The 37 Most Common English Acronyms & Abbreviations

Acronyms and abbreviations are such a huge part of the language, but sometimes we forget how important they are.

Today we’re going to take you on a tour of the 37 most common English acronyms and abbreviations that every English learner should know.

Click to Speak English FREE w/ people from around the world

Transcript From Video

Hey RealLifers, what’s going on?

Today I have a special lesson for you, on abbreviations and acronyms, so stay tuned.

Aww yeah. Well, we have a special lesson today on abbreviations andacronyms in English, so, let me share with you 37 of these.

So, the first one, ASAP – As Soon as Possible.

FYI

FYI – For Your Information

RSVP

RSVP – this is a French word, most native English speakers don’t know what this means in French, but we use it for… to reserve, make a reservation for a party, so, to respond. It means Répondez S’il Vous Plaît.

ETA

ETA means Estimated Time of Arrival

AKA

AKA means Also Known As

FAQ

FAQ means Frequently Asked Questions

ATM

ATM means Automated Teller Machine, but also At the Moment, which is more like Internet speech, or text.

TBA

TBA – To Be Announced

TGIF

TGIF – Thank God it’s Friday

RIP

RIP, what you see on graves at the cemetery is Rest in Peace

P.S.

PS, what you write at the end of letters, Post Script [English. In Latin: Post Scriptum]

ESL & EFL

ESL, like when you see it with English, English as a Second Language

EFL – English as a Foreign Language

DIY

DIY – Do it Yourself. Like a project that you might do it yourself, without professional help.

ID

ID. It means your Identification. This is what you present when you go to a bar, if you look like you’re underaged.

IQ

IQ is your Intelligence Quotient, which is what a lot of intelligence tests will measure.

GMO

GMO means Genetically Modified Organism, so make sure you don’t eat GMO’s.

PC

PC – Personal Computer

PR

PR – Public Relations

SOS

SOS, what you might see if you’re stranded or stuck on a desert island, you might write in the sand SOS – Save Our Souls. This is to get help. (Note: also, this may also mean “Save Our Ship”).

AWOL

AWOL means Absent Without Leave. Leave is to have permission to leave, to be on vacation. So, this comes from the military. You might say this when you have a friend or somebody that’s missing, so that person is AWOL.

MIA

Another way to say the same thing is MIA – Missing in Action.

POW

POW, another military term, is Prisoner of War.

AD & BC

So, now some historical terms.

So, AD, which means past the year 0, like, we’re in 2014 AD. AD means Anno Domini, which is a Latin word.\

CE & BCE

BC is Before Christ. But nowadays they’re using CE for the modern era, so, we’re in 2014 CE, which is AD, which is secular, not really attached to religion. *Correction- CE and BCE mean Common Era and Before Common Era.

And then BCE is Before Common Existence, it’s the same as BC.

i.e.

So, sometimes when you’re writing, or you’re reading, you might see IE, which means in other words. So, in Latin, I’m not going to try to pronounce this, but here it is on the screen.

e.g.

And EG, which means for example, and here it is in Latin. So, you might use those in writing, and you might recognize this when you’re reading something.

DOB

So, DOB means Date of Birth. You might see this on an application.

OCD

OCD means Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, so it’s a mental disorder.

MD

MD means Medical Doctor.

HR

HR means Human Resources, and DOA means Dead on Arrival. You might hear this in like a police show or something.

So, to finish, I’m going to give you 3 colloquial ones, which I think are pretty interesting, but they’re a little bit more relaxed than the other ones.

BYOB

So, the first one is BYOB. You might see this on an invitation to a party. This means Bring Your Own Beer. Bring Your Own Beer or Bring Your Own Booze, which is another word for alcohol.

OG

OG, which means Original Gangster, or…

SOL

And the final one is SOL, which means Shit Out of Luck. Shit Out of Luck. It means that you are out of luck and you have no chance.

So, those are 37 abbreviations and acronyms for you today. I hope it’s been helpful today.

