Do You Know These Common English Abbreviations? 50+ Abbreviation List

Comprehensive list of commonly used abbreviations. Do you know them all?

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In today's fast-paced environment, abbreviations make communicating much easier. They save time, space, and effort. In English, common abbreviations in conversations, emails, and text messages can, however, stump even the most confident speaker– particularly when individual letters merge to form abbreviation groups such as UFO, POS, and CIA. From the abbreviation for miscellaneous to ASAP, abbreviations have become an integral part of our language.

Do You Know These Abbreviations?

Here, we'll be exploring 50+ English abbreviations you'll encounter daily, whether in popular culture, academically, abbreviations at work, or on your mobile phone. By the end, the approximately abbreviation (approx.) will seem like an absolute breeze to grasp. So let's dive in!

What are the Different Types of Abbreviations?

English Acronyms

Acronyms are made by taking the first individual letter of each word in a sentence, like NASA for "National Aeronautics and Space Administration" or ISO for "International Standardization Organization." Acronyms always use capital letters.

  • PIN - Personal Identification Number
  • NATO - The North Atlantic Treaty Organization or the North Atlantic Alliance
  • WHO - World Health Organization
  • ZIP - Zone Improvement Plan (Postal Code)


Another common type of abbreviation is an initialism, where you take the first letter of each word, but each is pronounced letter by letter.

  • FBI - Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • ASAP - as soon as possible
  • ETA - expected time of arrival
  • USA - United States of America
  • UFO - unidentified flying object
  • PTO - paid time off
  • FAQ - frequently asked questions
  • AAL - American Airlines
  • UK - United Kingdom

Shortening Words

Abbreviations can be used to shorten (get rid of) the endings or the beginning of a word. Some are so commonly used that we often forget it comes from a longer word.

  • TV - short for television
  • App - application
  • Rhino - rhinoceros
  • Ad - advertisement
  • Comfy - comfortable
  • Plane - airplane


Contractions are where English speakers remove letters from the middle of a word.

  • Dr. - Doctor
  • St. - Saint
  • Ave. - Avenue
  • Sr. - Senior
  • Jr. - Junior
  • Jan. - January

Abbreviation vs. Acronym

Abbreviations and acronyms are shortened versions of phrases and words, but there are a few key differences between the two.


An abbreviation is a shortened version of any word or phrase; for example, Dr. is an abbreviation for Doctor.


Acronyms, on the other hand, are a type of abbreviation where the initial letters are pronounced aloud as one word; for example, FOMO is the acronym for fear of missing out.

Abbreviation vs. Acronym

It's important to remember that not all English abbreviations are acronyms, but all acronyms are types of abbreviations.

List of English Abbreviations

Abbreviations are very common!  Here is a list of American abbreviations for business, daily life, academia, and common text abbreviations.

Common List of Abbreviations for Daily Life

Our lives are full of shortened words without even realizing it. Whether you're in a work meeting, having a quick chat with a friend, sending an SMS message abbreviation to a friend, or walking out and about–here's a list of common abbreviations to get familiar with.

  • Mr. - Mister
  • Mrs. - Missus
  • RSVP - Répondez S'il Vous Plaît (French for "Please respond")
  • FAQ - frequently asked question
  • Approx. - approximately
  • FYI - for your information
  • Apt. - apartment
  • D.I.Y - do it yourself
  • Est. - established
  • ASAP - as soon as possible
  • TBD - to be determined
  • Dept. - department
  • B.Y.O.B - bring your own bottle/beverage/booze
  • No. - number
  • Vs. - versus
  • Temp. - temporary or temperature
  • Min. - minimum or minute
  • BTS - behind the scenes
  • FTW - for the win
  • T&C - terms and conditions

Common Country Abbreviations & Organizations

Country abbreviations are widely used to represent the names of different countries worldwide- useful for standardizing. Here is a small sample of two-letter common country abbreviations from the ISO 3166 Alpha 2 standard, as well as common codes for worldwide organizations.

