Abbreviations in Spanish

If you are one of those who think that “time is money,” abbreviations will be your best friends. If you know them in your language but you’re still unfamiliar with Spanish abbreviations, this post is perfect for you. But wait a minute, what is an abbreviation? Well, it’s really simple. An abbreviation is a shorter version of a word. For example, Sr. is short for señor. It’s not that complicated.

If you want to become an expert in abbreviations in Spanish or simply know the most necessary ones, read on. 

1. Formation of Abbreviations

Not all words can be abbreviated, and those that can be abbreviated follow specific rules. Here are two basic rules for using them correctly:

  • They have a period in the end. This way, we know that it is an abbreviation, not a complete word.

ej. → ejemplo (is an abbreviation)

eco → is a complete word

p. → página (is an abbreviation)

→ is a complete word

  • They can end in a consonant or vowel.

coord. → coordinador (coordinator)

dpto. → departamento (department)

sra. → señora (Mrs.)

2. Abbreviations in Feminine

Are there masculine and feminine abbreviations? Of course, there are, but don’t worry, the rules for forming feminine abbreviations are very similar to those for nouns and adjectives. 

 

  • If the word ends in a vowel, it is changed to an a:

hno. hermano (brother)

hna. hermana (sister)

  • If the word ends in a consonant, we have two options:

– an a is added in the superscript or “volada” ( a ). This is done when the abbreviation is equal to the original word without the ending:

Sr. señor (Sir)

Sra./Sr.a señora (Mrs.)

3. Plural Abbreviations

And how do you form the plural of abbreviations? For this, there are also a couple of very simple rules, but they depend on how the abbreviation has been formed.

  • When the abbreviation is formed by cutting off the end of the word, an -s is added:

página pág.págs. (pages)

ejemplo → ej. → ejs. (examples)

  • When the abbreviation is made by eliminating letters from the interior of the word we have two options:

When ending in consonant +es

señor → Sr.

señores Sres.

When ending in vowel +s

departamento dpto.
departamentosdptos

hermano hno.
hermanoshnos

Attention:

The word “usted” is an exception:
usted → Ud.
ustedes → Uds.

  • When the abbreviation consists of a single letter, the plural is formed by duplicating that letter

s. → siguiente

ss. → siguientes

p. → página

pp. páginas

  • Some of these examples are always used in their plural form. For example:

EE. UUEstados Unidos (United States)

JJ. OOJuegos Olímpicos (Olympic Games)

RR. HHRecursos Humanos (Human Resources)

4. Classification of Abbreviations

After knowing the theory, the moment has come to learn the most used abbreviations in Spanish, and what better way to do it than by separating them into categories? This way, you can consult the tables of the topics you are most interested in at any moment. 

5. Greetings and Goodbyes

Whether you’re an email-only user or a romantic writer on paper, you’ll need to know these ways to communicate perfectly every time.

ABBREVIATION MEANING

A /A

a la atención (de) / to the attention (of)

afmo., afma., af.mo, af.ma

afectísimo (a) / dearest

atte.

atentamente / kind regards

atto., atta.

atento, atenta / attentive

P. D.

posdata / postscript

6. Treatment Formulations

ABBREVIATION MEANING

A.

alteza / highness

A. I.

alteza imperial / imperial highness

A. R.

alteza real / royal highness

D., D.a

don, doña / Mr., Mrs.

Dña.

doña / Mrs.

Em.a

eminencia / eminence

Emmo.
eminentísimo / most eminent

Exc.a

excelencia / excellence
Excmo., Excma.
excelentísimo, excelentísima / most excellent

Gob., Gdor.a, Gdor

gobernador, gobernadora / governor
Ilmo., Ilma.
ilustrísimo, ilustrísima / most illustrious

l.

ilustre / illustrious

M.

majestad / majesty

S.a

señoría / Your Honour

Sr., Sra., Sr.a , S.a

señor, señora / Mr., Mrs.

S. A.

su alteza / Your Highness

S. M.

su majestad / Your Majesty

S. E.

su excelencia / Your Excellency

Srta.

señorita / Miss

S. S.

su santidad / His, Her Holiness

Sto.

