Abbreviation, the curtailment of a word by omitting some of the letters; abbreviations were very largely employed by the Jewish Rabbis, in ancient inscriptions, in Greek and Roman MSS., and by the mediaeval copyists. Their decipherment and interpretation requires special study and training. In the following list only abbreviations in common use in England at the present day are given, such obvious contractions as Rev. for Reverend, adj. for adjective, Feb. for February, N. for North, etc., being omitted.
A.B. - Able-bodied seaman. Bachelor of Arts (Artium Baccalaureus).
A.C. - Before Christ (Ante Christum). aec, a/c, or aect. - Account.
A.D. - In the Year of Our Lord (Anno Domini).
A.D. C. - Aide-de-camp.
Ad. lib. - At pleasure (ad libitum).
AEt. or AEtat. - In the year of his, or her, age (cetatis anno).
A.H. - In the Year of the Hegira, 622 A.D. (Anno Hegirie).
A.M. - In the Year of the World (Anno Mundi). Before noon (antemeridian). Master of Arts (Artuum Magister).
Anon. - Anonymous.
A.R.A. - Associate of the Royal Academy.
A.R.H.A. - Associate of the Royal Hibernian Academy.
A.R.S.A. - Associate of the Royal Scottish Academy.
A.S. - Anglo-Saxon.
A.U.C. - From the founding of Rome (ab urbe condita).
A.V. - Artillery Volunteers. Authorised Version.
A 1. - First class of ships.
B. A. - Bachelor of Arts. Bart, or Bt. - Baronet.
B.C. - Before Christ.
B.C.L. - Bachelor of Civil Laws.
B.D. - Bachelor of Divinity.
B/L.-Bill of Lading.
B.L. - Bachelor of Laws.
B.M. - British Museum.
B.P. - British Pharmacopoeia. Boiling point.
B.Sc. - Bachelor of Science.
B.V.M. - Blessed Virgin Mary.
C. - Centigrade. Celsus.
C.A. - Chartered Accountant.
Cantab. - Of Cambridge (Cantabrigiensis).
Cantuar. - Of Canterbury (Cantuarensis).
C.B. - Companion of the Bath.
C.C. - County Councillor.
C.C.C. - Corpus Christi College.
C.E. - Civil Engineer.
Cent. - Hundred.
Cf. - Compare (confer).
C.I.E. - Companion of Order of Indian Empire.
C.I. - Order of the Crown of India.
C.M. and Ch.M. - Master in Surgery.
C.M.G. - Companion of St. Michael and St. George.
C.M.S. - Church Missionary Society.
e/o. - Care of.
Co. - Company. County.
Cr. - Creditor.
C.S.I. - Companion of the Star of India.
Cwt. - Hundred weight.
D.C - From the beginning (da capo).
D.C.L. - Doctor of Civil Law.
D.D. - Doctor of Divinity.
Delt. - Drew (delineavit).
D.G. - By the grace of God (Dei gratia).
D.L. - Deputy Lieutenant.
D.Lit. - Doctor of Literature.
Do. - Ditto, the same.
Dr. - Doctor. Debtor.
dr. - Drachm, or dram.
D.Se. - Doctor of Science.
D.V. - God willing (Deo volente).
Dwt. - Pennyweight.
Ebor. - York (Eboracensis).
E.C - Established Church.
e.g. - For example (exempli gratia).
etc., or & or 4c. - And the rest, so forth (et coetera).
Ex. - Example.
F. or Fahr. - Fahrenheit
f. - Franc.
F.B.S. - Fellow of the Botanical Society.
F.C. - Free Church (of Scotland).
F.C.A. - Fellow of Institute of Chartered Accountants.
F.C.P. - Fellow of the College of Preceptors.
F.C.S. - Fellow of the Chemical Society.
F.D. - Defender of the Faith (fidei defensor).
Fee - He, or she, made or did it (fecit).
F.E.I.S. - Fellow of the Educational Institute of Scotland.
F.F.A. - Fellow of the Faculty of Actuaries (Scotland).
F.F.P.S. - Fellow of the Facility of Physicians and Surgeons (Glasgow).
F.G.S. - Fellow of the Geological Society.
F.K.Q.C.P.I. -Fellow of the King's and Queen's College of Physicians in Ireland.
