSourcePhysicianContractionDRDRProfessorAbbreviationProf. Prof.Prof …The ReverendAbbreviationRev.Rev …The Reverend ContractionRevdRev —— dThe right, honorableContraction and abbreviationRt Hon.R – t Hon …

In American Englishthe period is usually included whether it is a contraction or not, e.g. or . In some cases periods are optional as in both cases or to , or to , and or to . However, there are some house styles – including American ones – that remove the dots from almost all abbreviations. For example:

Acronyms that were originally capitalized (with or without dots) but have since been included in the vocabulary as generic words are no longer capitalized or dotted. Examples are Sonar, Radar, Lidar, Laser, Snafu, and Diving.

Nowadays, spaces are generally not used between single-letter abbreviations of words in the same phrase, so “USA” is almost never encountered.

When an abbreviation appears at the end of a sentence, only a period is used: .

Plural forms

There is a question about how abbreviations, especially acronyms, can be pluralized. Some authors tend to pluralize abbreviations by adding ‘s (apostrophes), as in “two PCs have broken screens”, although this notation usually indicates genitive. However, this style is not preferred by many style guides. For example, Kate Turabian, writing about style in academic writing,[13] allows an apostrophe, multiple acronyms to form “only if an abbreviation contains internal periods or both uppercase and lowercase letters”. Turabian would therefore prefer “DVDs” and “URLs” and “Ph.D.’s” while the Modern Language Association[14] specifically says “do not use an apostrophe to form the plural form of an abbreviation”. Also, the American Psychological Association specifically says,[15][16] “without the apostrophe”.

The 1999 Style Guide for specifies that the addition of an apostrophe is required when all abbreviations are pluralized, with “PCs, TVs and VCRs” being preferred.[17]

After those that would generally omit the apostrophe to form the plural of run batted inJust add an s to the end of the RBI.[18]

  • RBIs

See below for all other rules:

To use the plural of an abbreviation, To form a number or a capital letter as a noun, simply add a lowercase letter to the end. Decade apostrophes and single letters are also common.

  • A group of MPs
  • The Roaring 20’s
  • Mind your Ps and Qs< /li>

To indicate the plural of an abbreviation or symbol of a unit of measure, the same form is used as in the singular.

  • 1 lb or 20 lb.
  • 1 foot or 16 feet
  • 1 min or 45 min

If an abbreviation contains more than one full period, we recommend putting the after the last.< /p>

  • Ph.D.
  • M.Phil.s
  • the d.t.s.

Subject to a house style or a However, for consistency, the same plural forms can be rendered less formally as:

  • PhDs
  • MPhils
  • the DTs. (This is the recommended form in the .)

According to In rare cases where clarity is needed, an apostrophe can be used, for example when denoting letters or symbols as objects.

  • The x of the equation
  • Dot the i and cross the t

However, the apostrophe can be omitted if the elements are in italics or are in quotes:

  • The s of the equation
  • Dot the ‘i’ and cross the ‘t’

In Latin, and retaining the derived forms in European languages ​​and English, the single-letter abbreviation was a doubling of the letter for notation . Most of these deal with writing and publishing. Some longer abbreviations use this as well.

Singular abbreviationWord / sentencePlural line or pageff.NotesF. F.FolioFf.Literaturh.Handhh.PferdehöheJ. J.JusticeJJ.Law (job title)l.Linell.NotesMRSmanuscriptMSSNotesop.opus (plural: opera)opp.notesp.pagepp.notesQ. Q.QuartoQq.Literatures. (or §)sectionss. (or §§)notesv.volumesvv.notes

Conventions followed by publications and newspapers

United States

US-based publications generally follow the style guides of and the Associated Press< /span>.[] The US Government follows one of the US Government Printing Office. The National Institute of Standards and Technology Specifies the style for unit abbreviations.

United Kingdom

Many UK publications follow some of these guidelines in abbreviated form:

  • For convenience, many UK publications, including the BBC and , have completely eliminated the use of period or period in all abbreviations. These include:
    • Social titles, e.g. Ms. or Mr. (although these normally would not have had points – see above) Capt, Prof,
    • Two-letter abbreviations for countries (not );
    • Abbreviations beyond three letters ( full uppercase for all except initialisms[]);
    • Words that are rarely abbreviated to lowercase (, instead of , or )
    • Names (, , ). A notable exception is what writes .
    • Scientific units (see measurement below).
  • Acronyms are often denoted by just the first letter of the abbreviated abbreviation. For example, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization can be abbreviated as or , and Severe acute respiratory syndrome like or (compare with which has made complete transition to an English word and is rarely capitalized).
  • Initialisms are always capitalized; for example which is abbreviated to , never . An initialism is similar to the acronym but not pronounced as a word.
  • Scientific units abbreviation does not add a space between the number and the unit (100 km/h, 100 m, 10 cm, 10° C). (This contradicts the SI standard; see below.)

