From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
WikiProject Linguistics (Rated C-class, Mid-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Linguistics, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of linguistics on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
C-Class article C  This article has been rated as C-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Mid  This article has been rated as Mid-importance on the project's importance scale.

The concept of abbreviating was first employed by Kianna Eberle in 2008.[edit]

What? I think abbreviating has been in use for a lot longer than that! -- Steven, 10:15am, 19 April 2010 (AEDT) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:16, 19 April 2010 (UTC)

Abbreviation != Acronym[edit]

Yes, an acronym is a form of abbreviation, but the two are quite distinct. It's like saying, well, a square is a type of rectangle, so let's merge square into the rectangle article. --mwazzap 00:41, 16 January 2006 (UTC)

Currently, in the article appears: "In strict analysis, abbreviations should not be confused with contractions or acronyms (including initialisms), with which they share some semantic and phonetic functions, though all three are connoted by the term "abbreviation" in loose parlance.[1]:p16", which is the contrary of what appears in the abbreviation page. — Preceding unsigned comment added by B Global Institute (talkcontribs) 17:05, 1 September 2012 (UTC)

Specific phrase edits[edit]

"Use of periods (American English for "full stops")..." That's a fallacy. "Period" was originally British English, Shakespeare, for example, is known to have called full stops periods. Also, more recently, the term was used by the PM in the House of Commons (see the Wikipedia article on full stops). Though it is rarely heard in British English, "period" is acceptable, it has merely fallen out of use. Changed. -- Tom, 9.58 pm, 19th Oct. 2005

No, Shakespeare called them points. A Midsummer Night's Dream, Act V, Scene I: "This fellow does not stand upon points...." Seahen 01:47, 13 March 2006 (UTC)

Whether to add an apostrophe for a plural, e.g., kms vs km's. ALSO IT IS AN ACRONAM FOR NON DESTRUCTIVE TESTING

That's a particularly bad example. One may say "twenty kilometers" but this commonly written as "20 km", not "20 kms" nor "20 km's". This makes sense because "kms" could be interpreted as "kilometers times seconds", which is not intended.

The official rule can be found in the Bureau International des Poids et Mesures' International System of Units brochure, section 5.2 point 2 which simply says: Unit symbols are unaltered in the plural.

Furthermore, km is a symbol and not an abbreviation. As such it does not follow the rules for abbreviations. Because the article is about abbreviations and not about symbols, I suggest that unit symbols should not be included here.

Herbee 00:32, 2004 Feb 22 (UTC)

"If used to refer to a country or a group like the United States or United Nations, the period is not included, and only the first letter of the abbreviation is capitalised." I'm sure I've never read Us or Un to refer to the United States or United Nations in any British publication. Sars and Nato, yes, but not Usa or Un. Tjwood 21:46, 17 May 2004 (UTC)

Agreed, this statement is incorrect, as any search on BBC News will indicate. This should be divided into two points:

  • If used to refer to a country or a group like the United States or United Nations, the period is not included. In these examples US and UN are used.
  • Certain Acronyms pronounced as words (see Acronym) are referred to with only the first letter of the abbreviation capitalised. For instance, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization is abbreviated as Nato, and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome as Sars.

Edit made. --Air 14:35, 21 May 2004 (UTC)

"Whether to add an apostrophe for a plural, e.g., CDs vs CD's. The apostrophe is not needed grammatically but sometimes is added to make it clear that the s is not part of the abbreviation." I have doubts whether use of the apostrophe is ever 'acceptable'. The entry for Acronym explicitly contradicts (forbids) this practice. --Air 14:42, 21 May 2004 (UTC)

The lede concludes with this sentence: In a dictionary with no abbreviation section, AUTM (variation of ATM) would come right after "authorize". So what? It would come after authorize anyway, wouldn't it? M comes after H. On the other hand, are we sure that, say, authorless wouldn't come right after authorize?

