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ABBREVIATION, a letter or group of letters, taken from a word or words, and employed to represent them for the sake of brevity. Abbreviations, both of single words and of phrases, having a meaning more or less fixed and recognised, are common in ancient writings and inscriptions, and very many are in use at the present time. A distinction is to be observed between abbreviations and the contractions that are frequently to be met with in old manuscripts, and even in early printed books, whereby letters are dropped out here and there, or particular collocations of letters represented by somewhat arbitrary symbols. The commonest form of abbreviation is the substitution for a word of its initial letter; but, with a view to prevent ambiguity, one or more of the other letters are frequently added. Letters are often doubled to indicate a plural or a superlative.

 


I. Classical Abbreviations.—The following list contains a selection from the abbreviations that occur in the writings and inscriptions of the Romans:—


A.
A.
A.A.
AA.
AugustiAAA.  Augusti tres.
A.A.V.
A.C.
Acta causa, Alius civis.
A.D.
Ante diem; e.g., A.D.V. Ante diem quintum.
A.D.A.
ÆD.
ÆM. and AIM.Æmilius, Æmilia.
ÆR.
Ærarium.ÆR.P.  Ære publico.
A.F.
AG.
A.G.
A.L.M. and A.L.E.Arbitrium litis æstimandæ.
A.M. and A.MILL.Ad milliarium.
AN.
ANN.
ANT.
A.O.
AP.
A.P.
A.P.F.
A.P.M.
A.P.R.C.
ARG.
AT.
A tergo. Also A TE. and A TER.
A.T.M.D.O.Aio te mihi dare opertere.
AV.
A.V.
A.V.C.
AVG.
AVGG.
Augusti (generally of two).AVGGG.  Augusti tres.
B.
B.
B. for V.Berna, Bivus, Bixit.
B.A.
BB. or B.B.Bene bene, i.e., optima, Optimus.
B.D.
B.DD.
B.D.S.M.Bene de se merenti.
B.F.
EB9 Abbreviation inverted BF.png
B.H.
B.I.
B.M.
B.N.
BN.H.I.
B.P.
B.Q.
B.RP.N.
BRT.
B.T.
Bonorum tutor, Brevi tempore.
B.V.
B.V.V.
BX.
Bixit, for vixit.
C.
C.
.
C.B.
C.C.
C.C.C.
C.C.F.
CC.VV.
C.D.
CES.
Censor, Censores.CESS.  Censores.
C.F.
C.H.
C.I.
CL.
CL.V.
C.M.
CN.
COH.
COL.
COLL.
COM.
CON.
COR.
COS.
C.P.
C.R.
CS.
C.V.
CVR.
D.
D.
D.C.
D.D.
D.D.D.
D.E.R.
De ea re.
DES.
D.I.
D.I.M.
D.M.
D.O.M.
D.P.S.
Dedit proprio sumptu, Deo perpetuo sacrum, De pecunia sua.
E.
E.
EG.
E.M.
EQ.M.
E.R.A.
F.
F.
F.C.
F.D.
F.F.F.
FL.
F.L.
FR.
F.R.
G.
G.
G.F.
Gemina fidelis (applied to a legion). So G.F.F. Gemina pia fidelis.
GL.
Gloria.
GN.
G.P.R.
H.
H.
Habet, Heres, Hic, Homo, Honor, Hora.
HER.
Heres, Herennius.HER. and HERC.  Hercules.
H.L.
H.M.
H.S.E.
H.V.
I.
I.
IA.
I.C.
ID.
I.D.
I.D.M.
I.F.
I.H.
IM.
IMP.
I.O.M.
I.P,
I.S.V.P.
K.
K.
K., KAL., and KL.Kalendæ.
L.
L.
LB.
LEG.
LIB.
LL.
L.M.
L.S.
LVD.
L.V.P.F.
M.
M.
M'.
M.D.
MES.
Mensis.MESS.  Menses.
M.F.
M.I.
MNT. and MON.Moneta.
M.P.
M.S.
MVN.

Municeps, or municipium; so also MN., MV., and MVNIC.