Santo / holy

U. Ud., Uds. V., Vd.

usted, ustedes / you (formal)

V. A.

vuestra alteza / Your Highness

V. E.

vuestra excelencia / Your Excellence

V. M.

vuestra majestad / Your Majesty

V. S.

vuestra señoría / Your Honor

7. Postal Adresses

You probably don’t use the post office much, but we all receive letters and have to fill in official documents from time to time. Writing your address correctly is the best way to avoid unwanted mistakes. 

ABBREVIATION MEANING

av., avd., avda.

avenida /avenue

Bo., B.º

barrio / neighborhood

c., c/, cl.

calle / street

C. P., D. P.

código postal, distrito postal / postal code, postal district

dcho., decha.

derecho, derecha / right

Dta.

destinatario / addressee

entlo.

entresuelo / ground floor

izdo., izda., izqdo., izqda.

izquierdo, izquierda / left

n.º, nro., núm.

número / number

p.º

paseo / passage

pl., plza., pza.

plaza / square

prov.

provincia / province

Rte.

remitente / sender

s. f., s/f

sin fecha / undated

s. n., s/n

sin número / unnumbered

8. Measurement Units

Do you like to cook and want to practice your Spanish with recipes? Or do you need to buy some curtains online, and the measurements are in Spanish? No problem! Here is your little survival guide to understanding the main abbreviations Hispanics use to measure.

Peso / masa Weight / mass

kilogramo → kg.

gramo → gr.

miligramo → mg.

kilogram

gram

milligram

Capacidad / volumen Capacity / volume

litro → l.

decilitro → dcl.

centilitro → cl.

mililitro → ml.

liter

deciliter

centiliter

milliliter

Temperatura Temperature

centígrado → ºC

fahrenheit → ºF

kelvin → ºK

Centigrade

Fahrenheit

Kelvin

Longitud / distancia Length / distance

kilómetro → km.

metro → m.

centímetro → cm.

milímetro → mm.

kilometer

meter

centimeter

millimeter

Tiempo Time

siglo → s.

semana → sem.

día → d.

hora → h.

minuto → min.

segundo → seg.

century

week

day

hour

minute

second

Superficie Surface

metro cuadrado → m.²

square meter

9. Listings and References

When we read books, articles, or texts in Spanish, we come across a series of abbreviations we must know to understand them correctly.

ABBREVIATION MEANING

an.

anexo / annexes

ant.

anterior / antología / antólogo

previous / anthology / anthologist

apdo.

apartado / section

apénd.

apéndice / appendix

art., art. cit.

artículo, artículo citado / article, cited article

b/n

blanco y negro / black and white

bibl.

bibliografía / bibliography

cap.

capítulo / chapter

c.

circa, alrededor de / around

cód.

código / code

fig.

figura / figure

fot.

fotografía / photo

ref.

referencia / reference

vid., et., v.t.

véase también / see also

vol.

volumen / volume

VV.AA.

varios autores / various authors

10. Professions

professions-in-spanish

The next category is related to the world of work—professions, jobs, functions, etc. Here we go!

Not all professions can be abbreviated without losing their meaning. Here is a list of the most frequently abbreviated professions:

ABBREVIATION MEANING

abog. 

abogado / lawyer

admr. 

administrador / administrator

adtvo. 

administrativo / administrative, assistant

coord.

coordinador / coordinator

dr. / dra.

doctor(a) / doctor

gte.

gerente / manager

jz. / jza.

juez(a) / judge

prof.

profesor / professor, teacher

Check out our detailed blogpost about Jobs and Occupations in Spanish, which was prepared for you by our Spanish teachers.

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11. Abbreviations and New Technologies

New technologies have affected the way we communicate, but also the language itself. With text messages or SMS, people, especially the younger ones, decided that time was money and space was money. With text messages in disuse and the popularity of social networks and instant messaging services such as WhatsApp or Telegram, this need to make the most of space has disappeared. Autocorrects also allow us to write faster, but this does not mean that all the abbreviations created in the early years of new technologies have disappeared. 

You need to know these abbreviations to communicate with native speakers more informally. 

Word or expression Abbreviation Example

Te quiero mucho

(I love you very much)

tqm

Adiós, mi amor. Tqm

¿Por qué? / porque

(why/because)

xq

-¿Estás en casa?

-Sí, xq?

¿Dónde?

(where?)

dnd

-Estoy en Madrid.

-dnd?

También

(also)

tb

-Tengo gripe

-Yo tb

Besos

(kisses)

bss

Nos vemos mañana. bss

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