Furthermore, are there really dictionaries that file abbreviations separately from the rest of the words? I've never seen that. If there are, that would be worth pointing out (but probably not in the first paragraph). If the sentence meant to illustrate that abbreviations are alphabetized as though they were actually spelled out, then that would also be worth mentioning, but it should be done using an example that actually illustrates the point. For now, I'm removing the sentence pending an explanation of its significance. --Rob Kennedy 04:06, 6 July 2006 (UTC)

1911 encyclopedia[edit]

There is a warning on the page that, being based on the 1911 encyclopedia, "this article may reflect the thinking of the turn of the last century", but the big problem here is surely that it reflects the abbreviations of the turn of the last century. Or, in a way, I wish it did: since paper encyclopedias have always lagged behind their times, the "Abbreviations now in use (1911)" were old-fashioned at the time, as well as being heavily weighted towards academic honors, Church of England titles and Latin phrases (reflecting the priorities of the time). As for the lists of "Classical [=Roman] abbreviations", a really long list, and "Medieval abbreviations", who's going to look for them in this article? If their existence on Wikipedia is any use to anybody - I defer to Classical and historical scholars - is it, honestly? - surely they should be moved to Roman empire or similar? It's not that I don't appreciate the trouble someone took to scan and upload portions of the 1911 encyclopedia, but I suppose the intention was to eventually evaluate which bits were of an any use. And I also appreciate that the big need of this article is for an updated abbreviations list, rather than for just getting rid of the useless parts of the old one. But still, wouldn't that be a start?

I'm pretty new at Wikipedia. There may be an ongoing general project , that I haven't heard of, for getting rid of the obsolete parts of the 1911 encyclopedia - but if there isn't, can't we make a start by deleting some of it right here? My suggestion would be that we keep the list of "Abbreviations denoting moneys, weights, and measures" - abbreviations for hogshead and farthing are cool with me - and lose the rest. What do you think, people? Bishonen 20:42, 12 Aug 2004 (UTC)

If anything, I'd say to move them to sub-pages such as "Medieval abbreviations" &c., and link to those pages from this one. The source (1911 encyclopedia) of the abbreviations is probably not important, but the content is worth preserving. DenisMoskowitz 17:56, 2004 Aug 18 (UTC)

Major edits[edit]

I've gone ahead and removed the lists - they were too long to keep inline in the page. I've also added sections. The article actually looks sensible and nice now. Not sure what to do about current examples, does list of acronyms and initialisms cover this (I suspect the line is blurred). zoney  talk 01:30, 19 Aug 2004 (UTC)


Come to think of it... are initialisms and acronyms subsets of abbreviations? There's no discussion here of the distinction. zoney  talk 01:32, 19 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Not all abbreviations are acronyms: acronyms can be pronounced as if they are one word (eg NATO — nay-tow), non-acronyms can't (QED is not pronounced "ked").
Initialisms (iirc) are not really abbreviations. The Long List of Abbreviations — TLLA would not be really what I’d call an abbreviation. [[User:Anárion|File:Anarion.png]] 07:43, 19 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Yes, but I was suggesting the reverse - are all acronyms abbreviations? zoney  talk 12:38, 19 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Sure all acronyms are abbreviations[edit]

Great work, Zoney, thanks a lot! It looks like a proper article now. I have always assumed abbreviation was the master category, and acronyms and initialisms subsets of it, on a common-sense basis: "abbreviation" means shortening or brief-making, and acronyms and initialisms are methods for shortening. If I'm right, then all acronyms are abbreviations (though I don't suppose anybody believes all abbreviations are acronyms). But, Anárion, if you're heavily into linguistic terminology there, I'll defer to you, because I'm not - as I say, I only make a common-sense argument.

