Have you ever wondered what these odd, encrypted medical abbreviations mean on your prescription? Medical terminology is difficult enough, but how do you interpret these prescription directions written in code? But there may be more to know about this shorthand than meets the eye.
United Kingdom[ edit ] Many British publications follow some of these guidelines in abbreviation: For the sake of convenience, many British publications, including the BBC and The Guardianhave completely done away with the use of full stops or periods in all abbreviations.
Ms or Mr though these would usually have not had full stops—see above Capt, Prof, etc. A notable exception is The Economist which writes "Mr F. Scientific units see Measurement below.
Acronyms are often referred to with only the first letter of the abbreviation capitalized. An initialism is similar to acronym but is not pronounced as a word. This is contrary to the SI standard; see below. Miscellaneous and general rules[ edit ] A doubled letter appears in abbreviations of some Welsh names, as in Welsh the double "l" is a separate sound: George" for British prime minister David Lloyd George.
Some titles, such as "Reverend" and "Honourable", are spelt out when preceded by "the", rather than as "Rev. This is true for most British publications, and some in the United States. A repeatedly used abbreviation should be spelt out for identification on its first occurrence in a written or spoken passage.
Measurement shorthand—symbol or abbreviation[ edit ] Road sign in China—"km" is a symbol, not an abbreviation, as it is not a contraction of a Chinese word Writers often use shorthand to denote units of measure.
The shorthand "in" applies to English only—in Afrikaans for example, the shorthand "dm" is used for the equivalent Afrikaans word "duim". A symbol on the other hand, defined as "Mark or character taken as the conventional sign of some object or idea or process"  applies the appropriate shorthand by substitution rather than by contraction.
It is a logogram rather than an abbreviation. In the International System of Units SI manual  the word "symbol" is used consistently to define the shorthand used to represent the various SI units of measure.
The manual also defines the way in which units should be writtenthe principal rules being: No periods should be inserted between letters—for example "m. No periods should follow the symbol unless the syntax of the sentence demands otherwise for example a full stop at the end of a sentence. The singular and plural versions of the symbol are identical—not all languages use the letter "s" to denote a plural.
It is a variant of the acronym. Syllabic abbreviations are usually written using lower casesometimes starting with a capital letterand are always pronounced as words rather than letter by letter.
Syllabic abbreviations should be distinguished from portmanteauswhich combine two words without necessarily taking whole syllables from each. Usage[ edit ] Syllabic abbreviations are not widely used in English. Languages other than English[ edit ] On the other hand, syllabic abbreviations prevailed both in Germany under the Nazis and in the Soviet Union for naming the plethora of new bureaucratic organisations.
For example, Gestapo stands for Geheime Staats-Polizei, or "secret state police". Similarly, Leninist organisations such as the Comintern Communist International and Komsomol Kommunisticheskii Soyuz Molodyozhi, or "Communist youth union" used Russian language syllabic abbreviations.
This has given syllabic abbreviations negative connotations in some countries,[ citation needed ] as in Orwell's Newspeaknotwithstanding that such abbreviations were used in Germany even before the Nazis came to power, e. In the modern Russian language words like Minoborony from Ministerstvo oborony — Ministry of Defence and Minobrnauki from Ministerstvo obrazovaniya i nauki — Ministry of Education and Science are still commonly used.
Syllabic abbreviations were also typical for the German language used in the German Democratic Republice. Stasi for Staatssicherheit "state security", the secret police or Vopo for Volkspolizist "people's policeman".
Other uses are in company or product names such as Aldifrom the name of the founder, Theo Albrecht, and the German word Diskont discount or Haribofrom the name of the founder and the headquarters of the company, Hans Riegl Bonn.The comprehensive list of 32 Writing acronyms and abbreviations by All Acronyms dictionary.
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An abbreviation, simply put, is a shortened form of a word. In writing, abbreviations are useful when you need to squeeze a lot of writing into a small space. You can also use them in place of long or cumbersome phrases to make your sentences easier to read.
Abbreviation: Meaning: 5-HT: 5-hydroxytryptamine (serotonin) abd or ABD: abdomen: AC: codeine (abbreviation used in drug names) AC: acetate (abbreviation used in drug names).