86 Of The Most Common English Abbreviations You Should Know

English abbreviations are shortened words and phrases used to communicate faster. Add them to your vocabulary to sound more like a native speaker.

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By Barney Meekin · February 20, 2024 · 10 minute read

Abbreviations are short forms of words you can use when writing or speaking. They’re a great way to simplify your written and spoken English. Think of them like shortcuts. They keep your messages short and on point, and help you get to the point quicker.

In this article, we’ve got 86 of the most common abbreviations in English.

Types of English abbreviations

There are five types of English abbreviations. Let’s take a look:

  • Acronyms: "NATO" (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) is an example of an acronym. It’s a word made from the first letters of other words, normally the name of an organisation.

  • Initialisms: These are also words made from the first letters of other words. But unlike acronyms, you say each letter separately. For example, "FBI" (Federal Bureau of Investigation) is pronounced as F-B-I. But “NATO” is pronounced as “nay-tow”

  • Contractions. These are short forms of words. You make them by combining words or leaving out letters, and they often need an apostrophe. Common examples include "can't" from "cannot" or "you're" from "you are."

  • Truncations. Also known as shortened forms or clippings. These abbreviations leave out part of a word. For example, "math" for "mathematics” or “Sat” for “Saturday”. In fact, all of the days of the week can be truncated.

  • Symbols and numeronyms. Symbols like “&” or numeronyms (words which include a number) like “B2B” for “business to business.” These are common in texting slang.

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List of abbreviations in English

Here are some abbreviations listed in the table below, that you can use in everyday communication.

Abbreviation Meaning Example sentence
1. Ad advertisement "The new ad campaign launches tomorrow."
2. ASAP as soon as possible "I need those reports ASAP."
3. DIY do it yourself "She loves doing DIY projects on the weekend."
4. ETA estimated time of arrival "What's the ETA for your flight?"
5. FYI for your information "FYI, the meeting has been moved to 3PM."
6. Info information "You can find more info on our site."
7. Lab laboratory "The tests were conducted in the lab."
8. Math mathematics "She’s very good at math."
9. Photo photograph "Could you please take a photo?"
10. RSVP répondez s'il vous plaît (“Please respond” in French) "RSVP to the event by Monday."
11. TBD to be determined "The meeting time is still TBD."
12. TBA to be announced "The date for the concert is TBA."
13. TGIF thank God it's Friday "TGIF! I can't wait for the weekend."

Common abbreviations in English used in texting

Social media, emojis and texting has really changed the way we communicate. New abbreviations are being created all the time. Here are some of the most common English abbrevations.

Abbreviation Meaning Example sentence
14. AMA ask me anything "I'm doing an AMA on Reddit tonight."
15. BFF best friends forever "We've been BFFs since childhood."
16. BRB be right back "BRB, need to grab a snack."
17. BTW by the way "BTW, have you heard about the new restaurant?"
18. DM direct message "Send me a DM with your details."
19. FOMO fear of missing out "I was tired but I went to the party because I had serious FOMO."
20. h/t hat tip (giving someone credit for something) "Big h/t to my team for their hard work."
21. ICYMI in case you missed it "ICYMI: Here's a recap of last night's game."
22. IDK I don't know "IDK what I'm doing this weekend yet."
23. IMO in my opinion "IMO, this is the best game ever."
24. IRL in real life "We should meet IRL sometime."
25. IYKYK if you know, you know (when talking about an inside joke or reference) "That's the place I refuse to go to, IYKYK."
26. LOL laugh out loud "I LOL’d at that meme."
27. NSFW not safe for work "Warning: this link is NSFW."
28. OMG oh my God "OMG, I can't believe that happened!"
29. ROFL rolling on the floor laughing "Your joke had me ROFL."
30. SMH shaking my head "He's late again, SMH."
31. TL;DR too long; didn't read "Here's a TLDR summary."
32. TTYL talk to you later "Got to go now, TTYL!"
33. WTG way to go "You passed your exam? WTG!"
34. YOLO you only live once "I decided to travel because YOLO."

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Common business English abbreviations

Unlock the world of business English abbreviations to understand everything written in your work emails. Want to learn more business vocab. Check out these 45 words for leveling up your business English vocabulary.