Looking up the entry on abbreviation in modern Encyclopedia Britannica, I note a couple of points:

1. A third method for producing abbrevations is by truncation, e. g. Mets for Metropolitans. Apocopation, linked to under See also, looks a lot like it means the exact same thing, doesn't it? Anyway, truncation has to be about fifty times more likely to be searched for than apocopation, and a Wikipedia Truncation article only exists for math, so if I have some time later, I'll try to create a Truncation (lingustics) stub and a disambig Truncation page.

2. Not everybody agrees with Herbee above that unit symbols like km are not abbreviations. It's OK to call them abbreviations (though it's also OK to refuse to). Anyway, thanks very much both of you for responding to my VP appeal for input.Bishonen 12:43, 19 Aug 2004 (UTC)

All three[edit]

Sorry! Thanks all three of you, was what I meant. Bishonen 12:48, 19 Aug 2004 (UTC)


I understand that I'm supposed to discuss a specific article on its Talk page, but I just haven't had any success with the Abbreviation article. I left a note on the Talk page six days ago, with suggestions for deleting most of the 1911 Britannica material, but haven't had any response so far. (I guess nobody's watching the page. Well, it's not John Kerry.) I don't feel right about deleting all that stuff without input from anybody else. Does anybody have a soft spot for abbreviations out there? Incidentally, if you do, and know more linguistics than me, which wouldn't be hard, I'd really appreciate it if you'd take a look at my HomO article. I wrote it mostly because the word (the short form for the Swedish ombudsman against discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation) is a cool, and to me amusing, uh, fake abbreviation. Well, maybe you had to be there. But, anyway, I don't think I do justice to the word itself in the article about the institution, and any input would be appreciated. If you think this posting is inappropriate, please tell me so, that would also be useful. Bishonen 16:55, 18 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Well bringing it here is likely to garner the article some attention so hopefully that helps (its not my field, unfortunately). Wikipedia works on a system of massive numbers of incremental improvements. If no-one other than you is currently interested in an article, you have carte blanche to your best in improving it, doing whatever you think is right. Maybe you can't make it perfect, but it will be in a better state for the next person who comes along. Pcb21| Pete 19:59, 18 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Be bold. Discussing a major change on the talk page is only a courtesy to people who care about the article, and those people would be watching. Also, all changes are reversible, so if someone comes back from vacation and finds their page "devastated", they'll revert and flame you then. I for one favour your suggestion, but I might suggest moving them to a list of "archaic abbreviations." Derrick Coetzee 20:59, 18 Aug 2004 (UTC)
I've gone ahead and removed the lists - they were too long to keep inline in the page. I've also added sections. The article actually looks sensible and nice now. Not sure what to do about current examples, does list of acronyms and initialisms cover this (I suspect the line is blurred). Discuss on Talk:Abbreviation. zoney  talk 01:29, 19 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Not all abbreviations are acronyms: acronyms can be pronounced as if they were a word. NATO is an acronym, QED is not. [[User:Anárion|File:Anarion.png]] 07:38, 19 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Untrue. According to Merriam-Webster's Online, an acronym is "a word (as NATO, radar, or snafu) formed from the initial letter or letters of each of the successive parts or major parts of a compound term; also : an abbreviation (as FBI) formed from initial letters". QED is an acronym in the second sense (and even the first, depending on how you define "word"). Wikipedia's own article on acronyms is even clearer on this point. The essential difference is that NATO is pronounced "NAY-toe", whereas "QED" is pronounced "KYOO EE DEE". — Jeff Q 09:45, 19 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Nope - by any definition QED is not an acronym - it is always spelled out and never pronounced kwed. --JohnArmagh 10:01, 19 Aug 2004 (UTC)
But all acronyms are abbreviations? I.e. are acronyms a subset of abbreviations? Are initialisms also abbreviations? zoney  talk 12:23, 19 Aug 2004 (UTC)
"By any definition?" Clearly, by at least one definition—the one Jeff cites above—it is indeed one. The artificial acronym/initialism distinction has always irked me, and I suppose you're going to be chiding me for splitting infinitives next. Austin Hair 12:51, Aug 19, 2004 (UTC)
Seconded. QED is not an acronym, since it is not pronounced as a word, but as three individual letters. All acronyms are abbreviations, yes.
From the OED: "Initialism: The use of initials; a significative group of initial letters. Now spec. a group of initial letters used as an abbreviation for a name or expression, each letter or part being pronounced separately (contrasted with ACRONYM)."
Sounds fairly unequivocable. -- Necrothesp 13:00, 19 Aug 2004 (UTC)
What does "unequivocable" mean, exactly? It's certainly not unequivocal; few dictionaries even note the distinction, and those that do are quick to point out that it hasn't gained widespread acceptance—and rightly so, given its artificiality. Educated commentators are quick to disavow this "correction" right along with the prohibition against the split infinitive (mentioned above), the ending of a sentence with a preposition, the beginning of a sentence with a conjunction, and numerous other non-errors which have no place in this encyclopedia. Austin Hair 03:57, Aug 20, 2004 (UTC)
Zoney is quite correct - just as not all 'pronounceable' abbreviations are acronyms, not all acronyms are abbreviations. --JohnArmagh 05:21, 20 Aug 2004 (UTC)
I would like to see any reputable sources that anyone can provide to support the claim that not all acronyms are abbreviations, or that all are. -Pgan002 23:07, 11 December 2006 (UTC)

