Some Abbreviations found in Historical Documents

These also include some of the abbreviations used for titles and ranks

Also from Alumini Dublinenses {Register of Students, Graduates, Professors, and Provosts of Trinity College in the University of Dublin}

I am indebted to who provided some of these from "Tracing Your Family Tree" by A.G. Puttock

Also from an olde 19th century MAZAWATTEE POCKET DICTIONARY

are familiar phrases and quotations

From the Latin, French and Italian Languages


Abbreviation Meaning
Ab extra From without
A.B. Able Seaman
Ab initio From the beginning
Ab irate In a fit of passion
A bon droit Justly; according to reason
Aborigine From the beginning (Also of course a native of Australia)
Ab ovo From the beginning (lit.from the egg)
Ab ovo usque ad mala From the beginning to the end (lit. from the egg to the apples)
Absit invidia Envy apart
Ab uno disce omnes From a single instance you may infer the whole
Acad. Academy
A/Cdre Air Commodore
A.C.M. Air Chief Marshall
Ad arbitrium At pleasure
Ad eund Ad eundem
Ad avizandum Into consideration
Adm. Admiral
Admon Letters of administration to a will
Ad extremum At last
Ad finem To the end
Ad interim Meanwhile
Ad libitum At pleasure
A droit To the right (Fr)
Ad usum omnes All to a (Lit. one) man
st stive {Summer}
AetLatin - aetatis - used when stating a person's age.  {aet 75 means, over 75 going on 76}
grescit medeno The remedy is worse than the disease. (Lit. the disorder increases with the remedy)
Affaire d'amourA love affair (Fr.)
Affaire d'honneurAn affair of honour; a duel (Fr.)
Affaire du cur An affair of the heart (Fr.)
A la modeAccording to the fashion (Fr.)
Alias, Als or AKAOtherwise or Also Know As
A/MAir Marshall
Amour PropreVanity; Self Love (Fr.)
Anglic In English
Ante MeridiemBefore Midday
A proposTo the point; seasonably; in due time (Fr.)
A.R.A.Associate of the Royal Academy
ArgArgent {Heraldic}
Artium MagisterMaster of Arts
A.V.M.Air Vice Marshall
Az..Azure {Heraldic}
b. Born
B Baron
bef. Before
Bt Baronet
B.E.M British Empire Medal
Ben trovato Well invented (It.)
Bn. Battalion
b.o.t.p. Both Of The Parish {Used in Parish Registers mostly}
Bon Fide In good faith; in reality
Cal Calendar
Camb. Cambridge
Campus Martius A place of military exercise (Lit. Field of Mars)
Cap--pie From head to foot (Fr.)
Capt. Captain
Car. Cavalry
C.B. Companion of the Order of the Bath
C.B.E.Commander of the Order of the British Empire
Chan. Proc.Chancery Proceedings
Chef-d 'vre A masterpiece (Fr.)
C.H.Companion of Honour
C.I.E.Companion of the Order of the Indian Empire
C.M.G.Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George
Compos mentisOf sane mind
Contre-tempsA mischance (Fr.)
CROCounty Record Office
C.S.ICompanion of the Order of the Star of India
C.St.J.Companion of the Order of St John of Jerusalem
Cui bono ?Whom does it benefit?
Cum grano salisWith a grain of salt. (ie: with some allowance)
C.V.O.Commander of the Royal Victorian Order {Duke}
d Died
d Denarius {A Penny}
Da capo From the beginning (It.)
D.B.E. Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire
d.b.nDe bonis non administratis
D.C.M.Distinguished Conduct Medal
De factoIn point of fact
Dei gratiaBy the grace of God
De mortius nil nisi bonumLet nothing be said of the dead but what is favourable
De ProfundisOut of the depths
diem clit. extradiem clausit extremum
Dieu et mon droitGod is my right (Fr.)
d.i.iDie in Infancy
Dolce far nienteSweet idleness (It.)
Dramatis person Characters represented
D.S.O.Distinguished Service Order
d.s.p.Decessit sine prole {Died without issue}
d.s.p.l.Decessit sine prole legitima {Died without legitimate issue}
d.s.p.mDecessit sine prole mascula {Died without male issue}
d.s.p.m.s.Decessit sine prole mascula superstita {Died without surviving male issue}
d.s.p.s.Decessit sine prole superstita {Died without surviving issue}
Dum spiro/speroWhile I breathe; I hope
d.unmDied Unmarried
d.v.pDecessit vita patris {Died in the lifetime of his father}
d.v.mDecessit vita matris {Died in the lifetime of his mother}
E Earl
E.D. Efficiency Decoration
E.H.R English History Review
Ec.H.R. Economic History Review
E.M. Efficiency Medal
Errare humanum est It is human to err
Ex officio By virtue of his office
Ex parte On one part or side
Exch Court of the Exchequer
Exor Executor
Felo de se A suicide (Law)
Fidei defensor Defender of the faith
Fil. Nob. Filius Nobilis
F/Lt Flight Lieutenant
F/O Flying Officer
Fo Folio
F.M. Field Marshall
F.R.S.A. Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts
F.S.Female Servant
F.S.A.Fellow of the Society of Antiques
Gaiet de coeur Gaiety of heart (Fr.)
Gaudeamus Let us have a joyful time
G.B.E. Knight or Dame of the Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire
G.C.George Cross
G/CaptGroup Captain
Goute Goute Drop by Drop (Fr.)
GratisFor nothing
Guerre morte War to the death (Fr.)
GuGules {Heraldic}