F.L.S. - Fellow of the Linnaeau Society.
F.M. - Field Marshal.
F.O. - Field Officer. Foreign Office.
F.O.B., or f.o.b. - Free on board.
F.P. - Fire-plug.
F.P.S. - Fellow of the Philological Society.
F.R.A.S. - Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society; or Asiatic Society.
F.R.C.P. - Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians.
F.R.C.S. - Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons.
F.R.C.S.E. - Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh.
F.R.G.S. - Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.
F.R.I.B. A. - Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects.
F.R.S. - Fellow of the Royal Society.
F.R.S.E. - Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.
F.R.S.S. - Fellow of the Royal Statistical Society.
F.S.A. - Fellow of the Society of Antiquarians; or of Arts.
F.Z.S. - Fellow of the Zoological Society.
G.C.B. - Grand Cross of the Bath.
G.C.M.G. - Grand Cross of St, Michael and St. George,
G.C.S.I. - Grand Cross of the Star of India.
G.P.O. - General Post Office.
H.B.M. - Her Britannic Majesty.
H.E.I.C.S. - Hon. East India Co.'s Service.
H.I.H. - His, or Her, Imperial Highness.
H.M.S. - Her Majesty's Ship.
Hon. or Honble. - Honourable.
H.P. - Horse Power.
H.R.H. - His, or Her, Royal Highness.
H.S.H. - His, or Her, Serene Highness.
lb. or Ibid. - In the same place (ibidem).
Id. - The same (idem).
i.e. - That is (id est)
I.H.S. - Jesus Saviour of Man (Jesus Hominum Salvator).
Incog. - Unknown (incognito).
Inf. - Below (infra).
Inst. - The present month (instant).
Inv. - Designed (invenit).
I.O.U. - I owe you.
Jr. jnr. - Junior.
J.P. - Justice of the Peace.
K.C.B. - Knight Commander of the Bath.
K.C.M.G. - Knight Commander of St. Michael and St. George.
K.C.S.I. - Knight Commander of the Star of India.
K.G. - Knight of the Garter.
kilo. - Kilometre, Kilogramme.
K.M. - Knight of Malta.
K.P. - Knight of St Patrick.
K.T. - Knight of the Thistle.
£ or l. - Pound (sterling).
L. or lib. - Book (liber).
L. A. - Licentiate in Arts.
lat - Latitude.
lb. - Pound (weight).
L.C.J. - Lord Chief Justice.
L.D.S. - Licentiate in Dental Surgery.
Lit. D. - Doctor of Literature.
L.L.A. - Lady Licentiate in Arts.
LL.B. - Bachelor of Laws (Legum Baccalaureus).
LL.D. - Doctor of Laws (Legum Doctor).
LL.M. - Master of Laws (Legum Magister).
log. - Logarithm.
long. - Longitude.
loq. - Speaks (loquitur).
L.R.C.P. - Licentiate of the Royal College of Physicians.
L.R.C.P.E. - Licentiate of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh.
L.R.C.S. - Licentiate of the Royal College of Surgeons.
L.S. - The place of the seal (loco sigilli).
L.S.A. - Licentiate of the Society of Apothecaries.
L.S.D. - Pounds, shillings, and pence (librae, solidi, denarii).
LXX. - Septuagint Version (70).
M. A. - Master of Arts.
M.B. - Bachelor of Medicine (Medicinal Baccalaureus).
M.C. - Master of the Ceremonies.
M.C.C. - Marylebone Cricket Club.
M.D. - Doctor of Medicine (Medicinae Doctor).
Mem. - Remember (memento).
M.F. H. - Master of Foxhounds.
M.I.C.E. - Member of the Institute of Civil Engineers.
M.P. - Member of Parliament.
M.P.S. - Member of the Philological Society; or Pharmaceutical Society.
M.R.A.S. - Member of the Royal Academy of Sciences; or Asiatic Societv.
M.R.C.P.-Member of the Royal College of Physicians.
M.R.C.S. - Member of the Royal College of Surgeons.
M.R.C.V.S. - Member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.
M.R.I. - Member of the Royal Institute.
M.R.I.A. - Member of the Royal Irish Academy.