Link suggestions[edit]

An automated Wikipedia link suggester has some possible wiki link suggestions for the Abbreviation article, and they have been placed on this page for your convenience.
Tip: Some people find it helpful if these suggestions are shown on this talk page, rather than on another page. To do this, just add {{User:LinkBot/suggestions/Abbreviation}} to this page. — LinkBot 01:02, 18 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Question: "A" vs. "An"[edit]

Let's say we are talking about a book: a Lord of the Rings (LOTR) book. As I just said there, I said "a" lord of the rings book, but when you use the abbreviation LOTR, the sound changes. The first sound in "LOTR" is a hard "ell", not a soft L like in "lord". Now saying "a ell-oh-tee-are book" sounds wrong because the abbreviation starts with a vowel. When a normal word starts with a vowel, you use an not a. So, my question is, do you say "A LOTR book" or "An LOTR book"? ·Zhatt· 21:24, July 11, 2005 (UTC)

Here's my 2 cents: If you were speaking, and were to say it out ("LOTR"), you'd use "an"; same way in the military we'd say "an LSVW". BUT…if you are using "LOTR" as a written shorthand for "Lord of the Rings", you'd say "'a LOTR book" because if you read it out you'd say "a Lord of the Rings book"; in the military, for example, if I wanted a lieutenant and a lineman, I would ask for "a Lt and a Lmn". Basically, write it exactly as you're going to read it. (I know that's not explained very clearly, but that's the best you'll get out of me before I turn into a pumpkin). SigPig 02:34, 28 July 2005 (UTC)


The Abbreviation has notices that someone is suggesting Acronym and initialism and Syllabic abbreviation should be merged in. I'm not an expert here and the proposal seems far from straightforward so thought I'd see if anyone's interested in discussing it, or just doing it. Tedernst 17:59, 27 October 2005 (UTC)

I have merged Syllabic abbreviation into this article, and may soon merge Apocopation and Acronym and initialism as well, depending on community comment. Brisvegas 09:32, 13 November 2005 (UTC)
I'm not a linguistic either, but in my mind, acronyms and initialism are different concepts from abbrevations (allthough connected) and should remain as separate articles. An abbreviation in it's simplest form should have a full stop, e.g. "Mass." for "Massachusetts", while the initialism "MA" should not. Generally, an abbrevation is a simplified written form not normally used for speech, while an acronym/initalism is also used in speech. I'm not a native English speaker/writer, but I feel that the distinction is greather in other languages, like Norwegian and Swedish.
Similarly, syllabic abbreviation is a special form of initialism. Apocopation, on the other hand, is a special form of abbrevation.
--Frodet 19:08, 16 November 2005 (UTC)

