Top fifteen commonly used Latin abbreviations used in English

15 Commonly Used Latin Abbreviations: What They Mean & How to Correctly Use Them


People use innumerable abbreviations daily, whether in their academic or professional lives. Most of these short terms are used in English, but their origin is not English. Numerous of them have Latin origins. Most people are often aware of their usage but do not know the meaning behind them.

The usage of Latin abbreviations increased enormously to save time while reading and writing in the nineteenth century. In this article, we would dig deeper into 15 commonly used Latin abbreviations, the meaning behind them, and how to correctly use them.

A.D. (Anno Domini)

This term is the opposite of B.C. (Before Christ). It is used to mark the start of the time when Christ was born. The use of A.D. is more common compared to the use of et al. in a sentence

Anno Domini translates as ‘In the year of our Lord.’

In place of the short form, C.E.’ meaning ‘Common Era’ and ‘B.C.E.’ standing for ‘Before Common era’ was introduced for the non-Christian audience.

Though still to this day, history is being divided according to the beginning of the Christ period.

et seq.

et seq. is the abbreviation of the Latinate word ‘et sequens’. Et sequens means ‘and the following one’ or ‘and what follows’, which is a singular form whereas the plural is ‘et sequentes’ used for both masculine and feminine terms.

The neutral of it is sequential. It is used to refer to a particular page of an article, case, code, regulation, and rule. This was the second common Latin and non-English abbreviation

Example

“To learn more about this topic, see page 42, et seq.

Ca/c.

ca. or c. stands for circa which means ‘about’ or ‘around’. It is always followed by a date. Its use in English started in the 1800s.

The origin of ‘circa’ is from the word ‘circum’, which simply means ‘’circle.’’ Later English language adapted it, but its usage was limited.

Example

World War II ended circa 1945”

E.g.

This is one of the most commonly used shortened forms of the Latinate phrase ‘exempli gratia‘, which signifies ‘for example.’

It is used to introduce one or several examples to clarify the statement further.

Example

“Common holidays (e.g. Christmas, Halloween, Easter)”

Cf.

This short form originated from the Latin confer or conferre, which denotes ‘compare.’ It was used in this sense from the 16th century to the 18th century.

These days it is still in use but with a different meaning. Currently, it means ‘to consult’ or ‘take counselling’ or ‘to compare views.’

Example

“For a deeper understanding of the subject, cf. XYZ Vol 2”

Ibid./id.

This shortened form comes from the Latin word ibidem, meaning ‘’in the same place.’’

This refers to that cited quote from the same place as the previous one.

Etc.

It stands for et cetera with the English means ‘’ and others of the same type’’ or ‘’so forth.’’

This abbreviation came into use during the middle ages period. One should use a comma before etc., after the end of the listing in a sentence.

Example

“Snakes, lizards, chameleons, etc. are all reptiles”

Sc.

Here comes one more acronym that is generally used for words like scene, science, and scilicet that represents ‘that is to say.’ Its function is similar to i.e. that is, to further clarify a statement or an example.

Example

“Using many search engines sc. Google & Bing, did help me do my homework with much ease!

N.B.

N.B. has been in use as an abbreviation of the Greek word ‘nota bene’, which expresses ‘note well.’

This indicates to the reader that there is something important to pay attention to. It was first used in English in the 17th century.

i.e.

The short form stands for the Latinate phrase id est, which means ‘’that is’’ or ‘’in other words, it means.’’

It is used to clarify already stated sentences in a simpler, understandable way.

et al.

It is a shortened form of the Latinate phrase et aliae (the feminine form), et alii (the masculine), and et alia (the neuter).

It was introduced to English at the end of the 19th century. It is frequently used in referring to two or more authors.

People use it in varied styles. Sometimes, et al. is shown in the italic form, and al is missed out.

The traditional way of writing is together along with a period. Keep this in mind when it comes to how to use et al. in a sentence; there is no need to use ‘and’ before it. Et al. already means ‘and others’, so using ‘and’ before it is illogical.

q.v.

Here comes another shortened form of the Latin term ‘quod vide’ that translates as ‘which see.’ Its usage started in the 17th century.

It appears to direct the readers to another page where further information related to the current topic will be available.

pp.

p. is one of the most common abbreviations of the word ‘page’ Its plural form is pp. which means ‘pages’ or ‘per person.’ It was a custom of Latinate to double a single letter to turn it into a plural.

Note that it never indicates an ending point. A similar acronym to it is f. or ff. which means ‘and the following one.’

s.v.

The second last acronym is derived from the phrase ‘sub verbo’. The translation of s.v. is ‘under the world.’

It is used when citing a specific term in an encyclopedia, index, or dictionary followed under that specified word.

L.L.B.

L.L.B. Is derived from the term Legum Baccalaureus which translates as ‘Bachelors of Law.’

The L.L. is the plural of singular Latinate Lex or legis, which means law. In some countries, ‘ L.L.’ stands for ‘Legal Letters’; therefore, it is also abbreviated as L.L.B.

Conclusion

These letters, dots, and words are an essential part of the professional life of a writer, teacher, student, doctor, lawyer, etc. Here we conclude our list of the fifteen popular casually used Latin abbreviations that you should know. Although, it isn’t even closer to the entire list. Now, you must have known that all these acronyms have a Latin origin and meaning while also getting insights into how you can use them. We hope that this would help you improve your writing skills so that you don’t have to ask “write an essay for me” very often. Have fun writing!

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