MS. - Manuscript. MSS. Manuscripts.
Mus. B. - Bachelor of Music
Mus. Doc - Doctor of Music.
N.B. - North Britain. Mark well (nota bene).
Nem. con. - No one contradicting (nemine contradicente).
No. - Number (numero).
N.S. - New Style.
N.S.W. - New South Wales.
N.T. - New Testament.
Ob. - Died (obiit).
O.H.M.S. - On Her Majesty's Service.
%. - Percent.
O.S. - Old style.
O.T. - Old Testament.
Oxon. - Of Oxford (Oxoniensis).
oz. - Ounces.
p. - Page, pp. - pages.
P. and 0. - Peninsular and Oriental Company.
P.C. - Privy Councillor. Police Constable.
Per. - For.
Per ann. - By the year (per annum).
Per cent. - By the hundred (per centum).
Pinx. - Painted (pinxit).
P.M. - Afternoon (post meridiem).
P.M.G. - Post-Master General.
P.O. - Post Office.
P.O.O. - Post Office Order.
P.P. - Parish Priest
P.P.C. - To take leave (pour prendre conge).
P.P.S. - Postscript additional.
P.R Prize Ring.
P.R.A. - President of the Royal Academy
P.R.B. - Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.
P.R.I.B.A. - President of the Royal Institution of British Architects.
Prox. - Next month (proximo mense).
P.R.S. - President of the Royal Society.
P.S. - Postscript.
p.t. or pro tem. - For the time (pro tempore).
P.T.O. - Please turn over.
Q., Qu. or Qy. - Query, question.
Q.C. - Queen's Counsel.
Q.E.D. - Which was to be proved (quod erat demonstrandum).
Q.E.F. - Which was to be done (quod erat faciendum).
Q.M.G. - Quartermaster-General.
Q.s. or quant, suff. - As much as is sufficient (quantum sufficit).
q.v. - Which see (quod vide).
R. - Reaumur. Rex, regina, king or queen.
R. or R. - Take (recipe).
R.A. - Royal Academician. Royal Artillery.
R. A .M. - Royal Academy of Music.
R.C.P. - Royal College of Preceptors.
R.E. - Royal Engineers.
R.H.A. - Royal Horse Artillery. Royal Hibernian Academician.
R.H.G. - Royal Horse Guards.
R.I.P. - May he, or she, rest in peace (requiescat in pace).
R.M. - Royal Marines. Royal Mail.
R.M.A. - Royal Marine Artillery.
R.M.S. - Royal Mail Steamer.
R.N. - Royal Navy.
Rs. - Rupees.
R.S.A. - Royal Scottish Academician.
R.S.E. - Royal Society of Edinburgh.
R.S.L. - Royal Society of London; or Literature.
R.S.M. - Royal School of Mines.
R.S.V.P. - Please reply (repondez s'il vous plait).
R.T.S.-Religious Tract Society.
R.V. - Revised Version of the Bible. Royal Volunteers.
S. or St. - Saint. SS. Saints.
Sc - Engraved (sculpsit).
sc - Namely, that is to say (scilicet).
Sc.D. - Doctor of Science.
Seq. or sq. seqq. or sqq. - The following (sequens, sequentia).
S.G. - Specific gravity.
S.J. - Society of Jesus (Order of the Jesuits).
S.P.C.K. - Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge.
S.P.Q.K - The Roman senate and people (senatus populusque Romanus).
sq. - Square.
Sup. - Above (supra).
s.v. - Under such a head (sub voce).
U.K. - United Kingdom.
Ult - Last month (ultimo mense).
U.P. - United Presbyterian.
U.S. - United States.
v. - Against (versus).
v. or vid. - See (vide).
V.A. - Order of Victoria and Albert
V.C. - Victoria Cross. Vice-chancellor.
viz. - Namely (videlicet)
V.R. - Victoria the Queen (Victoria Regina).
V.R.I. - Victoria Queen and Empress (Regina et Imperatrix).
V.S. - Veterinary Surgeon.
W.S. - Writer to the Signet
Xmas. - Christmas.
Xtian. - Christian.
Yr. - Younger. Year.
$ - Dollars.
4to. - Quarto.
Svo. - Octjivo.
12mo. - Duodecimo.