List of Latin abbreviations
Nearly all the abbreviations below have been adopted by Modern English. However, with some exceptions (for examples, versus, modus operandi), most of the Latin referent words and phrases are still foreign and unknown to English. In a few cases, English referents have replaced the original Latin ones (e.g., "rest in peace" for R.I.P. and "post script" for P.S.)
Latin was once the universal academic language in Europe. From the 18th century authors started using their mother tongues to write books, papers or proceedings. Even when Latin fell out of use, many Latin abbreviations continued to be used due to their precise simplicity and Latin's status as a learned language.
List of common abbreviations
All abbreviations are given with full stops, although these are omitted or included as a personal preference in most situations.
|Abbreviation||Latin||Translation||Usage and notes|
|A.D.||anno Domini||"in the year of the Lord"||Used to label or number years in the Julian and Gregorian calendars. The AD or the Christian calendar era is based on the traditionally reckoned year of the conception or birth of Jesus of Nazareth, with AD counting years after the start of this epoch, and BC denoting years before the start of the epoch.
Example: The United States Civil War began in AD 1861
|a.i.||ad interim||"temporarily"||Used in business organizational charts|
|A.M.||Ante Meridiem||"before midday"||Used on the twelve-hour clock to indicate times during the morning.
Example: We will meet the mayor at 10 a.m. (10:00 in 24-hour clock)
|c., ca., ca or cca.||circa||"around", "about", "approximately"||Used in dates to indicate approximately.
Example: The antique clock is from c.1900.
|Cap.||capitulus||"chapter"||Used before a chapter number of laws of the United Kingdom and its (former) colonies.
Example: Electronic Transactions Ordinance (Cap. 553).
|cf.||confer||"bring together" and hence "compare"||Confer is the imperative of the Latin verb conferre. Used interchangeably with "cp." in citations indicating the reader should compare a statement with that from the cited source.
Example: These results were similar to those obtained using different techniques (cf. Wilson, 1999 and Ansmann, 1992).
|cp.||compare||Used interchangeably with "cf." in citations indicating the reader should compare a statement with that from the cited source.
Example: These results were similar to those obtained using different techniques (cp. Wilson, 1999 and Ansmann, 1992).
|Cp||ceteris paribus||"all other things equal"||Commonly used in economics, ceteris paribus allows for supply and demand models to reflect specific variables. If one assumes that the only thing changing is, say, the price of wheat, then demand and supply will both be affected appropriately. While this is simplification of actual dynamic market models, it makes learning economic theory easier.|
|C.V. or CV||curriculum vitae||"course of life"||A document containing a summary or listing of relevant job experience and education. The exact usage of the term varies between British English and American English. The singular form is never vita. Curriculum is already singular, despite the plural-appearing vitae modifier. The true plural is curricula vitae.|
|cwt.||centum weight||"Hundredweight"||cwt. uses a mixture of Latin and English abbreviation.|
|D.V.||Deo volente||"God willing"|
|DG, D.G. or DEI GRA||Dei gratia||"by the grace of God".||A part of the monarch's title, it is found on all British and Canadian coins.|
|ead.||eadem||see id. below.|
|et al.||et alii||"and others", "and co-workers".||It can also stand for et alia, "and other things", or et alibi, "and other places".
Example: These results agree with the ones published by Pelon et al. (2002). Etc. should not be used for people.
|etc.||et cetera||"and the others", "and other things", "and the rest".||Other archaic abbreviations include "&c.", "&/c.", "&e.", "&ct.", and "&ca."
|e.g.||exempli gratia||"for example", "for instance".||Example: The shipping company instituted a surcharge on any items weighing over a ton; e.g., a car or truck.|
|fl.||floruit||"he/she flourished" or "he/she was in his/her prime", followed by the dates during which the person, usually famous, was active and productive in his profession, as opposed to the person's dates of birth and death. This is usually seen as parenthetical information.||Example: The great author Joseph Someone (fl. 2050-75) was renowned for his erudition.|
|folio/foliis||"and following"||This abbreviation is used in citations to indicate an unspecified number of following pages following, Example: see page 258ff.|
|ibid.||ibidem||"in the same place (book, etc.)"||The abbreviation is used in citations. It should not be confused with the following abbreviation.|
|id.||idem||"the same (man)".||It is used to avoid repeating the name of a male author (in citations, footnotes, bibliographies, etc.) When quoting a female author, use the corresponding feminine form, ead. (eadem), "the same (woman)" (eadem is pronounced with stress on the first e-).|
|i.a.||inter alia||"among other things".||
Example: Ernest Hemingway—author (i.a. 'The Sun Also Rises') and friend.
|i.e.||id est||"that is", "in other words".||
|J.D.||Juris Doctor||"doctor of law".|
|lb.||libra||"scales"||Used to indicate the pound (mass).|
|LL.B.||Legum Baccalaureus||"bachelor of laws"||The "LL." of the abbreviation for the degree is from the genitive plural legum (of lex, legis f., law), thus "LL.B." stands for Legum Baccalaureus in Latin. In the United States it was sometimes erroneously called "Bachelor of Legal Letters" to account for the double "L" (and therefore sometimes abbreviated as "L.L.B.").|
|M.A.||Magister Artium||"Master of Arts"||A postgraduate academic master degree awarded by universities in many countries. The degree is typically studied for in fine art, humanities, social science or theology and can be either fully taught, research-based, or a combination of the two.|
|M.O.||modus operandi||"method of operating"||Can refer to one's body of business practices. Also, in criminology, to refer to a criminal's method of operation.|
|N.B.||nota bene||"note well"||Some people use "Note" for the same purpose. Usually written with majuscule (French upper case / 'capital') letters.