Abbreviation Meaning Example sentence
35. B2B business to business "Our company specializes in B2B services."
36. B2C business to consumer "Our new product line is targeted towards B2C markets."
37. CEO chief executive officer "The CEO will address the company at the annual meeting."
38. CFO chief financial officer "The CFO will present the financial report."
39. EOD end of day "I need this task completed by EOD."
40. EOY end of year "We will evaluate the sales performance at EOY."
41. FY fiscal year "The report summarizes the results of FY 2023."
42. HR human resources "HR is handling the recruitment process."
43. KPI key performance indicator "We need to meet our KPIs for the quarter."
44. NDA non-disclosure agreement "All contractors must sign an NDA before working with us."
45. PR public relations "Our PR team is working on improving our brand image."
46. ROI return on investment "We're analyzing the ROI of our marketing campaigns."
47. SEO search engine optimization "Improving SEO is crucial for our online visibility."
48. SME subject matter expert "We need an SME to review this technical document."
49. Stats statistics "We'll analyze the stats before making a decision."
50. YOY year over year "The company reported a 15% YOY growth in revenue."

Common technology English abbreviations

Here are some common abbreviations in English that you might come across in the technology space.

Abbreviation Meaning Example sentence
51. API application programming interface "We're using a new API to improve our app."
52. CSS cascading style sheets "We need to update the CSS to change the website's layout."
53. HTML hypertext markup language "I'm learning HTML to create web pages."
54. HTTP hypertext transfer protocol "HTTP is an important technology for the web."
55. HTTPS hypertext transfer protocol secure "Always check for HTTPS in the URL for secure browsing."
56. IoT internet of things "IoT is going to change our homes in the future."
57. IP internet protocol "Each computer on the network has a unique IP address."
58. SaaS software as a service "Our company uses several SaaS products."
59. URL uniform resource locator "You can access the website using this URL."
60. UX/UI user experience/user interface "A good UX/UI is crucial for the success of an app."
61. VPN virtual private network "Using a VPN can keep you safe online."
62. Wi-Fi wireless fidelity "Connect to the Wi-Fi to access the internet."

Educational and academic English abbreviations

Here is a list of English abbreviations that can help you understand academic English and education. Perhaps you might add some of these to your resume.

Abbreviation Meaning Example sentence
63. ACT American College Testing "Many universities require the ACT for admission."
64. BA Bachelor of Arts "She graduated with a BA in English Literature."
65. BS Bachelor of Science "He earned a BS in Computer Science."
66. CEFR the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages "His language skills are at the B2 level of the CEFR."
67. ESL English as a second language "The school gives free ESL classes to new immigrants."
68. GPA grade point average "She achieved a 4.0 GPA last year."
69. IELTS the International English Language Testing System "She's taking the IELTS exam next month."
70. LMS learning management system "The university is using a new LMS for online courses."
71. MA Master of Arts "He completed his MA in History last year."
72. MOOC massive open online course "I enrolled in a MOOC in digital marketing."
73. MSc Master of Science "She got an MSc in Environmental Studies."
74. PGCE postgraduate certificate in education (in the UK) "She starts her PGCE in the autumn because she wants to be a school teacher."
75. PhD Doctor of Philosophy "She got her PhD in literature last year."
76. PGDip postgraduate diploma "He's studying for a PGDip in Education."
STEM science, technology, engineering, mathematics "STEM fields are a priority at our university."
78. TOEFL Test of English as a Foreign Language "Non-native speakers often need a TOEFL score to get into university."

Medical and scientific English abbreviations

Finally, we have some common English abbreviations that are common in medical and scientific fields.

Abbreviation Meaning Example sentence
79. ADHD attention deficit hyperactivity disorder "The child was diagnosed with ADHD at an early age."
80. AIDS acquired immune deficiency syndrome "The patient is taking medicine for AIDS."
81. BPM beats per minute "Her heart rate was recorded at 80 BPM."
82. DNA deoxyribonucleic acid "DNA analysis revealed the suspect's identity."
83. HIV human immunodeficiency virus "The patient tested positive for HIV."
84. ICU intensive care unit "He's being monitored closely in the ICU."
85. MD Doctor of Medicine "She earned her MD from Harvard Medical School."
86. RNA ribonucleic acid "RNA and DNA are the 2 most important molecules."

Bonus English abbreviations that you’ll see everywhere

English pound abbreviation: GBP, symbolized by the pound sign (£)
Etcetera abbrevation in English: etc
Example abbreviation in English: Eg

English abbreviations: Next steps

English Abbreviations are a fantastic way to communicate more effectively and efficiently. All of the examples above, whether they’re acronyms or truncations, allow you to say more in less time. You’ll hear English abbreviations used daily at school, work or chatting with friends.

Don’t overuse them though. If you only speak in abbreviations, it will be difficult to understand what you’re saying. Use them sparingly when you speak, and as often as you like when texting or chatting on social media.

TL;DR: Use English abbreviations to get your message across quicker. This articles lists 86 common ones!

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