‘L’ is for Latin abbreviations

LetterLLatin is the original Italic language that we associate with Ancient Rome, from which we derive the Romance languages in much of western Mediterranean Europe — Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, French etc. Latin is still alive in our developing language and is used for scientific names for flora and fauna; and incidentally, both the words flora and fauna are from the Latin. Flora was the Roman goddess for flowers while fauna came from Faunus, a woodland deity related to Pan.

A number of common abbreviations and not so common ones come from Latin, and there may be some surprises for you when the original Latin is revealed. Who knew that RIP actually means requiescat in pace for ‘may s/he rest in peace’. Let’s run through a list of these abbreviations:

c. or ca. — circa = ‘about, approximately’ (with dates)

cf. — confer  = ‘compare’

c.v. — curriculum vitae  = ‘profile of [one’s] life’

e.g. — exempli gratia  = ‘by way of an example’

et al. — et alii = ‘and other persons’

et seq(q). — et sequen(te)s  = ‘and the following [page/s]’

etc. — et cetera  = ‘and so forth’

fl. — floruit  = ‘s/he flourished’

i.e. — id est  = ‘that is’

inf. — infra  = ‘below’

inst. — instante  = ‘in the present [month]’

NB — nota bene  = ‘take good note’

pro tem — pro tempore  = ‘for the time being’

prox. — proximo  = ‘in the next [month]’

PS — post scriptum  = ‘[something] written afterwards’

QED — quod erat demonstrandum  = ‘[that was the point] which had to be demonstrated’

q.v. — quod vide  = ‘have a look at that’

sup. — supra  = ‘above’

ult. — ultimo  = in the last [month]’

v. — vide  = ‘see’

v. or vs. — versus  = ‘against’

viz. — videlicet  = ‘namely’

The abbreviations listed are from  The Cambridge Guide to English Usage by Pam Peters.

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