I also think it is best to leave things as they are, with separate articles. Lucien Duval, from the French Wikipedia, 28 November 2005 (UTC)

With regard to combining the article Apocopation into the article Abbreviation, although not a linguist I would suggest that such not be done. Abbreviations are letters taken from a word and used interchangeably with the word. E.g., kilometer and km. Apocopation, however, is a form of a word produced by shortening the original word and resulting in a word legitimate in its own right. For example, in Hebrew, the 3rd person singular feminine imperfect of hayah is tihyeh in its full form. The apocopated form, however, is thiy. This is not a contraction, however, for a contraction is the shortening of a word by omission of intermediate letters. Nor is it an abbreviation. Apocopation is distinct from both abbreviation and contraction. (David Medici)

I oppose the merge. There is enough distinct content about each subject to warrant separate articles. --TantalumTelluride 21:57, 31 December 2005 (UTC)

I also am against the merge, for reasons similar to David Medici's, above. (I am also against the merging of Apocopation and Acronym and Initialism, as I posted on the Talk:Apocopation page. Unless two pages are so similar that there is a lot of redundant information and the concepts are basically similar, I think it is almost always wise, as a general rule, to keep them separate. - Kadin2048 20:59, 10 January 2006 (UTC)

I find it hard to see the point in a merge for similar reasons as above. The article is quite long enough and if a merge with Apocope you'd also want to merge in any articles that may be written on linguistic descriptions like aphesis and syncope. Better to keep separate as a general and specific case Peripitus 12:47, 5 May 2006 (UTC)

Link suggestions[edit]

An automated Wikipedia link suggester has some possible wiki link suggestions for the Abbreviation article, and they have been placed in a handy list for your convenience. — 23:13, 6 January 2006 (UTC)


Please include in the article something about shorthand as a form of abbreviation. -Pgan002 06:07, 26 January 2006 (UTC)

Removed reference to comintern[edit]

I removed the reference to Comintern as an example of a syllabic abbreviation. While it is one, it did not fit into the paragraph: it is neither German, nor from the USSR, nor does it have negative connotations as the following sentence implied. -Pgan002 07:06, 26 January 2006 (UTC)

keep apocope (& etc) separate[edit]

Abbreviation's entry is sufficiently long already. Particular forms of abbreviation (the parent category for all word shortening techniques) like acronyms and apocope (specific mechanims for generating shorter words) warrant their own entries for those wishing greater detail.

On an earlier subject, I'd say leaving somewhat archaic abbreviations in as examples is a very good idea. After all, those are the abbreviations that readers are most likely to need a reference to decipher.

i'm just your average user here, but jeez! this article is way too long for a dictionary term.

get to the point!

In your opinion, what parts of the article (apart from the etc, apocope bits) should be kept seperate? - Ta bu shi da yu 02:58, 13 April 2006 (UTC)

Pronuncitation-based style guides[edit]

Aren’t there style guides recommending periods for “shortings” that are (intended to be) read as letters, and no periods otherwise? If so the article doesn‘t mention those, unless I missed it somehow. Christoph Päper 14:41, 13 April 2006 (UTC)

Syllabic abbreviation[edit]

Is "Syllabic abbreviation" a recognised term in English? I googled it a few months ago and it seems to exist as a bona-fide term in Russian, but the English references were few: there are more now, I suspect due to the Wikipedia effect. There are only 2 hits in google print, one irrelevant and the other Russian. Maybe the section was added by a Russian-speaker? English texts distinguish blends from acronyms. I accept there is a useful distinction between acronyms-consisting-of-the-initial-letter-of-constituent-words and acronyms-consisting-of-the-initial-syllable-of-constituent-words, but if that distinction is not made in practice, the Wikipedia has no business inventing a name for it. There is enough contention on acronym and initialism between the "FBI is an acronym" and "no, FBI is an initialism" without adding yet another term to muddy the waters.jnestorius(talk) 12:56, 2 May 2006 (UTC)