M.V.S.
N.
N.
NEP.
N.F.C.
N.L.
N.M.V.
NN.
Nostri.NN., NNO., and NNR.  Nostrorum.
NOB.
Nobilis.NOB., NOBR., and NOV.  Novembris.
N.P.
O.
O.
OB.
Obiit, Obiter, Orbis.
O.C.S.
O.H.F.
O.H.S.S.
OR.
O.T.B.Q.
P.
P.
P.C.
P.F.
P.M.
P.P.
PR.
P.R.
P.R.C.
PR.PR.
P.S.
P.V.
Q.
Q.
Q.D.R.
Q.I.S.S.
Quæ infra scripta sunt; so Q.S.S.S. Quæ supra, &c.
QQ.
Q.R.
R.
R.
R.C.
RESP. and RP.Respublica.
RET. P. and RP.Retro pedes.
S.
S.
SAC.
S.C.
S.D.
S.D.M.
SER.
S.E.T.L.
SN.
S.P.
Sacerdos perpetua, Sine pecunia, Sua pecunia.
S.P.Q.R.
S.S.
S.V.B.E.E.Q.V.Si vales bene est, ego quidem valeo.
T.
T.
TB., TI., and TIB.Tiberius.
TB., TR., and TRB.Tribunus.
T.F.
TM.
T.P.
TVL.
V.
V.
V.A.
V.C.
V.E.
V.F.
V.P.
V.R.
 


II. Mediæval Abbreviations.—Of the different kinds of abbreviations in use in the middle ages, the following are examples:—


A.M.
B.P.
CC.
Carissimus (also plur. Carissimi), Clarissimus, Circum.
D.
Deus, Dominicus, Dux.
D.N.PP.
FF.
Felicissimus, Fratres, Pandectæ (prob. for Gr. π).
I.C. or I.X.Jesus Christus.
I.D.N.
In Dei nomine.
KK.
Karissimus (or -mi).
MM.
Magistri, Martyres, Matrimonium, Meritissimus.
O.S.B.
PP.
R.F.
R.P.D.
S.C.M.
S.M.E.
S.M.M.
S.R.I.
S.V.
V.
V.R.P.


III. Abbreviations now in use.—The import of these will often be readily understood from the connection in which they occur. There is no occasion to explain here the common abbreviations used for Christian names, books of Scripture, months of the year, points of the compass, grammatical and mathematical terms, or familiar titles, like “Mr,” &c.

The ordinary abbreviations, now or recently in use, may be conveniently classified under the following headings:—


1. Abbreviated Titles and Designations.


A.A.
Associate of Arts.
A.B.
Able-bodied seaman.
A.M.
A.R.A.
Associate of the Royal Academy.
A.R.S.A.Associate of the Royal Scottish Academy.
B.A.
B.C.L.
B.D.
B.LL.
B.Sc.
C.
Chairman.
C.A.
C.B.
C.E.
C.M.
C.M.G.
C.S.I.
D.C.L.
D.D.
D.Lit.
D.M.
D.Sc.
Ebor.
F.C.S.
Fellow of the Chemical Society.
F.D.
F.F.P.S.
F.G.S.
Fellow of the Geological Society.
F.L.S.
Fellow of the Linnæan Society.
F.M.
F.P.S.
Fellow of the Philological Society.
F.R.A.S.
F.R.C.P.
F.R.C.P.E.Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh.
F.R.C.S.
F.R.G.S.
F.R.S.
Fellow of the Royal Society.
F.R.S.E.
F.R.S.L.
F.S.A.
Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries.
F.S.S.
Fellow of the Statistical Society.
F.Z.S.
Fellow of the Zoological Society.
G.C.B.
G.C.H.
G.C.S.I.
H.R.H.
His (or Her) Royal Highness.
J.P.
J.U.D.
K.C.S.I.
K.C.B.
K.G.
K.P.
K.T.
L.A.H.
L.C.J.
LL.B.
LL.D.
LL.M.
L.S.A.
M.A.
M.B.
M.C.
Member of Congress.
M.D.
M.P.
Member of Parliament.
M.R.C.P.Member of the Royal College of Physicians.
M.R.I.A.Member of the Royal Irish Academy.
Mus. B.
Mus. D.
N.P.
P.C.
Ph.D.
P.P.
P.R.A.
Q.C.
R.
R.A.
R.A.M.
R.E.
Reg. Prof.Regius Professor.
R.M.
R.N.
S. or St.
S.S.C.
S.T.P.
V.C.
V.G.
V.S.
W.S.
Writer to the Signet [in Scotland]. Equivalent to Attorney.
 


2. Abbreviations denoting Monies, Weights, and Measures:—[3]


ac.
L.,[4] £,[4] or I.(libra), pound (money).
bar.
lb. or ℔.(libra), pound (weight).
bus.
m. or mi.mile; minute.
c. EB9 Abbreviation Minim.png.
c. (or cub.) ft. &c.cubic foot, &c.
mo.
cwt. na.
d. oz.
deg. pk.
dr. po.
dwt. pt.
f. q.
fl. qr.
ft. qt.
fur. ro.
gal. Rs.[4]
gr. s. or /
h. or hr.hour.
s. or sec.second.
hhd.
sc. or scr.scruple.
in.
sq. ft. &c.square foot, &c.
kilo. st.
yd.


