Engoo Blog Language Tips

Everyday Latin Abbreviations Used in English

Everyday Latin Abbreviations Used in English

Latin has had a big influence on the English language. Sometimes it's obvious — for example, many legal and scientific terms are taken directly from Latin and would sound unnatural in most conversations. On the other hand, there are many more words and expressions that sound like "regular" English that also have Latin roots.

Because there are too many examples to cover in only one article, this time we're focusing only on some of the most common Latin abbreviations. You may know some of these abbreviations already, but perhaps you didn't know that they're all shortened forms of a Latin word or expression. In fact, many native English speakers don't even realize it! Let's take a closer look.

Commonly Used Latin Abbreviations


This comes from the Latin term "et cetera," meaning "and other things" or "and the rest." It usually comes at the end of a sentence and is used to refer to additional things that are similar to what you have just mentioned.

I'm learning how to bake cookies, pies, cupcakes, etc.
We packed a lot for our camping trip: tents, sleeping bags, flashlights, etc.

Note that etc. is only used for things, not people. In written English, "et al." — another Latin abbreviation that means "and others" — is used to refer to people. It's most common when talking about writers of books and research papers, but it is occasionally used in daily situations.

This information was introduced in the essay by Tanaka et al.


This abbreviation is short for "curriculum vitae," which means "course of life." A CV is similar to a résumé, and sometimes they are used interchangeably.* However, a CV is usually longer and includes more detailed information about a person's education and interests, not only their skills and work experience. CVs are more common in the UK, while résumés are more common in the US.

The salary is not high, but this job experience will look great on my CV.
To apply for the position, please send your CV and a cover letter by email.


"i.e." is from "id est" in Latin, meaning "that is." Use it when you want to explain something you have just mentioned, or say it in a slightly different way.

*"CV" and "resume" are sometimes used interchangeably, i.e., either of the terms can be used to mean the same thing.
We need a real pro for this job, i.e., someone with at least 15 years of experience.

While you can use i.e. in a spoken conversation, it is more common in writing. When speaking, people often say "in other words."

Make sure you arrive on time. In other words, before 5 o'clock.


"e.g." is also primarily used in written English. It's an abbreviation of "exempli gratia," which means "for example." Use it before giving a specific example of something you have just mentioned.

The president is scheduled to visit several cities this week, e.g., Tokyo, Seoul and Bangkok.
We accept many kinds of payment, e.g., cash, credit cards and crypto currency.


These two abbreviations are great examples of things we say every day without thinking much about what they mean. It turns out that "a.m" stands for "ante meridiem," while "p.m." stands for "post meridiem." In English, these terms mean "before midday" and "after midday," respectively. Pretty simple, right?

Our business hours are from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Saturday.
When it's 12 p.m. in Osaka, it's 3 a.m. in London.


Have you ever seen "PS" at the end of a letter someone has written to you? It's from the Latin "post scriptum," or "written after," and is used when something is added after the signature in a letter or email.

Sincerely, Jun.

PS Please water my plants while I'm away!


This is short for "Philosophiae Doctor," or "Doctor of Philosophy." This is a very high-level degree that requires many years of study. It's commonly used both with and without periods.

Bruce has a Ph.D. in physics and biology. He's very intelligent.

It can also be used as a noun to refer to a person who has this degree.

Surprisingly, she's a PhD even though she's so young.


This is pronounced "versus" and is sometimes written the same way. It means "against," and you probably know it very well if you like sports, video games or almost any kind of competition.

The final World Cup 2022 match was Argentina vs. France.
We're going to watch Alien vs. Predator for our next movie night.

Latin is Everywhere

Many people don't realize just how much Latin there is in the modern English we use all the time. As mentioned before, the abbreviations we've featured here are only a small sample of all of the words with Latin roots. Perhaps we'll look at some other examples in a future article!