20 Common Abbreviations in English

Sometimes we abbreviate names or phrases by referring to them with their initials (the first letters of the words). For example, UN stands for “United Nations.” Some people are even known by their initials, such as JFK for former U.S. President John F. Kennedy, or CFO for a company’s Chief Financial Officer. We usually pronounce these by saying each of their letters separately.

Do you know these common abbreviations in English?

a.k.a = also known as

Ex) Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, a.k.a. Lady Gaga, is one of the biggest pop stars of the 21st century.

BLT = bacon, lettuce, and tomato (sandwich)

Ex) Do you want a tuna sandwich or a BLT?

20 Common Abbreviations in English Espresso English

BS = bullshit (offensive)

Ex) I can’t believe I failed biology. That’s such BS! It’s just because the teacher hates me.

BYOB = bring your own booze (bring your own alcohol to a party/social event)

Ex) The party starts at 8. BYOB.

CEO = Chief Executive Officer (the president of a company or organization)

Ex) The CEO of that company makes a million dollars a year.

DIY = Do-it-yourself

Ex) Pam would rather buy something ready-made than do a DIY project.

ER = Emergency Room (of a hospital)

Ex) After the car accident, the victims were rushed to the ER.

ETA = Estimated time of arrival

Ex) What’s the ETA on the shipment of the new equipment?

FYI = For your information

Ex) FYI, the bank is closed tomorrow because it’s a holiday, so you might want to make your deposit today.

GNP = Gross National Product (the value of all the products and services produced by a country in a year. It is a measure of the size of the country’s economy).

Ex) China currently has the world’s second-largest GDP.

HQ = headquarters (a center of operations or administration)

Ex) The company has offices throughout the country, but its HQ is located in the capital.

HR = Human Resources (the department of a company that is concerned with employee relations, hiring, dismissal, etc.)

Ex) My co-worker was sexually harassing me and I had to complain to HR.

MIA = Missing In Action (used for members of the military who disappear during combat or a mission, and whose status is unknown)

Ex) Five soldiers are MIA after a surprise attack destroyed the military base.

PR = Public Relations (the practice of distributing information to the public and the media)

Ex) The non-profit organization hired a specialist to take care of PR.

RIP = From the Latin phrase requiescat in pace (Rest in Peace) – for someone who has died

20 Common Abbreviations in English Espresso English

RN = Registered Nurse

Ex) After her kids graduated and left home, Joanne went back to school to pursue her dream of becoming an RN.

TBA = To Be Announced

Ex) The conference will be held October 15-19. Location TBA.

TGIF = Thank God It’s Friday

Ex) I’ve worked until 9 PM every day this week. TGIF!

UFO = Unidentified Flying Object (often used to refer to possible alien spaceships)

20 Common Abbreviations in English Espresso English

VIP = Very Important Person

Ex) Tickets to the VIP section of the nightclub cost three times as much.

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20 Common Abbreviations in English Espresso English

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