Latin Abbreviations

Latin Abbreviations and Expressions

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Here are two tables of common Latin abbreviations and expressions used by technical communicators.

Common Latin Abbreviations Used In Writing

Latin abbreviations are appropriate in footnotes, bibliographies, and informal writing (e.g., information in parentheses).

In business, formal, and technical writing, use the English equivalent of the abbreviation to avoid misinterpretation by your readers:

Many communication tools can be used to promote the launch of a new store (for example, flyers, press releases, radio announcements, and so on).

Note:  It is best to create content using "plain language" principles. Plain language (also called plain English) is a writing style that is simple and direct, but not simplistic or patronizing. When writing in plain language, use short sentences with simple words. Avoid jargon, acronyms, and abbreviations. Plain language should be visually inviting, logically organized, and understandable on the first reading.

Related Link:
Jargon to avoid in scientific and technical writing

Latin abbreviations defined in Latin and English

Table contents

The first column is a list of abbreviations. The second column shows the full Latin. The third column shows the English version.

Abbreviation Latin English
A.M. ante meridiem before noon
c. or ca circa about; approximately
cf. confer compare
c.v. curriculum vitae curriculum vitae
ead. eadem in the same place; author (female form of ibid.)
e.g. exempli gratia for example; for instance
etc. et cetera and so on; and other people/things
et al. et alii (masculine plural) or et aliae (feminine plural) or et alia (neutral plural) and other people
et seq. et sequens and the following pages
fl. floruit he/she flourished; used to indicate the high point of a person's life or career when his/her dates of birth are unknown
ib, ibid. ibidem in the same place; relates to the immediately prior source. author (male)
i.e. id est that is
loc. cit. loco citato in the place already mentioned; relates to sources before the immediately prior citation
N.B. nota bene note well/carefully
op. cit. opere citato in the work already mentioned; relates to sources before the immediately prior citation [loc. cit. and op. cit. are synonymous, with op. cit. probably more frequent]
p. paper page
P.M. post meridiem after noon
pp. pluta paper pages
p.p. per pro; per procurationem on behalf of; used when someone signs a letter by authority or proxy because another person is not available
pro tem. pro tempore for the time; temporarily
P.S. post scriptum after writing
Q.E.D. quod erat demonstrandum which was to be shown
q.v. quod vide which see; used to cross-refer to material that can be found elsewhere within the same book or piece of writing. q.v. is not synomymous with cf.; the latter cross-refers to external material
sc. or scil. scilicet; scire licet that is to say, namely
sic sic thus, or literally
s.v. sub voce under the word; used in connection with alphabetically arranged reference works
v. versus against
v. vide, imperative of video see; look up
v. voce voice; word
v.g. verbi gratia for example
v. inf. vide infra see below
viz videlicet that is to say, namely [a keynote abbreviation for academic pedants or post-modernists. There is no full stop (signifying an abbreviation), because the "z" is not a letter but a sign of contraction].
vs. versus against
v.v. vice versa the other way round

Commonly Used Latin Expressions

The following table shows Latin expressions that are often used in speaking and writing. Learning what they mean will help your reading comprehension but in your own speaking and writing, it is better to use the English equivalent to be better understood.

Latin expressions presented in Latin with English equivalent

Table contents

The first column is a Latin expression. The second column shows the English version.

Latin Expression English
a fortiori with even stronger reason
a posteriori from effects to causes; reasoning based on past experience
a priori from causes to effects; conclusions drawn from assumptions; from what comes before; deductive reasoning
ab initio from the beginning
ad hoc improvised
ad infinitum never ending
ad lib at will; off the top of the head
bis second (as in V34.bis)
bona fide in good faith
caveat a caution/warning (e.g. caveat emptor
– "let the buyer beware")
curricula vitae the courses of one's life; résumés
curriculum vitae the course of one's life; résumé
de facto from the fact (rather than by right)
de jure from the law
ex officio out of one's duty or office
ex post facto after the fact, retrospectively
infra below
in situ in its original place
in toto in its entirety
inter alia among other things
locus classicus standard or most authoritative source
ipso facto by the fact itself
non sequitur it does not follow
passim here and there; throughout; in several places
per capita per head
prima facie at first sight; on the face of it
pro bono for the public good, at no cost
pro rata in proportion
quid pro quo something in return
scilicet; scire licet that is to say, namely
sic thus used; thus spelt
sine die without a day, with no time fixed
sine qua non without which not, essential precondition
status quo things as they are
stet as it was originally
supra above
vide see
vide supre see above
viva (voce) oral examination

Related Link:
Technical Communication links.

Last modified: December 30, 2015