List of Singapore abbreviations

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This list of Singapore abbreviations sets out abbreviations that are commonly used in Singapore.


Abbreviations are of three basic kinds:

  • Clippings, in which a shortened form of a word occurs. Common clippings in Singapore are: air-con (from "air-conditioner"),[1] condo (from "condominium"),[2] sabo (from "sabotage"),[3] and cert (from "certificate").[4]
  • Acronyms, in which the initial letters are formed into a single word, such as scuba, which is derived from "self-contained underwater breathing apparatus". Creation of acronyms such as this is rare in Singapore English, though TIBS (/ˈtɪbz/, "Trans-Island Bus Service") and CISCO (/ˈsɪsk/, "Commercial and Industrial Security Corporation") are found.[5]
  • Initialisms, in which the individual letters are spelled out. This is by far the most common category in Singapore, including PAP ("People's Action Party") and PIE ("Pan-Island Expressway"), which are pronounced /ˌp ˌ ˈp/ and /ˌp ˌ ˈ/ respectively and never */ˈpæp/ and */ˈpaɪ/. Some analysts regard initialisms such as these as one kind of acronym,[6] but others prefer to distinguish between the two categories.[7]

Initialisms are extremely common in Singapore, and many have become better known and more widely used than the full form of the words they represent. One example is the Kandang Kerbau Women's and Children's Hospital, which is more commonly referred to as KK.

The most important category of Singapore initialisms are those for government departments and public institutions. Among the earliest examples are PUB ("Public Utilities Board") and HDB ("Housing Development Board"). Abbreviations such as these were especially important in the past when most Singaporeans were not educated in English, and their use facilitated communication in the public services where the main administrative language is English. Government departments have therefore promoted the use of these initialisms, so they occur even in non-English publications. Although the younger generation of Singaporeans are now all educated in English, abbreviations remain a major characteristic of Singapore English.

There are efforts to maintain some consistency among the initialisms. Three letters are used for government institutions (PUB, HDB, CPF, MOH, CWO) and for expressways (AYE, PIE, KJE), while two letters are used for polytechnics (SP, RP). To maintain this consistency, some abbreviations are not direct initials; for example CTE is used for "Central Expressway" instead of *CE, and NP is used for "Ngee Ann Polytechnic" instead of *NAP. When the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) was established in 1991, the name was chosen instead of the alternative "Nanyang University of Technology" because the latter would have resulted in the unsuitable NUT. While Anderson Secondary School has shortened its name to ANDSS instead of ASS.

Recently, there have emerged a number of unconventional abbreviations, such as A*Star for Agency for Science, Technology and Research.) When SAFTI (Singapore Armed Forces Training Institute) was reorganised in 1995, it acquired the name SAFTI Military Institute, further abbreviated as SAFTI MI, which when fully expanded would form a rather awkward title Singapore Armed Forces Training Institute Military Institute.



  • 4D - 4-Digits, a Singapore lottery
  • 5 C's - 5 C's of Singapore: Cash, Car, Credit card, Condominium, Country club
  • 6 C's - 6 C's of Singapore: Career, Cash, Car, Credit card, Condominium, Country club















A road sign outside the campus of the Nanyang Technological University (NTU), from Singapore English (2007) by David Deterding.











  • XMM - Xiao Mei Mei



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Abbreviations in the military[edit]

This is a list of abbreviations commonly used in the Singapore Armed Forces, including slang terms. They are often used in place of the expanded form of the words. Some abbreviations are similar to those used in other militaries.



These ranks are arranged in descending order of seniority

Army and Air Force Navy
  • LG - Lieutenant General
  • MG - Major General
  • BG - Brigadier General
  • VADM - Vice Admiral
  • RADM - Rear Admiral
  • COL - Colonel
  • SLTC - Senior Lieutenant Colonel
  • LTC - Lieutenant Colonel
  • MAJ - Major
  • CPT - Captain
  • LTA - Lieutenant
  • 2LT - Second Lieutenant
  • OCT - Officer Cadet
Warrant officers[edit]
  • CWO - Chief Warrant Officer (Unfortunately having the same abbreviation as Corrective Work Order)
  • SWO - Senior Warrant Officer
  • MWO - Master Warrant Officer
  • 1WO - First Warrant Officer (formerly "WO1" or "WOI")
  • 2WO - Second Warrant Officer (formerly "WO2" or "WOII")
  • 3WO - Third Warrant Officer
  • MSG - Master Sergeant
  • SSG - Staff Sergeant
  • 1SG - First Sergeant
  • 2SG - Second Sergeant
  • 3SG - Third Sergeant
  • SGT - Sergeant (defunct – replaced by "1SG", "2SG" and "3SG")
  • SCT - Specialist Cadet
  • CFC - Corporal First Class
  • CPL - Corporal
  • LCP - Lance Corporal
  • PFC - Private First Class
  • PTE - Private
  • REC - Recruit