  • ES - Spain
  • FR - France
  • GB - United Kingdom
  • CN - China
  • UA - Ukraine
  • RU - Russia or Russian Federation
  • CA - Canada
  • US or USA - United States or United States of America
  • AE - United Arab Emirates
  • UN - United Nations or United Nations Office 
  • EU - European Union
  • HHS - United States Department of Health and Human Service

Abbreviations for Academia

Some of the most commonly used academic abbreviations are connected to the degree level or type of study, including degree abbreviations that are said aloud using individual letters.

  • BA - Bachelor of Arts
  • BS - Bachelor of Science
  • MA - Master of Arts
  • MS - Master of Science
  • Ph.D., MPhil, or PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
  • MFA - Master of Fine Arts
  • JD - Juris Doctor (law degree)
  • MD - Doctor of Medicine
  • DDS - Doctor of Dental Surgery
  • EdD - Doctor of Education
  • MBA - Master of Business Administration
  • DPT - Doctor of Physical Therapy
  • PharmD - Doctor of Pharmacy
  • MSW - Master of Social Work
  • M. Phil or MPhil - Master of Philosophy
  • Res. - doctors training to become specialists (resident)

Understanding Abbreviations for Work

Need help understanding business abbreviations or your boss when he tells you he just hired a new CMO or CFO?

  • CMO - Chief Marketing Officer
  • CFO - Chief Financial Officer
  • COO - Chief Operations Officer
  • Inc. - incorporated
  • CTR - click-through rate
  • PA - personal assistant
  • Acct. - account or accounting
  • Asst. - assistant
  • CEO - Chief Executive Officer
  • KPI - key performance indicator
  • FY - fiscal year
  • ROI - return on investment
  • HR - human resources
  • CTA - call to action
  • Corp. - corporation
  • SOP - standard operating procedure
  • EOD - end of day
  • OOO, OoO, OOTO - out of office
  • WIP - work in progress

Abbreviation for Miscellaneous

Looking for the abbreviation for miscellaneous? It's misc. And it refers to random things or items that can't be easily classified into a collective category or group. An example would be that box of assorted items you "promised" to sort out three years ago. With that in mind, here is a list of misc. Abbreviations.

  • AM - ante meridiem
  • PM - post meridiem
  • BC - before Christ
  • AD - after Christ
  • GMT - Greenwich Mean Time
  • UTC - Universal Time Coordination or Coordinated Universal Time
  • CET - Central European Time
  • PST - Pacific Standard Time
  • EST - Eastern Standard Time
  • P.S. - postscript (comes from Latin postscriptum)
  • E.g., for example
  • I.e., that is
  • Ibid. - ibīdem meaning “in the same place”
  • Cf. - compare
  • N.b or NB - note well from the Latin “nota bene”
  • pt - a pint of something like milk, cream, etc.
  • tsp or t - teaspoon
  • C - cups (cooking)
  • Tbsp - tablespoon
  • lb - pound
  • Pkg - package
  • AHA - alpha hydroxy acid

Social Media Abbreviations You Have to Know

No one has time to fully write out anything anymore, so with technology comes a new wave of common texting abbreviations we've fully embraced into our daily lives, often without realizing it. Here is a list of texts, chats, and social media that you can use online. Most of the following abbreviations are pronounced as individual letters.

  • LMK - let me know
  • WFH - work from home
  • WTH - what the hell
  • YW - you’re welcome
  • Sry - sorry
  • FYI - for your information
  • Jk - just kidding
  • TMI - too much information
  • OMG - oh my god
  • TBH - to be honest
  • ofc - of course
  • IG - Instagram
  • FB - Facebook
  • TW - Twitter
  • LI - Linkedin
  • DM - direct message
  • YT - Youtube
  • BTS - behind the scenes
  • FTW - for the win
  • QOTD - quote of the day
  • TIL - today, I learned


Got a question? See if we've answered it here.

What's the abbreviation for miscellaneous?

What is the abbreviation for approximately?

Is LOL an acronym or abbreviation?

What does, "i.e.," stand for, and how do I use it in a sentence?

What is the difference between "e.g.," and "i.e.,"?

Looking for more lists of abbreviations or acronyms? Dive into the links below, where we've got a comprehensive list of abbreviations for all the American states and much more!