Allen's Dictionary of Abbreviations and Symbols

Allen's Dictionary of Abbreviations and Symbols

Allen's Dictionary of Abbreviations and Symbols

Allen's Dictionary of Abbreviations and Symbols

Excerpt

It is roughly twenty centuries since the Romans used the abbreviation SPQR instead of writing the phrase in full--Senatus Populusque Romanus. Maybe abbreviations were in use centuries before that; certainly symbols were. It is a natural inclination of mankind to save trouble and time. With the rapidly expanding use of abbreviations, however, particularly during World Wars I and II, it is not too certain that any amount of time is being saved, especially for readers who insist on knowing what the letters stand for. Goodness knows what the Atomic Era will bring forth!

The language has assimilated hundreds of abbreviations--some to the extent that the words for which they stand are seldom written in full. There is "Mr.," for example, as well as its feminine counterpart; and it would be slightly comical to say, "The train will leave at two post meridiem." But there are thousands of other abbreviations that no one person is able (or would wish) to keep in his mind. These are continually being encountered in publications of every sort, and it is to meet this condition that the present volume has been compiled.

When the New Deal started dividing its responsibilities into special agencies for handling the many problems arising out of rapidly changing conditions, there began a new tidal wave of abbreviations. Ten years ago it was hardly more than a ripple. Then with the splash . . .

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