Appointments and offices[edit]

  • 2IC - Second-in-charge (see "IC")
  • ASM - armskoteman
  • BC - Battery commander
  • BOS - Battalion Orderly Sergeant
  • BOS - Brigade Orderly Sergeant
  • BSM - Battery Sergeant Major
  • BSO - Battalion Signal Officer
  • CAO - Chief Armour Officer
  • CAF - Chief of Air Force
  • CCO - Camp Commandant's Office
  • CDF - Chief of Defence Force
  • CDO - Company Duty Officer
  • CDS - Chief Defence Scientist
  • CMC - Chief of Medical Corps
  • CNV - Chief of Navy
  • CO - Commanding Officer
  • COA - Chief of Army
  • COS - Company Orderly Sergeant
  • CQMS - or "CQ" - Company Quartermaster Sergeant
  • CSM - Company Sergeant Major (unlike many other countries, sergeant majors are appointments, not ranks)
  • DDO - Divisional Duty Officer
  • DO - Duty Officer
  • DOS - Duty Orderly Sergeant
  • DSM - Division Sergeant Major
  • Dy S1 - Deputy Manpower Officer
  • Dy S2 - Deputy Intelligence Officer
  • Dy S3 - Deputy Training and Operation Officer
  • Dy S4 - Deputy Logistic Officer
  • FDO - Field Duty Officer
  • FS - Fitness Specialist
  • FSM - Formation Sergeant Major
  • IC - (person) in command or in charge (see also "2IC")
  • IO - Intelligence Officer or Investigating Officer
  • MO - Medical Officer
  • MTO - Military Transport Officer
  • NO - Nursing Officer
  • NCO - Non-Commissioned Officer (defunct – replaced by "Specialist")
  • OC - Officer Commanding (Company Commander in other militaries)
  • PC - Platoon Commander
  • PS - Platoon Sergeant
  • PSO - Principal Staff Officer
  • PTI - Physical Training Instructor
  • QM - Quartermaster - usually a commissioned officer or a senior warrant officer
  • RQMS - Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant - usually a warrant officer in the SAF
  • RSM - Regimental Sergeant Major
  • S1 - Manpower Officer
  • S2 - Intelligence Officer
  • S3 - Training and Operation Officer
  • S4 - Logistic Officer
  • SDO - School Duty Officer (use is limited to training schools)
  • SM - Sergeant Major
  • WOSA - Warrant officers, specialists and airmen
  • WOSE - Warrant officers, specialists and enlistees
  • WOSPEC - Warrant officers and specialists

Units and organizations[edit]


  • 265 - formerly a hill in Marsiling with an elevation of 265 feet which was used for training; it has been levelled for urban development.
  • ATEC - Army Training and Evaluation Center
  • BCTC - Basic Combat Training Center
  • SAFTI - Singapore Armed Forces Training Institute (term now defunct)
  • SAFTI MI - SAFTI Military Institute

Weapons, vehicles and equipment[edit]

  • A-veh - a heavy vehicle, such as an armoured vehicle
  • APC - Armoured Personnel Carrier
  • AVLB - Armoured Vehicle Launched Bridge
  • B-veh - non-"A-veh" vehicles, such as rovers and trucks
  • FAD - first aid dressing
  • FBO - full battle order (compare "SBO")
  • FFR - (with reference to a land rover) fitted for radio
  • FH - 2000 - Field Howitzer 2000
  • GPMG - General Purpose Machine Gun – refers in particular to the FN MAG used in the Singapore Armed Forces
  • HMG - Heavy machine gun
  • IBA - Integrated body armour
  • IFV - Infantry Fighting Vehicle
  • LAW - Light Anti-tank Weapon
  • LBV - Load Bearing Vest
  • LST - Landing Ship Tank
  • MOP - Medic Operational Pouch (previously Medical Orderly Pouch)
  • RCK - rifle cleaning kit
  • SAW - Section Assault Weapon (usually refers to the Ultimax 100)
  • SBO - Standard (formerly Skeletal) Battle Order (compare "FBO")
  • SSPH 1 - Singapore Self-Propelled Howitzer 1 Primus


  • FO - fall out; fuck off
  • LOBO - left out of battle order (refers to a soldier who has not been assigned a fixed vocation)
  • NATO - no action, talk only
  • Pikachu - from the hokkien expression "bai kah bai chew", meaning crippled
  • SBC - simply boh chup – indifferent, not caring (from the abbreviation of the Singapore Broadcasting Corporation)
  • WALI - walk around, look important
  • ROC - relax one corner
  • SOC - siam one corner, that is, to hide somewhere in order to avoid meeting one's superiors, doing work, etc. (from the abbreviation of "Standard Obstacle Course")


