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Useful Common Latin Abbreviations Used in English

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Abbreviations on Coins and Inscriptions | Academic Abbreviations | Common "English" Latin Abbreviations
Here you'll learn what these Latin-based, mostly common, English abbreviations stand for and how they're used. The first list is alphabetical, but the following definitions are linked thematically, so, for instance, p.m. follows a.m. Many that don't need further notes to compare them with other terms (those unlike the paired p.m. and a.m.) have only their own, separate pages, as you can see if you follow the hyperlink in this alphabetical list:

A.D. | A.M. | B.C. | B.C.E. | CA. | C.N. | E.G.| ET SEQ. | ETC. | FL. | IBID. | I.E. | OP CIT. | P.M. | Q.V. | SC.

The Latin Abbreviation A.D.:

A.D. stands for Anno Domini 'in the year of our Lord' and refers to events after the birth of Christ. It is used as part of a pair with B.C. Here is an example:
  • The standard date given for the fall of Rome is A.D. 476. The start date of Rome is, traditionally, 753 B.C. More politically correct are the terms C.E. for the current era and B.C.E. for the other.
A.D. traditionally precedes the date, but this is changing.

More on A.D.

A.M.:

A.M. stands for ante meridiem and is sometimes abbreviated a.m. or am. A.M. means before noon and refers to morning. It starts just after midnight.

P.M.:

P.M. stands for post meridiem and is sometimes abbreviated p.m. or pm. P.M. means after noon and refers to afternoon and evening. P.M. starts just after noon.

Etc.:

The very familiar Latin abbreviation etc. stands for et cetera 'and the rest' or 'and so forth'. In English, we use the word etcetera or et cetera without necessarily being aware it is actually Latin.

E.G.:

If you want to say 'for example,' you would use 'e.g.' Here is an example:
  • Some of the Julio-Claudian emperors, e.g., Caligula, were said to be insane.
More on i.e. vs e.g.

I.E.:

If you want to say 'that is,' you would use 'i.e.' Here is an example:
  • The last of the Julio-Claudians, i.e., Nero....

In Citations:

Ibid:

Ibid., from ibidem means 'the same' or 'in the same place.' You would use ibid. to refer to the same author and work (e.g., book, html page, or journal article) as the one immediately preceding.

Op. Cit.:

Op. cit. comes from the Latin opus citatum or opere citato 'work cited.' Op. cit. is used when ibid. is inappropriate because the immediately preceding work is not the same. You would only use op. cit. if you have already cited the work in question.

See Larry Trask's References to Published Work for more information, including the recommendation that you turn over to an imperial Chinese torturer anyone who uses these abbreviations.

Et Seq.:

To refer to a certain page or passage and those that follow it, you may find the abbreviation 'et seq.' This abbreviation ends in a period. Here is an example: More on et seq.

Sc.:

The abbreviation sc. or scil. means 'namely'. Wikipedia says it is in the process of being replaced by i.e.

More on sc.

Latin Abbreviations of Comparison q.v. and c.f.:

You would use q.v. if you wanted to make reference to something elsewhere in your paper;
c.f. would be more appropriate for a comparison with an outside work.

More on Latin Abbreviations of Comparison.

C.N.:

Someone on the Classics-L e-mail list asked what c.n. stands for. Another participant answered: c.n. stands for cui nomen - "to whom the name [is], 'named'". It is used for an indeclinable name.

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