Example: N.B.: All the measurements have an accuracy of within 5% as they were calibrated according to the procedure described by Jackson (1989).
|nem. con.||nemine contradicente||"with no one speaking against"||The meaning is distinct from "unanimously"; "nem. con." simply means that nobody voted against. Thus there may have been abstentions from the vote.|
|op. cit.||opere citato||"the work cited"||Means in the same article, book or other reference work as was mentioned before. It is most often used in citations in a similar way to "ibid", though "ibid" would usually be followed by a page number.|
|p.a.||per annum||"through a year"||Is used in the sense of "yearly".|
|per cent.||per centum||"for each one hundred"||Commonly "percent"|
|Ph.D.||Philosophiæ Doctor||"Doctor of Philosophy"|
|P.M.||Post Meridiem||"after midday"||Used on the twelve-hour clock to indicate times during the afternoon.
Example: We will meet the mayor at 2 P.M. (14:00 in 24hour-clock)
|p.m.a.||post mortem auctoris||"after the author's death"|
|p.p. and per pro.||per procurationem||"through the agency of"|
|PRN||pro re nata||"as needed"||Used in prescriptions|
|pro tem.||pro tempore||"for the time being", "temporarily", "in place of"|||
|P.S.||post scriptum||"after what has been written"||It is used to indicate additions to a text after the signature of a letter.
Example (in a letter format):
P.S. Tell mother I say hello!
|Q.D.||quaque die||"every day"||Used on prescriptions to indicate the medicine should be taken daily.|
|Q.E.D.||quod erat demonstrandum||"which was to be demonstrated".||Cited in many texts at the end of a mathematical proof.
Example: At the end of the long proof, the professor exclaimed "Q.E.D!"
|q.v.||quod videre||"which to see"||Used as an imperative. Used after a term or phrase that should be looked up elsewhere in the current document or book. For more than one term or phrase, the plural is quae videre (qq.v.).|
|Re||in re||"in the matter of", "concerning"||Often used to prefix the subject of traditional letters and memoranda. However, when used in an e-mail subject, there is evidence that it functions as an abbreviation of "reply" rather than the word meaning "in the matter of". Nominative case singular 'res' is the Latin equivalent of 'thing'; singular 're' is the ablative case required by 'in'. Some people believe it is short for 'regarding'.|
|REG||regina||"queen"||A part of the monarch's title. It is found on all British coins minted during the reign of a monarch who is a queen. Rex, "king" (not an abbreviation) is used when the reigning monarch is a king.|
|r.||regnavit||"he/she reigned"||Often abbreviated as "r." followed by the dates during which the king or queen reigned/ruled, as opposed to the monarch's dates of birth and death. Often used parenthetically after the monarch's name.|
|R.I.P.||requiescat in pace||"may he/she rest in peace"||Used as a short prayer for a dead person, frequently found on tombstones. "R.I.P." can also mean requiescant in pace, which is the plural form and translates to "may they rest in peace"
Example: R.I.P. good grandmother.
|s.o.s.||si opus sit||"if there is need", "if occasion require", "if necessary"||A prescription indication that the drug is to only be administered once.|
|Sic.||sic. or sic erat scriptum||"Thus it was written"||Often used when citing text, especially if the cited work has mistakes to show that it has been copied as it was and not mistyped. Sic is often (mis)used as a sign of surprise, incredulity or ridicule regarding the substance of a quote|
|stat.||statim||"immediately"||Often used in medical contexts.
Example: That patient needs attention, stat.!
|viz.||videlicet||"namely", "to wit", "precisely", "that is to say"||In contradistinction to "i.e." and "e.g.", "viz." is used to indicate a detailed description of something stated before, and when it precedes a list of group members, it implies (near) completeness.
|vs. or v.||versus||"against"||Sometimes is not abbreviated.
Less common abbreviations and usages
Words and abbreviations that have been in general use, but are currently used less often:
- a.C.n. = ante Christum natum = BC = before Christ
- AMDG (Ad maiorem Dei gloriam or ad majorem Dei gloriam): Latin - "For the greater glory of God". It is the motto of the Society of Jesus.
- a.u. (anno urbis): Latin for "The year of the city"
- a.U.c. (ab Urbe condita or Anno Urbis conditae): Latin for "from the foundation of the City": it refers to the founding of Rome, which occurred in 753 BC according to Livy's count. Used as a reference point in ancient Rome for establishing dates, before being supplanted by other systems. Also anno Urbis conditae (a.U.c.) ("in the year that the City [Rome] was founded"). For example, the year 2007 AD is the year 2761 ab Urbe condita (753 + 1 + 2007 = 2761); though, rigorously speaking, the year a.U.c. begins on April 21, the birthday of Rome (i.e. the day that Romulus was traditionally believed to have founded the Eternal City). (The reason for adding 1 to 753 is that the Romans counted dates "inclusively," i.e., including both the first and the last day or year in the count.)