Phoneme abbreviation[edit]

"A doubled letter also appears in abbreviations of some Welsh names": I don't know how common this is, but on occasion this is also the case for other non-phonemic letters (vs. phonemic letter pairs). e.g., Th., Ph. Perhaps this should be restated in more general terms, unless the doubled-letter case is much the more common (this is the part I'm not so clear on). Alai 18:24, 5 May 2006 (UTC)

Plurals and apostrophes again...[edit]

What do the style guides say about the plurals of abbreviations that end in "S"? for example, do I say "I need the MSDSs for Thiamine and Acetic Acid" or "I need the MSDS's for Thiamine and Acetic Acid"? And if the apostrophe is OK (as my eye would like it to be) does that cause any confusion with "I can't read the MSDS's first line"? I don't think so. What do you apostrophe-jocks say?

I'm not an expert [or an "apostrophe-jock"], but I would guess that the posessive would be MSDS', like when any other noun that ends with s is possesive. Looking at the article [as far as the plural goes] it seems like either way would be accepted, and the intent [to me] is clear both ways.Torca 09:33, 26 December 2006 (UTC)
Ancient post, but here goes: The old rule for possessives for any word ending in s was "write ' if it is plural and otherwise write 's"; the only exception was sometimes for historical names such as Pythagoras. That doesn't conflict necessarily with the proposed plural, but generally apostrophes in plurals have been frowned upon. More recently, both of the things I just said don't really seem to matter anymore.-- (talk) 09:19, 19 August 2011 (UTC)


Is "abbreving" a real word? Is it British English only or something? — Omegatron 22:26, 6 November 2006 (UTC)

Oh, I see. Nevermind. I wasn't really reading the article; just noticed it in the edit window. — Omegatron 22:27, 6 November 2006 (UTC)


whereas 5 m.s means 5 metre·second(s)

Is that true? Isn't a middle dot or a space for compound units? — Omegatron 02:25, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

Article Cleanup Co-Ordination Point[edit]

  • Removing Cleanup tagging after seeing recent improvements and being attracted by the auto-tagging BOT above. The article is pretty good from what I see.

       Twould be nice to easily find who attached the {{Cleanup}} {{confusing}} and especially, when! // FrankB 19:41, 12 December 2006 (UTC)

I found this under the "Apostrophes" section:

Although, the proper way to write plurals when using abbreviations with numbers, decades, etc., would be to write them without an apostrophe, e.g. "Dot all your Is and cross all your Ts". This is because the "I" and "T" are not possessive; therefore, they do not need an apostrophe.

This is pretty amusing, since an I doesn't need dotting, while an i does. (The T works either way, I suppose.) However, this is really a digression in this particular article, since i and t are being used in this case as letters, not as abbreviations. I'm going to remove this bit from the article, though I'll leave the bit in the previous paragraph about the differences between apostrophization of abbreviations and that of letters, though, since that is relevant. --ΨΦorg 02:03, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

Question about abbreviations in Asian languages[edit]

Do Asian languages, besides the "syllabic" style abbreviations mentioned in the artilce, also use the "period" style of abbreviations? Is one form or the other considerably more common? --babbage 23:48, 24 July 2007 (UTC)

This article is in the English wikipedia and concerns English only. Ask your question on the Talk page of each Asian language.
Sleigh (talk) 13:57, 29 July 2008 (UTC)

Abbreviation, contraction, name initials[edit]

The article does not discuss the distinction between "abbreviations" proper and "contractions". It is sometimes stated that the difference between, e.g., "St." for Street (with period/full stop) and "St" for Saint (without period/full stop) is that the first is an abbreviation (St[reet]), the second a contraction (S[ain]t). Following this distinction, British English tends to regard shortened forms, when possible, as contractions, US English the same forms as abbreviations.

