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January 21, 2019

Everyday Abbreviations

Deals2018We use some abbreviations all the time without realizing what they mean. For example; why does the abbreviation for "number" have an 'O' in it? But in most cases, there is a linguistic explanation, usually having to do with an earlier spelling or meaning of the word.

For instance, in the case of "Mrs." that abbreviation used to be short for the word "mistress," as in the feminine equivalent of "master," or the primary woman in a household. Over time, the connotations of "mistress" changed, but the spelling of Mrs. never did.

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Today's Random Fact:


Why is "No." the abbreviation for "number," since there is no "O" in the word? Well, there may not be an "O" in number, but there is one in the Latin word numero, which is where the English word comes from.


How did the letters "L" and "B" get to be the abbreviation for "pound"? It has to do with the origins of the word. The English word "pound" originates from an ancient Roman unit of measurement called a Libra pondo, meaning "a pound by weight." "Pondo" became the English word "pound," while the "Libra" provided the origin for the "lb" abbreviation.


If you've ever described someone's mannerisms or habits by saying, "That's his MO!" without knowing what the M and the O stand for, you're not alone. It comes from the Latin modus operandi, meaning "method of operating," and was originally used to describe the behavior of criminals.

Bonus Fact:

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If you have a cell phone, it most likely uses a SIM card that allows you to connect to the network. But these cards also carry unique information about each cell user, which is why SIM stands for "Subscriber Identity Module." Since the SIM card holds specific information about the user, it provides a way for the network to distinguish individual subscribers.


When you spill something and yell, "I need some paper towels, stat!", you're speaking Latin, and you may not even realize it! "Stat" is short for statim, the Latin word for "immediately."