Make sure you subscribe to out YouTube channel, and check out RealLifeGlobal.com for all that we have there.

Thank you very much.

18 Comments

  1. Mark Robert Baraquiel Lavin on June 3, 2014 at 1:27 pm

    what is the meaning of A.M. and P.M. we used it for greetings.. good am and good pm..

  2. Daniel Van Nostrum on March 19, 2015 at 12:43 am

    Most of these are initialisms, not acronyms.

    http://www.dailywritingtips.com/initialisms-and-acronyms/

    The more you know!

  3. Jagjeev Parmar on May 22, 2015 at 12:43 pm

    twhatever……….. helped me!;-)

  4. Jim M. on January 27, 2016 at 1:28 pm

    I had always understood “S.O.S.” to stand for “Save Our Ship,” in Morse Code.

  5. Jim M. on January 27, 2016 at 1:48 pm

    I suppose it would also be appropriate to distinguish more fully between acronyms and initialisms. An acronym is pronounced (and written, sometimes without periods between the letters) as if it was a single word, such as “NATO” (for North Atlantic Treaty Organization”) and “Radar” (for “RAdio Detecting And Ranging”), versus an initialism, the individual letters of which are pronounced as separate syllables, such as C.I.A. (for “Central Intelligence Agency”) and “F.B.I, (for “Federal Bureau of Investigation”).

    But this distinction is often lost in more common parlance today, so that the term “acronym” is also used for an “initialism.”

    • Justin Murray on May 10, 2016 at 2:37 pm

      Hey Jim, I didn’t know that, but that’s definitely noteworthy. Thanks for reading and sharing your knowledge!

  6. G0VB on May 10, 2016 at 10:34 am

    I’ve always understood “BCE” to be “Before Common Era”, not “Before Common Existence”. The latter would seem to be more existentialist in meaning — rather than simply applying to time as measured by a calendar.

    • Justin Murray on May 10, 2016 at 2:29 pm

      Hey there GOVB you’re absolutely right! Thanks for letting us know!

      • Louise on September 27, 2016 at 6:28 am

        Hi – I’ve actually always understood, and been taught at school, that BCE stands before ‘Before Christian Era’ – still a shift towards secularity, but as the start of this time period is inextricably linked with ‘the birth of christ’, it views it from a historical perspective. Of course, this is still a very Western-centric point of view, but then so is this conception of the year 0. Anyway, that’s what it means, at least in the UK!

        • greatscott58 on April 20, 2017 at 3:40 pm

          I never knew of “BCE” in any context, only the more traditionalist B.C. (Before Christ) and A.D. (Medieval Latin for “anno Domini”) meaning “in the year of the Lord,” including the 33 years in the life of Jesus Christ plus those following his death after crucifixion. I am an agnostic, by the way. But my doubt of things theological never extended so far I would object to using those Gregorian and Julian calendar terms, nor to removing “In God We Trust” (or, in your country’s case, “God Save the Queen”) from the currency of the realm.

          Then again, I had my formal schooling long ago, before the so-called “secular humanists” (most of them communists) reared their ugly heads and inflicted such propaganda into the educational systems. Were I a citizen of someplace in Great Britain, I’d have been a Tory and supporter of Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher, and now a supporter of Brexit. As a citizen of the United States, I support conservative policies and politicians, in general.

          I love “Hyacinth Bucket” (“that’s bou-quet”), by the way! My favorite Britcoms are “Keeping Up Appearances” (starring Dame Patricia Routledge) and “As Time Goes By” (starring Dame Judi Dench). I realize these British television series’ were probably both in original production before your birth, or at least the former one was. But perhaps you have heard of them, or maybe even seen them in rerun syndication?

          Some more recent Britcoms I’ve enjoyed somewhat have been “My Family,” “The Old Guys” and “Vicious.” I thoroughly enjoyed Jane Asher in “The Old Guys.” I am old enough I remember when it was Miss Asher who was the girlfriend of Sir Paul McCartney (before he was knighted, of course). And of course Miss Asher’s brother was Peter Asher, of the well-known pop duo Peter & Gordon, who later went on to produce many great hits for singer Linda Ronstadt.

