This is a list of common Latin abbreviations. Nearly all the abbreviations below have been adopted by Modern English. However, with some exceptions (for example, versus or modus operandi), most of the Latin referent words and phrases are perceived as foreign 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 learnèd language.
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|
|AD||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).
It is also widely used as an abbreviation for "see", although some styles recommend against such use.
|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 being 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., cv 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, vitae is genitive from "vita", i.e. "of life", 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||"the same (woman)"||see id. below.|
|et al.||et alii
|"and others", "and co-workers".
"and other things"
"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 caetera||"and the others", "and other things", "and the rest".||Other archaic abbreviations include "&c.", "&/c.", "&e.", "&ct.", and "&ca."
Example: I need to go to the store and buy some pie, milk, cheese, etc.
Because cetera implies inanimate objects, et al. is preferred when speaking of people.
|e.g.||exempli gratia||"for example", "for instance".||Introduces an example (as opposed to an explanation): The shipping company instituted a surcharge on any items weighing over a ton; e.g., a car or truck.|
|fl.||floruit||"flourished"||Followed by the dates during which the person, usually famous, was active and productive in his/her profession. Typically used when the person's dates of birth and death are unknown.|
|folio/foliis||"and following"||This abbreviation is used in citations to indicate an unspecified number of pages following the specified page. 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".||Introduces an explanation (as opposed to an example): For reasons not fully understood there is only a minor PSI contribution to the variable fluorescence emission of chloroplasts (Dau, 1994 ), i.e., the PSI fluorescence appears to be independent from the state of its reaction centre (Butler, 1978 ).|
|J.D.||Juris Doctor||"doctor of law".|
|libra||"scales"||Used to indicate the pound (mass).|
|LL.B. or Ll.B.||Legum Baccalaureus||"bachelor of laws"||The "LL." of the abbreviation for the degree is from the genitive plural legum (singular: lex or legis, for 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||"in 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" in American English.|
|Ph.D.||Philosophiae 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 24-hour 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||"before a thing is born"||"As used in standard medical jargon, PRN is understood to mean 'as needed'. This reading of the abbreviation implies that the delivery of the prescription (by a suitable person, following medications protocol) is done in a reactive, passive way. eg WHEN THAT HAPPENS, DO THIS. A more literal translation of the Latin is 'before a thing is born', which is an instruction to act pro-actively: eg BEFORE THAT HAPPENS, DO THIS . A prn medication delivery therefore properly done when a medic JUDGES that it should be done, in order to prevent a specified problem from occurring. Oversimplifying, a patient's breakfast could be written as a prn prescription: give this breakfast to that patient, to prevent that patient from experiencing hunger.||Used in prescriptions|
|pro tem.||pro tempore||"for the time being", "temporarily", "in place of"|||
|P.S.||post scriptum||"after what has been written"||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!
|P.P.S.||post post scriptum||Used to indicate additions after a postscript. Sometimes extended to comical length with P.P.P.S., P.P.P.P.S., and so on.|
|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 vide||"which see"||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 vide (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 that it is short for 'regarding', especially if it is followed by a colon (i.e., "Re:").|
|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
requiescant in pace
|"may he/she rest in peace"
"may they rest in peace"
|Used as a short prayer for a dead person, frequently found on tombstones. Some people believe that it stands for rest in peace.|
Example: R.I.P., good grandmother.
|s.a.||sensu amplo||"in a relaxed, generous (or 'ample') sense"|
|s.l.||sensu lato||"in the wide or broad sense"||Example: New Age s.l. has a strong American flavor influenced by Californian counterculture.|
|s.s.||sensu stricto||"in the strict sense"||Example: New Age s.s. refers to a spectrum of alternative communities in Europe and the United States in the 1970s.|
|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 the mistake was in the original work and is not a misquote. Sic is often (mis)used as a sign of surprise, incredulity, or maliciously to draw attention to an author's mistake.|
|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.
Words and abbreviations that have been in general use, but are currently used less often: