Common Spanish Abbreviations For All Occasions

When first learning Spanish, you might find yourself slightly overwhelmed by the array of abbreviations encountered. While it might seem like just another layer of complexity, these Spanish abbreviations are not designed to be a nuisance; rather, they exist to streamline communication, making it faster, simpler, and more efficient. From formal written texts to casual chats, understanding common Spanish abbreviations is essential. They shorten words and phrases, saving time and space, and are crucial in various settings. Here’s a guide to some of the most common abbreviations you’ll encounter in Spanish-speaking contexts.

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Formal Written Spanish Abbreviations


In formal writing, abbreviations often appear in the form of titles, whether referring to professions, respectful salutations, or marital status. These are usually placed before a person’s name as a sign of respect or to denote their professional or social status. Here are a few you might come across:

Sr. (Señor)

Equivalent to “Mr.” in English, used for adult males.

Sra. (Señora)

Equivalent to “Mrs.” in English, used for married women.

Srta. (Señorita)

Equivalent to “Miss” in English, used for unmarried women.

Prof. (Profesor/Profesora)

This abbreviation stands for “profesor” or “profesora,” which translates to “professor” or “teacher” in English.

Dr. (Doctor/Doctora)

Used for both medical doctors and Ph.D. holders.

Lic. (Licenciado/Licenciada)

This title is used for individuals who have completed a university degree, typically a bachelor’s degree.

Ing. (Ingeniero/Ingeniera)

Used for engineers. This title precedes the name of someone who has completed the requisite education and training in any field of engineering.

Arq. (Arquitecto/Arquitecta)

Stands for “architect.” It is used for professionals who are qualified and registered to practice in the field of architecture.

Written Communications

Woman sending an email

Atte. (Atentamente)

This is the equivalent of “Sincerely” in English. It is a formal way to close a message and is used universally in business and formal letters.

P.D. (Posdata)

Stands for “postscript,” used to add additional information after the main body of the letter or email has been concluded. It’s handy for including an afterthought or extra information that didn’t fit naturally into the flow of the main text.

Etc. (Etcétera)

Similar to the English “etc.,” this abbreviation is used to indicate that a given list continues in the same manner, but without specifying additional items. It’s useful in written Spanish to avoid listing every item or example but still imply their inclusion.

Por ej. (por ejemplo)

This abbreviation stands for “for example.” It is used to introduce examples related to the topic being discussed. This abbreviation is extremely helpful in both written and spoken Spanish when you need to illustrate a point without elaborating excessively.

Pág. (página)

This abbreviation means “page.” It’s commonly used in academic and professional settings when referencing specific pages in documents, books, or reports. This abbreviation helps in providing precise references, enhancing the clarity and credibility of the communication.

C.P. (código postal)

This stands for “código postal,” which translates to “postal code” in English. It is used in mailing addresses to specify the area’s postal code, helping to sort and deliver mail efficiently.

D.P. (distrito postal)

Although less commonly seen than “C.P.,” “D.P.” stands for “distrito postal” or “postal district.” It refers to a broader area within which several postal codes might be grouped, primarily used in larger cities or regions to help in the organization of mail delivery.

Informal Abbreviations for Seamless Chatting

When texting or chatting in Spanish, especially in informal settings, using abbreviations can significantly speed up communication and make interactions feel more relaxed and natural. Here are some widely used informal abbreviations that you’ll encounter in digital communications among Spanish speakers:

Tmb (también)

This abbreviation stands for “también,” which means “also” or “too” in English. It’s frequently used in texts to agree with something previously mentioned or to add to the conversation without typing out the full word.

Bn (bien)

Short for “bien,” which translates to “good” or “well.” It’s often used in response to questions like “¿Cómo estás?” (How are you?) or to express approval or satisfaction with something.

Q (que)

Abbreviation for “que,” meaning “that” or “what.”

Xq (por qué)

Stands for “por qué,” which translates to “why.”

Dnd (dónde)

Abbreviation for “dónde,” which means “where.” It’s often used in texts when asking for location details.

Salu2 (saludos)

A playful twist on “saludos,” meaning “greetings.” This is used to say hello or goodbye in a friendly and casual way.

Grax or thx (gracias)

Derived from “gracias,” meaning “thanks.”

Tqm or tkm (te quiero mucho)

The abbreviations tqm or tkm are both shorthand for “te quiero mucho,” which translates to “I love you a lot” or “I love you so much” in English. These expressions are commonly used in informal communication, especially in texts or chats between friends, family members, or romantic partners to express affection.

Bb (bebé)

The abbreviation bb is a shortened form of “bebé,” which means “baby” in English. It’s commonly used in informal texting and chatting among Spanish-speaking friends and lovers.

Man texting

Common Oral Spanish Abbreviations

In spoken Spanish, certain abbreviations become part of everyday conversation, especially among younger generations. These shortenings are not only time-savers but also add a touch of informality and camaraderie to interactions. Here are some commonly used oral abbreviations in Spanish:

Tranqui (tranquilo)

A shortened form of “tranquilo,” which means “calm” or “don’t worry.” It’s often used to tell someone to relax or that everything is okay.

Facu (facultad)

This is slang for “facultad,” which refers to a university faculty or college. It’s commonly used among university students when discussing anything related to their college or academic life.

Peli (película)

Short for “película,” which means “movie.” It’s frequently used when talking about films, whether planning a movie night or discussing cinema in general.

Depto (departamento)

An abbreviation for “departamento,” which means “apartment” or “department.” The usage depends on the context, but it is often used in urban settings to refer to someone’s apartment.

Profe (profesor)

Short for “profesor” or “profesora,” meaning “teacher” or “professor.” It’s a casual way to refer to or address educational instructors.

Info (información)

This is a clipping of “información,” translating to “information.” It’s used when asking for details or discussing data in general conversation.

Cumple (cumpleaños)

Short for “cumpleaños,” which means “birthday.” It’s often used in the context of discussing birthday plans or birthday parties.

Bici (bicicleta)

A common abbreviation for “bicicleta,” meaning “bicycle.” It’s used when talking about biking activities or related topics.

Other Common Spanish Abbreviations

EE.UU. (Estados Unidos)

This stands for “Estados Unidos,” which means “United States.”

RR.HH. (Recursos Humanos)

This abbreviation is for “Recursos Humanos,” meaning “Human Resources.” It’s widely used in business and professional contexts when referring to the department or functions related to employee management and organizational development.

IVA (Impuesto sobre el Valor Añadido)

This stands for the “Value Added Tax” (VAT) applied in Spain and other EU countries. It’s used frequently in financial, sales, and legal contexts.

DNI (Documento Nacional de Identidad)

The “National Identity Document” in Spain, similar to the Social Security number in the U.S. or ID numbers in other countries. It is a crucial identifier for citizens.

TV (Televisión)

Abbreviation for “television,” used universally both in written and oral form.

UE (Unión Europea)

Stands for “European Union.”

Mastering Spanish abbreviations is more than just learning shortcuts; it’s about understanding a vital component of everyday communication in Spanish-speaking cultures. From formal titles that show respect and professionalism to casual Spanish abbreviations that streamline texting and chatting, these linguistic shortcuts are essential for anyone looking to fluently navigate both personal and professional interactions in Spanish.

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