          I also get a kick out of thee elitist entertainers who proclaim themselves for Labor and Marxist ideology, yet leave their legal residencies in Great Britain to become tax exiles. In their warped minds it is okay to levy heavy taxation on Great Britain’s citizens who may not afford to leave the country, so long as they don’t have to pay their fair share. Isn’t the hypocrisy just lovely?

          This is also why President Donald Trump wants to impose heavy tariffs on these huge United States-based businesses who then take their companies elsewhere to escape U.S. taxation and regulations (both of which President Trump hopes to reduce anyway), leaving massive unemployment behind them. President Trump has stated if these businesses then want to sell their goods and services in the U.S., they will have to pay the price for having abandoned their original home. I quite approve of nationalism, so long as it is consistent and sincere.

  7. Raghavendra Kamath on June 7, 2016 at 2:00 am

    Below are some more Acronyms

    OK-Orl Korrect(All Correct)

    Electronics

    MCB-Miniature Circuit Breakers

    Food

    FSSAI-Food Safety and Standards Authority of India

    Newspapers

    BIS Hallmark-Bureau of Indian Standards

    FMCG-Fast Moving Consumer Goods

    RAC-Reservation Against Cancellation

    Computer

    Wi-fi- Wireless Fidelity

    SD Card-Secure Digital

    POS-Point of Sale

    TV

    NDTV-New Delhi TV

    DD-1-DoorDarshan-1

    ESPN– Entertainment and Sports Programming Network

    Newspaper

    PIL-Public Interest litigation

    PSU-Public Sector Undertaking

    CII – Confederation of Indian Industry

    GST-Goods and Service Tax

    NSG-Nuclear Suppliers Group

    DoT-Department of Telecommunications

    GoI-Government of India

    Washington DC-District of Columbia

    Delhi NCR-National Capital Region

    Inc.-Incorporated

    AMC-Annual Maintenance Contract

    PCB-Printed Circuit Board

    Electronics

    MSME-Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises

    DLF-Darbari Lal Foundation Limited

    DSLR-Digital Single Lens Reflex

    IPS-In-Plane Switching

    OTG-On The Go

    HTC-High Tech Computer Corporation

    Vehicles

    ABS – Anti-lock Braking System

    SUV-Sports Utility Vehicle

    AKA – Also Known As

    Infrastructure

    BOT – Build Operate Transfer

    OFC-Optical Fiber Cable

    AHU-Air Handling Unit

    Medicine

    OTC – Over The Counter

    Dx-Diagnosis

    Rx-Treatment

    OT-Operation Theater/ Over Time

    Computer

    CAPTCHA – Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart

    Shares

    NASDAQ – National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotation

    SENSEX-Sensitive Index

    ZIP-Zone Improvement Plan

    PVR-Priya Village Roadshow

    NOIDA-New Okhla Industrial Development Authority

    TRP-TV Rating Point

    ISBN-International Standard Book Number

    AMD-Advanced Micro Devices

    AT&T-American Telephone and Telegraph Corporation

    EDS-Electronic Data Systems

    CAE-Canadian Aviation Electronics

    VMWare-Virtual Machine [soft]ware

    SC-Supreme Court

    • Raghavendra Kamath on September 8, 2017 at 7:21 am

      Updated Acronyms

      DTH-Direct to Home
      IQ-Intelligence Quotient
      FM-Frequency Modulation
      RJ-Radio Jockey
      EMI-Equated Monthly Installments
      FIR-First Information Report
      BPO-Business Process Outsourcing
      OK-Orl Korrect(All Correct)
      DTS Theater-Digital Theater Sound
      BSF soldiers-Border Security Force
      CCTV-Closed Circuit TV
      PoP-Plater of Paris
      PVC pipes-Poly-Vinyl Chloride
      RCC-Reinforced Cement Concrete
      MCB-Miniature Circuit Breakers
      ACC Cement-Associated Cement Companies
      MRF-Modi Rubber Factory
      LPG-Liquefied Petroleum Gas
      IPC Code-Indian Penal Code
      ISI mark-Indian Standards Institute
      BIS Hallmark-Bureau of Indian Standards
      ISO-International Standards Organization
      TIN-Tax Information Network
      JEE Exam-Joint Engineering Entrance
      GATE-Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering

      Medical
      OTC-Over The Counter
      ICU-Intensive Care Unit
      OPD-Out Patient Department
      OT-Operation Theater/ Over Time
      CT Scan-Computer Tomography
      MRI scan-Magnetic Resonance Imaging
      ECG-Electro Cardio Gram

      Vehicles
      TP(Permit)-Temporary Permit
      ABS – Anti-lock Braking System
      SUV-Sports Utility Vehicle
      TVS
      BMW

      Food
      FSSAI-Food Safety and Standards Authority of India

      Computer
      MP3- MPEG-1 Audio Layer-3
      Wi-fi- Wireless Fidelity
      SD Card-Secure Digital
      QR Code-Quick Response Code
      POS-Point of Sale
      GSM-General Packet Radio Service
      GPRS-Global System for Mobile communications
      GPS-Global Positioning System
      IMEI-International Mobile Equipment Identity
      MODEM-Modulator Demodulator
      DSLR-Digital Single Lens Reflex
      IPS-In-Plane Switching
      OTG-On The Go
      HTC-High Tech Computer Corporation
      DTP-Desktop Publishing

      TV
      NDTV-New Delhi TV
      DD-1-DoorDarshan-1
      ESPN– Entertainment and Sports Programming Network

      Banks
      IFSC-Indian Financial System Code
      MICR-Magnetic Ink Character Recognition
      ICICI-Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation of India
      HDFC-Housing Development Finance Corporation
      HSBC-HongKong Shangai Banking Corporation
      IRDA-Insurance Regulatory Development Authority

      General
      FMCG-Fast Moving Consumer Goods
      DLF-Darbari Lal Foundation Limited
      RPM-Rotations Per Minute
      UFO-Unidentified Flying Object
      PIL-Public Interest litigation
      SC-Supreme Court
      PSU-Public Sector Undertaking
      CII – Confederation of Indian Industry
      GST-Goods and Service Tax
      NSG-Nuclear Suppliers Group
      DoT-Department of Telecommunications
      GoI-Government of India
      MoU-Memorandum of Understanding
      RAC-Reservation Against Cancellation
      Delhi NCR-National Capital Region
      Inc.-Incorporated
      MSME-Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises
      NHAI-National Highway Authority of India
      ESMA-Essential Services Maintenance Act
      POCSO-Protection of Children against Sexual Offences
      IRCTC-Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation
      Washington DC-District of Columbia
      AKA – Also Known As
      ZIP-Zone Improvement Plan
      AMC-Annual Maintenance Contract
      PCB-Printed Circuit Board
      TRP-TV Rating Point
      ISBN-International Standard Book Number
      NOIDA-New Okhla Industrial Development Authority
      PVR-Priya Village Roadshow
      HP-Helwett Placard

      Infrastructure
      BOT – Build Operate Transfer
      OFC-Optical Fiber Cable
      AHU-Air Handling Unit

      Computer
      AMD-Advanced Micro Devices
      AT&T-American Telephone and Telegraph Corporation
      EDS-Electronic Data Systems
      CAE-Canadian Aviation Electronics
      VMWare-Virtual Machine [soft]ware
      HCL-Hindustan Computers Limited
      WIPRO-Western India Products
      SAP-Software Application Product
      IBM-International Business Machines
      CTS-Cognizant Technology Solutions
      ETA-End Time of Accomplishment
      NASSCOM-National Association of Software and Services Companies
      CAPTCHA – Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart
      ODC-Offshore Development Center
      SLA-Service Level Agreement
      PDF-Portable Document Format
      SEZ-Special Economic Zone