Name initials are also a form of abbreviation, and are still regularly given with period (though usually without spaces) in both British and US usage: e.g., "J.W. Smith" (not J W Smith, J. W. Smith). Shulgi 10:25, 25 July 2007 (UTC)


Is it on purpose that "S.O.,E", as mentionned in the article, doesn't end with a period ? Palpalpalpal 17:28, 1 December 2007 (UTC)

Abbreviating with a slash mark[edit]

Many abbreviations that consist of two letters are abbreviated by adding a slash in between the letters. Examples:

  • N/A (not applicable)
  • P/O (purchase order)
  • W/C (will-call)
  • I/O (input-output)
  • W/O (without)

How does this factor in with the rest of the article? Should there be an entry for this as well?
Bihlbo (talk) 19:11, 14 April 2008 (UTC)

Periods (full stops) and spaces[edit]

Abbreviations which end with the same letter as the original word are spelt without a period, such as Dr for Doctor. In Australia, which uses British English, this was first taught in either 1973 or 1974. The school syllabus, taught throughout the state, (probably) lags behind official start date of changes to English. What was this spelling change called and when was it introduced to British English? Prior to this spelling change 'Dr' was spelt 'Dr.' Books published prior to this spelling change (in Brtish English), use the old abbreviation spelling which is the same as today's American English.
Sleigh (talk) 13:25, 29 July 2008 (UTC)

Two letter abbreviations[edit]

I know with great certainty that double letter abbreviations are not Welsh. In fact, some English names are (were) commonly abbreviated with two letters, such as Th. for Thomas, Wm for William, etc. Granted, in the second case it is the contraction of the whole name, but you get the point. In languages which do not follow the "sounds" used in English, e.g. Greek, Russian, etc., its quite common to use double letter abbreviations where that sound would be abbreviated as a whole in that language. E.g. Yuri Andropov is often referred to in US sources as Yu. Andropov since "Yu" is written as a single letter in Cyrillic. Same goes for Th in Greek (Theodoros...).

A compromise for the moment would be to eliminate the reference to Welsh and just say that sometimes two letters are used to abbreviate. (talk) 22:20, 26 January 2009 (UTC)

Thanks for the explanation. I didn't read that "double-letter abbreviations are Welsh", rather that "some Welsh names are abbreviated with a double letter". (It's verifiable that, in Welsh dictionaries, 'Ll' is treated as a separate letter from 'L'.) See also, eg, here -- " Ll. An abbreviation of Llywelyn". Can you authoritatively document your personal "great certainty" for removal of the Welsh usage here? It is true, as you state, that other languages also have two-letter given-name abbreviations, or indeed three, as in 'Jno' or 'Jas' (Jonathan or James). But is this genre appropriate for inclusion in a small section named "Miscellaneous and general rules"--or should you consider ceating a new section for 'Personal name initialisms' (if not here, then maybe under Acronym and initialism, Given name) or some such, rather than overworking this section? Cheers Bjenks (talk) 01:29, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

Economist epithet[edit]

I removed the description of The Economist as a newspaper. It calls itself a newspaper, but describing it as such can only cause confusion for American readers, who would invariably call a weekly news periodical on glossy paper a magazine. The Economist is probably at least as well-known as The Guardian, which appears without an epithet above. Gwil (talk) 19:30, 15 July 2009 (UTC)

Introduction is too confusing[edit]

The second paragraph of the introduction is written in such a mindlessly technical and confusing way that it is of very little use to someone trying to find out what the relationship between abbreviations, acronyms, initialisms (etc) are. I know fine well that acronyms are generally regarded as a type of abbreviation, but anyone who didn't know this would be none the wiser after reading the introduction. It's worth keeping in mind that the point in the article is to explain, in a clear and easily understandable manner, the subject, not to write in the most convoluted and ludicrously technical way possible. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:52, 22 October 2009 (UTC)

AIM Abbreviations[edit]

AIM stands for aol instant messager. Here are some of the abbreviations people use on AIM. BRB- be right back ttyl- talk to you later b4- before bii- bye bbl- be back later idk- i don't know idc- i don't care ik- I know ikr- iknow, right?! ( like in shock)

there are many more abbreviations, but these are just a few of the common ones i know. Edwardgirl12 (talk) 22:48, 17 December 2009 (UTC)

Contractions, Suspensions, and Abbreviations[edit]

are not entirely different, though the article uses these words as though they were: "contraction" is contrasted with "abbreviation" (though it is merely a type of abbreviation), and "suspension" isn't even mentioned!

