40 Business Acronyms and Business Abbreviations You Should Know

These days, we don’t always have the time to use full words or speak in complete sentences. The advent of text-speak and internet lingo has conditioned many of us to seek out the most efficient routes of communication. While far from a novel invention, acronyms’ prevalence makes knowing the most common ones imperative. Below are 40 useful terms parsed out, as well as a bit of history on the usage of acronyms.

Since the times of ancient Rome, acronyms helped to alleviate some of the burden of wordiness. Several acronyms coined during the Roman Empire are still in use today, such as AM and PM (ante meridiem and post meridiem, meaning “before noon” and “after noon”), and also AD, which denotes the time period after the birth of Christ and comes from the Latin anno domini, meaning “in the year of our Lord.”

As the Industrial Revolution took hold across the Western world in the 19th century, acronyms spread exponentially. They were created for corporations, railroads, stock exchanges, telecommunications, oil and gas, and numerous other enterprises that utilized technical language at an increasing rate. The 20th century added to the mix a host of acronyms related to the implements of war: tanks, planes, and weaponry possessed an intricate lexicon all their own – one that called for condensing and shortening information to be passed on as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Today, many of our acronyms stem from the world of information technology. While the plethora of letter jumbles may, at times, seem more daunting than the words themselves, the expediency and pith of acronyms makes them a well-loved form of communicating complex ideas.

40 Useful Business Acronyms and Abbreviations

ABC – always be closing
ASAP – as soon as possible
B2B – business to business
B2C – business to consumer
CAD – computer aided design
CEO – chief executive officer
CFO – chief financial officer
CIO – chief investment officer/chief information officer
CMO – chief marketing officer
COO – chief operating officer
CTO – chief technology officer
DOE – depending on experiment
EBITDA – earning before interests, taxes, depreciation and amortization
EOD – end of day/end of discussion
ERP – enterprise resource planning (business management software that a company can use to store and manage data from every stage of business)
ESOP – employee stock ownership plan
ETA – estimated time of arrival
FYI – for your information
HTML – hypertext mark-up language
IPO – initial public offering
ISP – internet service provider
KPI – key performance indicators
LLC – limited liability company
MILE – maximum impact, little effort
MOOC – massive open online course
MSRP – manufacturer’s suggested retail price
NDA – non-disclosure agreement
NOI – net operating income
NRN – no reply necessary
OTC – over the counter
PR – public relations
QC – quality control
R & D – research and development
RFP – request for proposal
ROI – return on investment
RRP – recommended retail price
SEO – search engine optimization
SLA – service level agreement
VAT – value added tax
VPN – virtual private network

[Photograph: “City, crowded office space” by Adolph B. Rice Studio, September 19, 1955]

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26 Comments
  • AltaTranslation
    Posted at 11:47h, 17 February Reply

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    Posted at 11:59h, 17 February Reply

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    Posted at 12:00h, 17 February Reply

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    Posted at 12:25h, 17 February Reply

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    Posted at 13:28h, 17 February Reply

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    Posted at 10:16h, 18 February Reply

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  • RO_Translation
    Posted at 14:21h, 18 February Reply

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  • BarclayBtb
    Posted at 14:32h, 18 February Reply

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  • mstelmaszak
    Posted at 06:45h, 19 February Reply

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  • TranslateWay
    Posted at 07:13h, 19 February Reply

    RT @mstelmaszak: 40 #Business Acronyms and Business Abbreviations You Should Know http://t.co/tLdA0hzmc5 – good list for a #linguist

  • bmbhalo
    Posted at 08:04h, 19 February Reply

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  • saadsubzwari
    Posted at 08:23h, 19 February Reply

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  • T4Escobedo
    Posted at 16:35h, 19 February Reply

    RT @saadsubzwari: 40 #Business Acronyms and Business Abbreviations You Should Know http://t.co/BHKiw1Iy5C – good list for a #linguist

  • MoeFarqi
    Posted at 16:35h, 19 February Reply

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  • SilverSkytoon
    Posted at 16:43h, 19 February Reply

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  • transGalator
    Posted at 16:45h, 19 February Reply

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  • ToThePonka
    Posted at 16:46h, 19 February Reply

    RT @saadsubzwari: 40 #Business Acronyms and Business Abbreviations You Should Know http://t.co/BHKiw1Iy5C – good list for a #linguist

  • DuqFal
    Posted at 16:51h, 19 February Reply

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  • AltaTranslation
    Posted at 10:49h, 20 February Reply

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  • ci3m
    Posted at 11:08h, 20 February Reply

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  • galata101
    Posted at 21:29h, 20 February Reply

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  • Camille
    Posted at 02:14h, 24 March Reply

    I want to know some writers who have published their works about the use of abbreviation in business English or the translation skills of abbreviation in business English. I hope someone could help me.

  • David
    Posted at 17:05h, 11 August Reply
  • Instructional Designer
    Posted at 13:34h, 02 September Reply

    DOE can also be “depending on experience.”

  • Yaw Nam Myitung
    Posted at 22:41h, 14 November Reply

    Very good.

  • Acram
    Posted at 10:27h, 18 November Reply

    I think the technical abbreviations very wide and all the competence and have become an integral part of international standards and various fields part.
    PM
    Acram Matar

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