      Shares
      SEBI-Securities Exchange Board of India
      NASDAQ – National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotation
      SENSEX-Sensitive Index
      IPO-Initial Public Offering

      Science
      RADAR-Radio Detection and Ranging
      LASER-Light Amplification by Simulated Emission of Radiation
      RDX-Research Department Formula X
      STEM-Science Technology Engineering and Maths
      TED Talks-Technology Entertainment and Design

  8. John Dooley on November 13, 2016 at 10:10 am

    You left two of the best out. SNAFU & FUBAR both are military terms. SNAFU used for Situation Normal, All F*cked Up. FUBAR used to describe something as F*cked Up Beyond All Recognition/Any Repair/All Reason.

    • Justin Murray on November 13, 2016 at 11:12 am

      Hey John, Yeah I recently learned those terms. Definitely really cool terms, especially when applying them to the life of a startup :0) Thanks for reading and contributing.

  9. David J Gill on May 12, 2017 at 6:37 am

    How about “Govt”?
    But, OG and SOL? No.

  10. Brian Ryskind on June 26, 2017 at 2:04 pm

    SOS is actually none of those listed. It was initially created simply for the sake of simplicity of 3 dots, 3 dashes and then 3 more dot and it would be noticeable as well. The origin of SOS stems from Germany, and the meanings people attach to it came later on.

    • Justin Murray on June 26, 2017 at 3:24 pm

      Hey Brian, thanks for your input. I wasn’t aware o that! I just shared what I had learned.

  11. Raghavendra Kamath on September 8, 2017 at 7:38 am

    DTH-Direct to Home
    IQ-Intelligence Quotient
    FM-Frequency Modulation
    RJ-Radio Jockey
    EMI-Equated Monthly Installments
    FIR-First Information Report
    BPO-Business Process Outsourcing
    OK-Orl Korrect(All Correct)
    DTS Theater-Digital Theater Sound
    BSF soldiers-Border Security Force
    CCTV-Closed Circuit TV
    PoP-Plater of Paris
    PVC pipes-Poly-Vinyl Chloride
    RCC-Reinforced Cement Concrete
    MCB-Miniature Circuit Breakers
    ACC Cement-Associated Cement Companies
    MRF-Madras Rubber Factory
    LPG-Liquefied Petroleum Gas
    IPC Code-Indian Penal Code
    ISI mark-Indian Standards Institute
    BIS Hallmark-Bureau of Indian Standards
    ISO-International Standards Organization
    TIN-Tax Information Network
    JEE Exam-Joint Engineering Entrance
    GATE-Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering

    Medical
    OTC-Over The Counter
    ICU-Intensive Care Unit
    OPD-Out Patient Department
    OT-Operation Theater/ Over Time
    CT Scan-Computer Tomography
    MRI scan-Magnetic Resonance Imaging
    ECG-Electro Cardio Gram

    Vehicles
    TP(Permit)-Temporary Permit
    ABS – Anti-lock Braking System
    SUV-Sports Utility Vehicle
    TVS
    BMW

    Food
    FSSAI-Food Safety and Standards Authority of India

    Computer
    MP3- MPEG-1 Audio Layer-3
    Wi-fi- Wireless Fidelity
    SD Card-Secure Digital
    QR Code-Quick Response Code
    POS-Point of Sale
    GSM-Global System for Mobile communications
    GPRS- General Packet Radio Service
    GPS-Global Positioning System
    IMEI-International Mobile Equipment Identity
    MODEM-Modulator Demodulator
    DSLR-Digital Single Lens Reflex
    IPS-In-Plane Switching
    OTG-On The Go
    DTP-Desktop Publishing
    CAPTCHA – Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart
    ODC-Offshore Development Center
    SLA-Service Level Agreement
    ETA-End Time of Accomplishment
    PDF-Portable Document Format
    SEZ-Special Economic Zone
    HTC-High Tech Computer Corporation
    AMD-Advanced Micro Devices
    AT&T-American Telephone and Telegraph Corporation
    EDS-Electronic Data Systems
    CAE-Canadian Aviation Electronics
    VMWare-Virtual Machine [soft]ware
    HCL-Hindustan Computers Limited
    WIPRO-Western India Products
    SAP-Software Application Product
    IBM-International Business Machines
    CTS-Cognizant Technology Solutions
    NASSCOM-National Association of Software and Services Companies
    HP-Helwett Placard