3. Miscellaneous Abbreviations.


A.
Accepted.
A.C.
acc., a/c., or acct.Account.
A.D.
Æt. or Ætat.(Ætatis [anno]), In the year of his age.
A.H.
A.M.
A.M.
(Ante meridiem), Forenoon.
Anon.
Anonymous.
A.U.C.
B.C.
C. or Cap. (Caput), Chapter.
C.
cent.[6]
(Centum), A hundred, frequently £100.
Cf.
(Confer), Compare.
Ch. or Chap.Chapter.
Co.
Cr.
curt.
Current, the present month.
D.G.
(Dei gratia), By the grace of God.
Do.
Ditto, the same.
D.O.M.(Deo Optimo Maximo), To God the Best and Greatest.
Dr.
D.V.
(Deo volente), God willing.
e.g.
(Exempli gratia), For example.
ect. or &c.(Et cætera), And the rest; and so forth.
Ex.
Example.
F. or Fahr.Fahrenheit's Thermometer.
Fec.
(Fecit), He made (or did) it.
fl.
Flourished.
Fo. or Fol.Folio.
f.o.b.
Free on board.
G.P.O.
General Post Office.
H.M.S.
Ib. or Ibid.(Ibidem), In the same place.
Id.
(Idem), The same.
i.e.
(Id est), That is.
I.H.S.
Inf.
(Infra), Below.
inst.
Instant, the present month.
I.O.U.
I owe you.
i.q.
(Idem quod), The same as.
κ.τ.λ.
(καὶ τὰ λοιπά), Et cætera, and the rest.
L. or Lib.(Liber), Book.
Lat.
l.c. (Loco citato), In the place cited.
Lon. or Long.Longitude.
L.S.
(Locus sigilli), The place of the seal.
Mem.
(Memento), Remember, Memorandum.
MS.
Manuscript.MSS.  Manuscripts.
N.B.
(Nota bene), Mark well; take notice.
N.B.
North Britain (i.e., Scotland).
N.D.
No date.
nem. con.(Nemine contradicente), No one contradicting.
No.
N.S.
N.T.
ob.
(Obiit), Died.
Obs.
Obsolete.
O.H.M.S.On Her Majesty's Service.
O.S.
O.T.
P.
Page.Pp.  Pages.
EB9 Abbreviation Per.png
(Per), For; e.g., EB9 Abbreviation Per.png Ib., For one pound.
Pinx.
(Pinxit), He painted it.
P.M.
(Post meridiem), Afternoon.
P.O.
Post Office.P.O.O.  Post Office Order.
P.P.C.
(Pour prendre congé), To take leave.
P.R.
prox.
(Proximo [mense]), Next month.
P.S.
Postscript.
Pt.
Part.
p.t. or pro. tem.(Pro tempore), For the time.
P.T.O.
Please turn over.
Q., Qu., or Qy.Query; Question.
q.d.
(Quasi dicat), As if he should say; as much as to say.
Q.E.D.
(Quod erat demonstrandum), which was to be demonstrated.
Q.E.F.
(Quod erat faciendum), which was to be done.
q.s. or quant. suff.(Quantum sufficit), As much as is sufficient.
q.v.
(Quod vide), Which see.
R. or ℞.(Recipe), Take.
(= r. for radix), the sign of the square root.
R.I.P.
(Requiescat in pace!), May he rest in peace!
sc.
(Scilicet), Namely; that is to say.
Sc. or Sculp.(Sculpsit), He engraved it.
seq. or sq., seqq. or sqq.(Sequens, sequentia), The following.
s.p.
(Sine prole), Without offspring.
S.P.G.
Sup.
(Supra), Above.
s.v.
(Sub voce), Under the word (or heading).
T.C.D.
ult.
(Ultimo [mense]), Last month.
U.S.
v.
(Versus), Against.
v. or vid.(Vide), See.
viz.
(Videlicet), Namely.
V.R.
Xmas.
Christmas [This X is a Greek letter, corresponding to Ch].





  1. Describing the function of the triumviri monetales.
  2. An archbishop or bishop, in writing his signature, substitutes for his surname the name of his see; thus the prelates of Canterbury, York, Oxford, London, &c., subscribe themselves A. C. Cantuar., W. Ebor., J. F. Oxon., J. London, &c.
  3. Characters, not properly abbreviations, are used in the same way; e.g., ° for "degrees, minutes, seconds," (circular measure) , , for "ounces, drachms, scruples." is probably to be traced to the written form of the z in "oz."
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 These forms (as well as $, the symbol for the American dollar) are placed before their amounts.
  5. It is given to Austria to rule the whole earth. The device of Austria, first adopted by Frederick III.
  6. "Per cent." is often signified by %, a form traceable to "100."