Spanish Abbreviations: A Fast-track Guide to Shorthand Communication
Let’s be honest, our modern society has ingrained in us this yearning for speed!
And we like it!
Fast cars, fast lane, fast food, fast shipping, fast-dry nail polish, fast-track education and the list goes on.
It’s no wonder we’d also like to get our Spanish groove on ASAP (as soon as possible)!
So, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty right away—how can we actually make Spanish communication more expedient?
One word: Abbreviations.
When we use abbreviations, we’re able to speed through ideas and fast-track communication. Oftentimes, there’s no real need to write out an entire word or phrase in order to convey its meaning.
Abbreviations work just as well!
These shortened forms of common words allow a lot to be said in a limited space.
So, enough stalling—let’s race right into Spanish abbreviations!
The Inside Scoop on Spanish Abbreviations
Have you ever wondered just exactly who’s in charge of the Spanish language?
I know I was curious!
The fact is that the Royal Spanish Academy is the entity concerned with all issues pertaining to the language, including official abbreviations.
Since Spanish uses the Latin alphabet, which English speakers are of course familiar with, it’s a snap to recognize the many abbreviations this language uses.
Want a little Spanish etymology side note?
The word “abbreviation” comes from the Latin word brevis which means “short.”
As they are in any language, abbreviations in Spanish are particularly useful for business writing. They’re also utilized in both formal and informal communication—even in everyday conversations.
Your Spanish writing be enriched by the abbreviations you learn, showing your familiarity with the language.
Additionally, learning Spanish abbreviations makes it much less complicated to understand informal written Spanish.
While both languages use the Latin alphabet, Spanish abbreviations are different from English in a couple of ways.
1. Most Spanish abbreviations are not capitalized. In English, they’re often capitalized. Personal titles, however, in Spanish and English both are capitalized, so there’s no confusion there!
2. Most English abbreviations use periods as part of the abbreviated form. In Spanish, that isn’t always the case. The good news is that once you get in the habit of using a particular abbreviation, you’ll quickly know whether to add un punto (a period) following the letters or to leave it off!
Spanish Abbreviations: A Fast-track Guide to Shorthand Communication
Abbreviations of Titles and Professions
These abbreviations are so commonplace that even beginner Spanish learners can use them with ease.
These abbreviations are all logical shortened versions of the words they represent.
Remember that some Spanish word endings change to reflect either a feminine or masculine gender, and professional titles are in that category of words.
It’s important to note that introductory titles are not capitalized in the full form, but are capitalized in their abbreviation.
Sra. — señora (Mrs.)
Sr. — señor (Mr.)
Srta. — señorita (Miss)
Dña. — doña (Madam)
D. — don (Sir)
Dr. — doctor (Dr., masculine)
Dra. — doctora (Dr., feminine)
Prof. — profesor (Professor, masculine)
Profa. — profesora (Professor, feminine)
Pdte. — presidente (President, masculine)
Pdta. — presidenta (President, feminine)
Abbreviations for Business Situations
Business abbreviations make workplace communication less time consuming and universally understood to all employees.
Some business phrases are so polite!
Commonly Used in Correspondence
A/A — a la atención (to the attention)
Ud., Uds. — usted/ustedes (You)
Vd., Vds. — usted/ustedes (You, vosotros form)
s.s.s. — su seguro servidor (Yours truly)
S.R.C. — se ruega contestación (R.S.V.P.)
Cía. — compañía (company)
pág. — página (page)
ms. — manuscrito (manuscript)
p. ej. — por ejemplo (for example)
Abbreviations for Measurements
Measuring abbreviations make it a snap to reference quantities.
dna. — docena (dozen)
h — hora (hour)
kg — kilogramos (kilograms)
cm — centímetros (centimeters)
l — litros (liters)
mm — milímetros (millimeters)
Abbreviations for Ordinal Numbers
Ordinal numbers indicate positions. They’re necessary to communicate when one item comes before or after another or to show what number something is on a list or score sheet.
Spanish ordinal numbers agree with the gender of the word they modify, so they can be either masculine or feminine.
Ordinal number abbreviations in Spanish are formed by writing the actual number followed by either –o for a masculine noun or –a for a feminine noun and a period.
1o.(a) — primero(a) (first)
2o.(a) — segundo(a) (second)
3o.(a) — tercero(a) (third)
4o.(a) — cuarto(a) (fourth)
5o.(a) — quinto(a) (fifth)
6o.(a) — sexto(a) (sixth)
7o.(a) — séptimo(a) (seventh)
8o.(a) — octavo(a) (eighth)
9o.(a) — noveno(a) (ninth)
10o.(a) — décimo(a) (tenth)
Abbreviations of Global Importance
Some global organizations, directional words and even place names are very handy abbreviations for learners to know!
ONU — Organización de Naciones Unidas (United Nations)
OTAN — Organización del Tratado Atlántico Norte (North Atlantic Treaty Organization/NATO
N — norte (north)
S — sur (south)
E — este (east)
O — oeste (west)
EE. UU. — Estados Unidos (United States)
ESP — España (Spain)
Days of the Week
Spanish abbreviations for the days of the week are pretty straightforward. The X is used to differentiate martes (Tuesday) from miércoles (Wednesday), but the other days are very easily identified by their abbreviations!
L — lunes (Monday)
M — martes (Tuesday)
X — miércoles (Wednesday)
J — jueves (Thursday)
V — viernes (Friday)
S — sábado (Saturday)
D — domingo (Sunday)
Months of the Year
Not all of the Spanish words for the months of the year have abbreviations. Enero (January), marzo (March), mayo (May) and agosto (August) are not abbreviated.
feb. — febrero (February)
abr. — abril (April)
jun. — junio (June)
jul. — julio (July)
set. — septiembre (September)
oct. — octubre (October)
nov. — noviembre (November)
dic. — diciembre (December)
Abbreviations for Texting
Texting is the ideal medium for maximizing Spanish abbreviation usage. In other words, texting is an abbreviation aficionado’s dream platform—in any language!
Learn all the ones you consider relevant to your lifestyle right away. The faster you begin using them, the more comfortable you’ll get with them. You’ll not only see these abbreviations in friendly text messages, but also on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms.
Try them out and jazz up your Spanish text conversations!
Get your fingers ready to learn and use some sweet Spanish text abbreviations:
hla — hola (hello)
qtal? — ¿qué tal? (what’s up?)
xq? — ¿Por qué? (why?)
no c — no sé (I don’t know)
bn — bien (good)
pf — por favor (please)
asias — gracias (thank you)
tb — también (also)
bs — besos (kisses)
tq — te quiero (I love you)
nph — no puedo hablar (I can’t talk)
ntp — no te preocupes (don’t worry)
¡kyat! — ¡cállate! (shut up!)
aora — ahora (now)
hl — hasta luego (see you later)
cdt — cuídate (take care)
bnx — buenas noches (good night)
ymm — llámame (call me)
For many of us, our Spanish language goal is to be able to communicate like a native speaker. We want to communicate like someone born in Latin America or Spain. We want to move thoughts and conversations from point A to point B at the speed of light.
And with digital communication being such a major component of our lives, learning how to communicate in Spanish abbreviations is also important.
You’re in luck here, though, because there are so many cool Spanish abbreviations—and they’ll open up the door to fast written communication!
Whether you’re using abbreviations for travel, business or maybe a pleasurable adventure to Madrid or any Spanish country—good communication is key. And these small bits of language are sure to put a burst of speed into your written messages!