Learn the Spanish Abbreviations You Should Know

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Erichsen, Gerald. "Learn the Spanish Abbreviations You Should Know." ThoughtCo, Aug. 7, 2017, thoughtco.com/spanish-abbreviations-3080289. Erichsen, Gerald. (2017, August 7). Learn the Spanish Abbreviations You Should Know. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/spanish-abbreviations-3080289 Erichsen, Gerald. "Learn the Spanish Abbreviations You Should Know." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/spanish-abbreviations-3080289 (accessed October 18, 2017).
vegetable prices showing Spanish abbreviations.
Abbreviations are used to specify the price of vegetables. Nacho/Creative Commons.

Spanish has dozens of abbreviations, and they're common in both formal and informal writing.

Differences Between Abbreviations in English and Spanish

Unlike in English, where most abbreviations are capitalized, many Spanish abbreviations are not. Generally, abbreviations that are capitalized are personal titles (such as Sr. and Dr., even though the words themselves are not capitalized when spelled out) and those derived from proper nouns.

But there are exceptions.

Note also that, as in English, some abbreviations are used with or without periods varying with the style of writer or publication. The points of the compass usually aren't abbreviated in running text.

List of Spanish Abbreviations

Here are the most common Spanish abbreviations. This list is far from complete, as Spanish has hundreds of abbreviations. Among those not listed here are those that are common in only one country, including acronyms for government agencies such as JUJEM for Junta de Jefes del Estado Mayor, the Spanish Joint Chiefs of Staff.

This list shows the Spanish abbreviation in boldface, the Spanish meaning and the corresponding English abbreviation or translation.

  • A/Aa la atención — to the attention
  • a.C., a. de C., a.J.C., a. de J.C.antes de Cristo, antes de Jesucristo — B.C. (before Christ), BCE (before Common Era)
  • a. m.antes del mediodía — a.m. (before noon)
  • apdo.apartado postal — P.O. Box
  • aprox.aproximadamente — approximately
  • Av., Avda.avenida — Ave. (avenue, in addresses)
  • Bs. As.Buenos Aires — Buenos Aires
  • cap.ocapítulo — chapter
  • c.c.centímetros cúbicos — c.c. (cubic centimeters)
  • Cíacompañía — Co. (company)
  • cmcentímetros — cm. (centimeters)
  • c/ucada uno — apiece
  • D.don — Sir
  • Da.doña — Madam
  • d.C., d. de C., d.J.C., d. de J.C.después de Cristo, después de Jesucristo — A.D. (anno domini), CE (Common Era)
  • dna.docena — dozen
  • Dr., Dra.doctor, doctora — Dr.
  • Eeste (punto cardinal) — E (east)
  • EE. UU.Estados Unidos — U.S.
  • esq.esquina — street corner
  • etc.etcétera — etc.
  • f.c., F.C.ferrocarril — R.R. (railroad)
  • FF. AA.fuerzas armadas — armed forces
  • Gob.gobierno — Gov.
  • Gral.general — Gen. (military title)
  • h.hora — hour
  • Ing.ingeniero — engineer
  • kgkilogramos — kg (kilograms)
  • km/hkilómetros por hora — kilometers per hour
  • llitros — liters
  • Lic.licenciado — attorney
  • mmetros — meters
  • mmmilímetros — millimeters
  • m.n.moneda nacional — sometimes used to distinguish the national currency from others, especially in areas used by foreign tourists
  • ms.manuscrito — manuscript
  • Nnorte — N (north)
  • no., núm.número — No. (number)
  • Ooeste — W (west)
  • OEAOrganización de Estados Americanos — OAS (Organization of American States)
  • ONUOrganización de Naciones Unidas — UN (United Nations)
  • OTANLa Organización del Tratado Atlántico Norte — NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization)
  • pág.página — page
  • P.D.postdata — P.S.
  • Pdte., Pdta.presidente (masculine), presidenta (feminine) — president
  • p.ej.por ejemplo — e.g. (for example)
  • p. m.post meridien — p.m. (after noon)
  • Prof, Profa.profesor, profesora — Professor
  • q.e.p.d.que en paz descanse — R.I.P. (rest in peace)
  • Ssur — S (south)
  • S.A.Sociedad Anónima — Inc.
  • S.L.Sociedad Limitada — Ltd.
  • Sr.señor — Mr.
  • Sra.señora — Mrs., Ms.
  • Srta.señorita — Miss, Ms.
  • s.s.s.su seguro servidor — your faithful servant (used as a closing in correspondence)
  • tel.teléfono — telephone
  • Ud., Vd., Uds., Vds.usted, ustedesyou
  • v.véase — go see
  • vol.volumen — vol. (volume)
  • W.C.water closet — bathroom, toilet

Abbreviations for Ordinal Numbers

Just as in English we might use a spelling such as "5th" for "fifth," Spanish speakers often abbreviate ordinal numbers using the numerals themselves.

A big difference in Spanish is that the abbreviations vary with gender.

For example, octavo (eighth) is written as 8o if it's masculine and 8a if it's feminine. Such forms aren't common for numbers above 10. Note that in masculine forms a superscripted zero is used rather than a degree symbol.