Oughtn't the distinction be pointed out? "Abbreviation" is the general category of shortened words (or phrases); a "suspension" is an abbreviation from which the final letters have been omitted (e.g., "Conn." for "Connecticut"); a "contraction" is an abbreviation which retains its initial and final letters (e.g., "Rev’d" for "Reverend"); an "acronym" employs initial letters of a group of words to create a new word (e.g., "NASA" for -- well, you get it, dear reader!). Without such an explanation, the article is not only incomplete but misleading.

Firstorm (talk) 14:02, 8 February 2010 (UTC)

"Km" Is A Symbol, Not An Abbreviation[edit]

"Km" is shown as an example but "Km" is not an abbreviation, it's a symbol. Or, more precisely, it is the "K" prefix (kilo-) plus the "m" symbol (meter). - Gus (T, C) 2010-06-24 02:19Z

television isn't two words![edit]

"The U.S. media tend to use periods in two-word abbreviations like United States (U.S.), but not ... television (TV)." Television is only one word. (talk) 09:10, 8 July 2010 (UTC)

syllables in India[edit]

I am told that syllabic abbreviation is used (at least to some degree) in India, and I imagine it's known in other places where syllabaries or alphasyllabaries are standard. But I don't know enough to add to the article. —Tamfang (talk) 03:23, 26 April 2011 (UTC)


Does the section on measurement really address the issue? SI uses symbols, not abbreviations because the "shorthand" used is identical in all languages regardless of the "longhand" version of the text. See Kilometres per hour for an example. Do others concur?

If so, I would like to overhaul that section emphasising the difference between a symbol and an abbreviation and point the reader to other artciles for the rules on how to write SI quanities. Martinvl (talk) 07:22, 24 August 2011 (UTC)

context: so what[edit]

Abbreviations can also be used to give a different context to the word itself, such as "PIN Number" (wherein if the abbreviation were removed the context would be invalid).

Meaning that "Number" doesn't mean the same thing as "PIN Number"? Any noun can be used in the same way, so this sentence amounts to: An abbreviation that stands for a noun phrase can be used as a noun.

Unless I've misunderstood it, and it's not trivial (in the mathematical sense), I'll remove it. —Tamfang (talk) 18:48, 23 October 2011 (UTC)


This article suffers from the same problem as Acronym. There are far too few citations. I have moved the refimprove tag to the top of the article, so that its importance is not lost on editors Myrvin (talk) 15:37, 5 November 2014 (UTC)


"Today, spaces are generally not used between single-letter abbreviations of words in the same phrase, so one almost never encounters "U. S."
That seems to be correct, but it is "today". How was it earlier? In older texts one can find abbreviations with spaces (e.g. "O. T." for "Old Testament" and "A. D." for "anno Domini"). So, when did the usage change, and why did it change (maybe because it's shorter)? -19:58, 19 April 2015 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)

External links modified[edit]

Hello fellow Wikipedians,

I have just modified 2 external links on Abbreviation. Please take a moment to review my edit. If you have any questions, or need the bot to ignore the links, or the page altogether, please visit this simple FaQ for additional information. I made the following changes:

When you have finished reviewing my changes, please set the checked parameter below to true or failed to let others know (documentation at {{Sourcecheck}}).

Question? Archived sources still need to be checked

Cheers.—InternetArchiveBot (Report bug) 09:29, 2 October 2016 (UTC)