- A.B. (Artium Baccalaureus), "Bachelor of Arts" (B.A., BA or A.B.), is an undergraduate bachelor's degree awarded for either a course or a program in the liberal arts or the sciences, or both.
- c (cum): "with", usually found in medical shorthand.
- CC. (Civis in plural): Abbreviation for Citizens (plural of citizen). Usually found in legal documents in Civil law countries.
- D.D. (Divinitatis Doctor), "Doctor of Divinity" 
- D.Lit. (Doctor Litterarum), "Doctor of Literature" 
- D.M. (Doctor Medicinae), "Doctor of Medicine" (M.D.) 
- D.M.D. (Dentae Medicinae Doctor), "Doctor of Dental Medicine"
- D.Phil. (Doctor Philosophiæ), "Doctor of Philosophy"
- Ed.D. (Educationae Doctor), "Doctor of Education"
- et seq. (et sequens), et seqq or et sequa. (et sequentes, or et sequentia): "and the following" (use et seqq or et sequa. if "the following" is plural). Not unlike the full colon [ : ] which means "the following" i.e. that which follows is a listing of that which precedes the ' : '. (Incorrectly used, "the following:")
- dwt. (denarius weight): "Pennyweight". N.B. this is a mixture of Latin and English abbreviations.
- fl. or flor. (floruit) means the period of time during which a person, school, movement or even species was active or flourishing (literally, "he/she/it flourished").
- F D or FID DEF (fidei defensor), "defender of the faith." A part of the monarch's title, it is found on all British coins.
- in litt. (in litteris): Latin for "in a letter [or other documented correspondence]"; often followed by a date.
- inst. (instante mense): "this month" (see also prox. and ult.)
- Ll.D. (Legum Doctor), "Doctor of Laws"
- Ll.M. (Legum Magister), "Master of Laws"
- loq. (loquitur), "S/he speaks" 
- N.N. (nomen nescio): "I do not know the name": used as a placeholder for unknown names in e.g. the Book of Common Prayer.
- O.D. (oculus dexter): "the right eye". Used in vision correction prescriptions.
- O.D. (Optometriae Doctor), "Doctor of Optometry".
- O.S. (oculus sinister): "the left eye". Used in vision correction prescriptions.
- prox. (proximo mense): "next month" (see also inst. and ult.).
- r. (rexit): 'ruled'. Used for the time period of a monarch or other ruler's reign (e.g.: Mehmet III [r. 1595–1603])
- Q.E.C. (quod erat construendum): "which was to be constructed" (after constructing something, normally to show its existence)
- Q.E.F. (quod erat faciendum): "which was to be done"
- Q.E.I. (quod erat inveniendum): "which was to be found out", usually at the end of mathematical proofs.
- s (sine): "without", usually found in medical shorthand.
- sc. (scilicet) means literally "one may know". Sometimes abbreviated scil. It is equivalent to the English phrase "to wit" and has virtually the same meaning as "videlicet" (literally, "one may see"), which is usually abbreviated as "viz." These expressions are not to be confused with "i.e." (id est), equivalent to "that is". Their meanings are similar, but there is a distinction which should be observed: "sc." and "viz." introduce a clarification; "i.e." introduces an equivalence.
- sec. (secundum) literally "second", "after" or "following", used in several related senses such as "in the sense of" or "in accordance with". For example in taxonomy "...sec. Smith..." typically would mean something like: "...in accordance with the ideas of Smith in this matter..."
- sphalm. (sphalma typographicum) a misprint.
- S.P.D. (salutem plurimam dicit), sends many greetings, e.g. Areia S.P.D. Apollonio. (Areia sends many greetings to Apollonius)
- S.T.T.L. (sit tibi terra levis) means "May the earth rest lightly on you" and was used in similar manner to R.I.P.
- s.v. (sub verbo): "Under the word or heading", as in a dictionary
- S.V.B.E.E.V. (si vales bene est ego valeo): "if you are well, it is good. I am well." Among the Romans, this was a traditional salutation at the beginning of a letter.
- Th.D. (Theologiae Doctor): "Doctor of Theology"
- ult. (ultimo mense): "last month" (see also inst. and prox.)
- V.C. (vi coactus): "constrained by force". Used when forced to sign ("or else ...")
- v.i. (vide infra) means "see below".
- v.s. (vide supra) means "see above".
- inter alios: Latin for "among others", i.e. people, or legal entities, but not an abbreviation.
- List of abbreviations used in medical prescriptions
- List of classical abbreviations
- List of ecclesiastical abbreviations
- List of Latin phrases
- per mille, Latin for "in each thousand", but not an abbreviation. May be seen abbreviated as per mil.
- sic, Latin for "thus", but not an abbreviation.
- stet, Latin for "let it stand", but not an abbreviation. Used in editing to indicate that something should remain as it is, and not be changed.
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