H.A.C. Honourable Artillery Company {A Territorial Unit based in the City of London who provide the escort to the sovereign's carriage at ceremonial engagements}
H.B.MHis or Her Britannic Majesty
HeurekaI have found it out (Gr.) also Eureka
Hic et ubiqueHere and everywhere
HiemHiemps {Winter}
H.E.I.C.S.Honourable East India Company Service
HMDYHis Majesty's Dockyard
Hist MSS Comm.Royal Commission on Historical Documents
Hoc genus omneAll persons of that kind
HonThe Honourable
Honi soit qui mal y pense Evil be to he who thinketh (Fr.)
Hors de combat Out of condition to fight (Fr.)
I.A. Indian Army
Ibidem In the same place
I.C. In Chief or In Capite
I.C.S Indian Civil Service
i.d.c. Passed the Imperial Defence College
IGIInternational Genealogical Index {The Mormon Database at Salt Lake City USA}
ImprimaturLet it be printed
In extensoAt full length
In extremisAt the point of death
Infra dignatatemBeneath one's dignity
In memoriamTo the memory of
In nomineIn the name of
In propri person In person
In scula sculorum For ages and ages
In statu quoIn the state of which it was
Inter aliaAmong other matters
In transituIn passing
In vino veritasThere is truth in the wine; that is, the truth comes out under its influence!
IndIndependent Means {Can also mean the country of India}
I.P.M.Inquisition Post Mortem {Refers to will administration}
Ipso facto In the fact itself
Jeu d'esprit A witticisim (Fr.)
jur. ignor. Jurators Ignorant {The Jury do not know}
K King {Is also used to abbreviate Killed}
K.C.King's Counsel
K.G.Knight of the Order of the Garter
K.I.C.K.SKing in Chief by Knight Service
K.S.(by) Knight Service
Lapsus Lingu A slip of the tongue
Le tout ensemble The whole together
LL.d Doctor of Laws
L.Q.R. Law Quarterly Review
Locum tenens A deputy or substitute
Locus standi Standing in a case
M Marquis
M.A. Master of Arts
Mag. Magistrate
Mal propos Ill-timed
Manibus pedibusque With might and main (Lit. with hands and feet)
Matine A morning or afternoon recital or performance (Fr.)
mel.inq. Melius Inquirendum
Mem Membrane
Minuti Trifles; Minute parts
Mise en Scne The getting up or preparation for the stage (Fr.)
M.I. Monumental Inscriptions
M.L. Marriage Licence Records
M.S Male Servant
Modo et forma In manner or form
Modus operandi In manner of operation
Maulta paucis Much in little
Multum in parvo Much in little
Mutatis mutandis After making the necessary changes
M.V.O. Member of the Royal Victorian Order
Nem. Com.Nemine contradicente - Without opposition
Nem. Dis.Nemine dissentiente - Without opposition
Ne plus ultraWhat cannot surpassed; perfection (Lit. No more beyond)
N.F.PNo Further Particulars
Nolens volensWhether he will or not
Nom de geurreAn assumed name (Fr.)
Nom de plumeAssumed name of an author (Fr.)
Non compos mentisNot of sound mind
Non est vivere, sed valere vitaLife is not mere existence, but the enjoyment of health
Non omnis moriarI shall not altogether die
Non sequiturIt does not follow
N.R.A.National Register of Archives also National Rifle Association
Nulli secundus Second to none
Ob Obit {Died}
Obiter dictum The thing said in the way or in passing
O.M. Order of Merit
Omnia bona bonis All things are good with good men
Omnia vincit amor Love conquers all
On dit They say (Fr.)
O.St.J. Officer of the Order of St John of Jerusalem
o.t.p.Of This Parish {Mostly used in Parish Registers}
p Page
Pax vobiscum Peace be with you
PCC Prerogative Court of Canterbury
P/OPilot Officer
PCYPrerogative Court of York
POPost Office or Petty Officer {Royal Navy}
PprProper {Heraldic}
PecPeculiar Court
PeccaviI have done wrong; an acknowledgement of error
PinxitHe painted it
PLG Poor Law Guardian
Prim facie On the first view or appearance
PROPublic Records Office
p.s.a.Passed Staff College, Andover
p.s.c.Passed Staff College, Camberley
P.T.Private Tutor {Also as PT means Physical Training}
Q Queen
Q.C. Queen's Counsel
R.A. Royal Artillery or Royal Academician
R.D.Registration District
R.E.Royal Engineers
Regium donumA royal grant
Requiescat in Pace [RIP]May he rest in peace
Ride se sapisLaugh if you are wise
R.O. Record Office
R of OReserve of Officers
Sanctum Sanctorum The Holy of Holies
S.C. Socius Comitatus
Sch. Scholar
Semper Fidelis Always faithful
Semper Idem Always the same
S.P. State Papers
s. Succeeded {In relationship to Ancestry} or Son
s & hSon & Heir
Sine dieWithout a day being appointed
Sine qu non An indispensible condition
Tempus omnia revelat Time discloses all things
T.R.H.S. Transcriptions of the Royal Historical Society
Unm Unmarried
Vade mecum Go with me; a constant companion
Verbum sat sapienti A word is enough to a wise man
Vern. Verna (Spring)
V Viscount
V.C. Victoria Cross
VCH Victoria History of the Counties of England
Vice Vers The terms being exchange
Victis honusHonour to the conquered
Vox populit, vox dieThe voice of the people is the voice of God
WOWarrant Officer [Class I or Class II] -also War Office in earlier times

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Page last updated: - 06/04/2016