Miscellaneous and general rules

  • A double letter appears in abbreviations of some Welsh names, as in Welsh the double “l” is a separate sound: “Ll. George” for (British Prime Minister) David Lloyd George.
  • Some titles, such as “Reverend” and “Honourable”, appear before “the” rather than “Rev. ” written. or “Hon.” respectively. This applies to most UK publications and some in the US.
  • An abbreviation used repeatedly should be written the first time it appears in a written or spoken passage for identification.[19] Abbreviations , which are probably unfamiliar to many readers, should be avoided.

Measurements: Abbreviations or Symbols

< /h2>

Writers often use shorthand to denote units of measurement. Such an abbreviation may be an abbreviation, such as “in” for “inches” or may be a symbol such as “km” for kilometers” (or kilometers).

In the International System of Units (SI) manual[20] The word “symbol ” is used consistently to define the shorthand form used to represent the various SI units of measurement. The manual also defines the way units should be writtenThe main rules are:

  • The conventions for uppercase and lowercase letters must be followed – for example, 1 MW (megawatt) equals 1,000,000 Watt and 1,000,000,000 mW (milliwatt).< /li>
  • Do not insert periods between the letters, e.g. B. “m.s” (this is an approximation of “m s” which is used correctly middle dot) is the symbol for “Meter multiplied by seconds”, but “ms” is the symbol for milliseconds.
  • The symbol should not be followed by a period unless the syntax of the sentence requires otherwise (e.g. a period at the end of a sentence).
  • The singular and plural versions of the symbol are identical – not all languages ​​use the letter “s” to denote a plural.

Syllable abbreviation

A syllabic abbreviation is usually formed from the initial syllables of several words, such as z = + . It is a variant of the acronym. Syllable abbreviations are usually written with lowercase, sometimes starting with a uppercase and are always pronounced as words and not letter for letter. Syllable abbreviations should be distinguished from portmanteaus, which combine two words without necessarily taking whole syllables from each.


Syllabic abbreviations are not commonly used in English. Some UK government departments such as Ofcom () and Oftel () use this style.

New York City has several neighborhoods named by syllabic abbreviations such as Tribeca () and SoHo ( ). This usage has spread to other American cities, giving SoMa, San Francisco() and LoDo, Denver span> (), among others.

Partial syllable abbreviations are preferred by the US Navy because they increase readability amid the large number of initialisms that would otherwise have to fit in the same acronyms. Therefore (in full uppercase form) is used to mean “Zerstorergeschwader 6” while would be “Commander, Naval Air Force (in) the Atlantic.”

Languages ​​other than English

Syllabic abbreviations prevailed in Nazi Germany and the Sovietunion for naming a variety of new bureaucratic organizations. For example, stands for or “secret state police”. Likewise, Leninist organizations such as the () and (or “Communist Youth Union”) used syllabic abbreviations in Russian. This has given negative connotations to syllable abbreviations in some countries[] (as in Orwell Newspeak), notwithstanding that such abbreviations were already in use in Germany before the Nazis came to power, e.g. zum and are still used, e.g. for .

In the modern Russian language, words (from Mindestisterstvo Oboronie – Ministry of Defense) and (from Mindestisterstvo obrazovaniya i Nauki – Ministry of Education and Science) are still commonly used.

In Belarus span> there are (BelArus telecommunicationscommunications) and Belsat (BelArus Sa.Ellit).

Syllabic abbreviations were also typical of the deutsche Sprache used in the German Democratic Republic< /span>, e.g. to (“State Security”, the secret police) or to (“People’s Policeman”). Other uses can be found in company or product names such as Aldi, from the founder’s name, Theo Albrecht and the German word (Rabatt) or Haribo, from the name of the founder and the company’s headquarters, Hans Riegl Bonn .

Syllabic abbreviations are more common[] in Spanish;; Examples can be found in organization names like Pemex for (“Mexican Petroleums”) or Fonafifo for (National Forest Fund).

In Southeast Asian languages, especially in Malay languagesSyllabic abbreviations are also common; Examples include Petronas (for , “National Petroleum”), its Indonesian equivalent Pertamina (from its original name , “State Oil and Natural Gas Mining Company”) and Kemenhub (from , “Ministry of Transport”)

East Asian languages ​​whose writing systems are used Chinese characters Form Abbreviations in a similar way, using Chinese key characters from a term or phrase. For example, in Japanese the term for the United Nations, (国際連合) is often abbreviated to (国連). (Such abbreviations are called ryakugo (略語) in Japanese; see also Japanese abbreviated and contracted words). Syllable abbreviation is often used for universities: for example (東大) for (東京大学, University of Tokyo) and is used similarly in Chinese: (北大) for (北京大学, Beijing University). The English phrase “Gung ho” originated as a Chinese abbreviation.

See also


Synonyms etc.


  1. ^

    Modern text messages are not affected by this issue, although behind the scenes longer messages are chained in multiple 160-byte short messages. Characters not included in GSM 03.38 require two bytes.


< /h2>

  • Media related to < p>Abbreviation

    at Wikimedia Commons

  • Acronyms at Curlie

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