  • 11B - SAF 11B, the military identity card.
  • 1206 - SAF 1206, a form signed to acknowledge deductions made to a soldier's payroll for damaging or losing equipment, etc. (pronounced "twelve-O-six")
  • 302 - SAF 302, a form signed to declare own homosexual orientation (pronounced "three-O-two")
  • ACCT - Advanced Close Combat Training
  • AI - Armoured Infantry troopers
  • AOC - Advanced Obstacle Course
  • ATP - Advanced Trainfire Package
  • Attend B - medical status that allows soldier to perform only light duties
  • Attend C - medical status that exempts soldier from all duties
  • AWOL - Absent Without Official Leave
  • BAC - Battle Assault Course
  • BCCT - Basic Close Combat Training
  • BER - beyond economic repair
  • BIC - Battle Inoculation Course
  • BMT - Basic Military Training
  • BRO - Battalion Routine Order
  • BTP - Basic Trainfire Package
  • BUA - Built-up area (see also "FIBUA")
  • C3 - command, control and communication (pronounced "C-three" or "C-cube")
  • CBRE - Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Explosive Defence Group
  • CIS - Chartered Industries of Singapore
  • CMTL - Centralised Motor Transport Line
  • COC - Change of Command Parade
  • CP - command post
  • CRO - Company Routine Orders
  • CST - Combat Survival Training
  • DB - detention barracks
  • DIV - division
  • DOD - date of disruption
  • EVAC - evacuation
  • FFF - Fit For Firing certification
  • FFI - Fitness For Instructions
  • FIBUA - fighting in built-up area (see also "BUA")
  • FO - Forward Observer, soldier who corrects artillery fire
  • FOFO - fighting on Fortified objectives
  • GLS - Ground Logistics Support
  • HCC - High Confidence Course
  • IA - Immediate Action, a pre-trained drill for responding to a certain situation
  • ICCT - Intermediate Close Combat Training
  • ICT - In Camp Training (also simply known as in-camp)
  • IFC - Individual Field Craft
  • IMT - Individual Marksmanship Trainer
  • IPPT - Individual Physical Proficiency Test
  • L/F - live firing
  • LOA - letter of authorisation
  • OOC - Out of Course
  • OOT - Out of Training
  • ORD - Operationally Ready Date (formerly "ROD")
  • RO - Routine Orders
  • ROD - Run Out Date (now "ORD")
  • PES - Physical Employment Status
  • SOC - Standard Obstacle Course
  • SOL - stoppage of leave
  • TH - Technical Handling
  • UFF - unfit for firing
  • WH - White Horse marking in medical docket indicative of special treatment required

Abbreviations in transport[edit]

As in most other major cities, abbreviations are commonly used in transport-related matters. The most prominent are the three-letter abbreviations of the expressways in Singapore; all, except one, end with the letter "E":

With the introduction of the Electronic Monitoring and Advisory System (EMAS) in 1998, LED signboards were installed along the expressways to display warning and other informational messages to road users. This led to the increased use of abbreviations, some of which are less common and not easily understood. The following are examples of abbreviations used in the EMAS:[8]

  • BEDOK NTH - Bedok North Road
  • BEDOK STH - Bedok South Road
  • CCK DR - Choa Chu Kang Drive
  • TOWN HALL - Jurong Town Hall Road
  • TP AVE 10 - Tampines Avenue 10
  • LT - left
  • RT - right
  • AFT - after
  • BEF - before
  • LN - lane
  • SH - shoulder

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Low, Ee Ling; Adam Brown (2005). English in Singapore: An Introduction. Singapore: McGraw-Hill Education (Asia). p. 69. ISBN 0-07-123975-8. 
  2. ^ Brown, Adam (2000). Singapore English in a Nutshell: An Alphabetical Description of its Features. Singapore: Federal Publications. pp. 57–58. ISBN 981-01-2435-X. 
  3. ^ Brown, Singapore English in a Nutshell, above, p. 187.
  4. ^ Deterding, David (2007). Singapore English. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. p. 77. ISBN 0-7486-2545-3. 
  5. ^ Brown, Singapore English in a Nutshell, above, p. 112.
  6. ^ Low & Brown, English in Singapore, above, p. 70.
  7. ^ Deterding, Singapore English, above, p. 77.
  8. ^ "EMAS – Your guide to a safer ride" (– Scholar search). The Highway (Automobile Association of Singapore). February 2001. Archived from the original on October 11, 2007. Retrieved 2008-03-11. [dead link].


  • Brown, Adam (2000). Singapore English in a Nutshell: An Alphabetical Description of its Features. Singapore: Federal Publications. ISBN 981-01-2435-X. 
  • Deterding, David (2007). Singapore English. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. ISBN 0-7486-2545-3. 
  • Low, Ee Ling; Adam Brown (2005). English in Singapore: An Introduction. Singapore: McGraw-Hill Education (Asia). ISBN 0-07-123975-8. 

External links[edit]