    TV
    NDTV-New Delhi TV
    DD-1-DoorDarshan-1
    ESPN– Entertainment and Sports Programming Network

    Banks
    IFSC-Indian Financial System Code
    MICR-Magnetic Ink Character Recognition
    ICICI-Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation of India
    HDFC-Housing Development Finance Corporation
    HSBC-HongKong Shangai Banking Corporation
    IRDA-Insurance Regulatory Development Authority

    General
    FMCG-Fast Moving Consumer Goods
    DLF-Darbari Lal Foundation Limited
    RPM-Rotations Per Minute
    UFO-Unidentified Flying Object
    PIL-Public Interest litigation
    SC-Supreme Court
    PSU-Public Sector Undertaking
    CII – Confederation of Indian Industry
    GST-Goods and Service Tax
    NSG-Nuclear Suppliers Group
    DoT-Department of Telecommunications
    GoI-Government of India
    MoU-Memorandum of Understanding
    RAC-Reservation Against Cancellation
    Delhi NCR-National Capital Region
    Inc.-Incorporated
    MSME-Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises
    NHAI-National Highway Authority of India
    ESMA-Essential Services Maintenance Act
    POCSO-Protection of Children against Sexual Offences
    IRCTC-Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation
    Washington DC-District of Columbia
    AKA – Also Known As
    ZIP-Zone Improvement Plan
    AMC-Annual Maintenance Contract
    PCB-Printed Circuit Board
    TRP-TV Rating Point
    ISBN-International Standard Book Number
    NOIDA-New Okhla Industrial Development Authority
    PVR-Priya Village Roadshow

    Infrastructure
    BOT-Build Operate Transfer
    OFC-Optical Fiber Cable
    AHU-Air Handling Unit

    Shares
    SEBI-Securities Exchange Board of India
    NASDAQ – National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotation
    SENSEX-Sensitive Index
    IPO-Initial Public Offering

    Science
    RADAR-Radio Detection and Ranging
    LASER-Light Amplification by Simulated Emission of Radiation
    RDX-Research Department Formula X
    STEM-Science Technology Engineering and Maths
    TED Talks-Technology Entertainment and Design

    Bangalore related
    BMTC-Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation
    BBMP-Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike
    BMRCL- Bangalore Metropolitan Railway Corporation Limited
    BESCOM-Bangalore Electricity Company
    BIAAPA-Bangalore International Airport Area Planning Authority
    BSNL-Bharath Sanchar Nigam Limited
    BWSSB-Bangalore Water Supply and Sewage Board
    BEL-Bharath Electronics Limited
    BHEL-Bharath Heavy Electronics Limited
    BEML-Bharath Earth Movers Limited
    HAL-Hindustan Aeronautics Limited
    APMC-Agricultural Produce Marketing Corporation
    RTO-Regional Transport Office

    BTM Layout-Bannerghatta Tavarekere Madiwala Layout
    JP Nagar-Jaya Prakash Narayan Nagar
    ISKON-International Society for Krishna CONsiousness
    HSR Layout-Hosur Sarjapura Road Layout
    RV Road-Rastriya Vidyalaya Road
    MS Palya-Mohamed Sultan Palya
    RT Nagar-Rabindranath Tagore Nagar
    SP Road-Sardar Patrappa Road

Leave a Comment