300 Technical English abbreviations list

Summary: The most useful acronyms and other short forms for engineers and other technical staff

By: | Audience: Teachers | Category: Teaching English for Specific Purposes | Topic: Vocabulary

First Published: 14th Jan. 2018 | Last Edited: 26th May. 2019

This is a list of acronyms and other common engineering abbreviations for chemicals, plastics, electronics, etc. 

  • 2D – (in) two dimensions
  • 3D – (in) three dimensions
  • 4G – fourth generation (technology)
  • 5G – fifth generation (technology)
  • A – ampere(s)
  • A/C – air conditioning
  • AC – alternating current
  • AI – artificial intelligence
  • AIM – amplitude intensity modulation
  • Al – aluminium
  • ALU – arithmetic logic unit
  • AM (radio) – amplitude modulation
  • amp – ampere(s)/ amplifier
  • app – (smartphone) application
  • approx. – approximately (= around/ about/ more or less)
  • AR – augmented reality
  • ARCNET – attached resource computer network
  • arms – armaments
  • ASCII - American Standard Code for Information Interchange
  • ASDL – asymmetric digital subscriber line
  • aux – auxiliary
  • av – (on) average
  • AV – audio-visual
  • BCC – blind carbon copy
  • biotech – biotechnology
  • bot – robot
  • BSI – British Standards Institution
  • btu – British thermal unit(s)
  • bulb – light bulb
  • (degrees) C – (degrees) Celsius/ Centigrade
  • C – carbon
  • c – centi- (as in “cm” for “centimetres” and “cl” for “centilitres”)
  • Ca – calcium
  • CAD (CAM) – computer aided design (computer aided manufacture)
  • (K)cal – (kilo)calorie(s)
  • cat – catalytic convertor
  • CC – carbon copy (also a verb, meaning to copy someone in)
  • cc – cubic centimetres
  • CCTV – closed circuit television
  • CD – compact disc (player)
  • CDU – central display unit
  • cell(phone) – cellular phone
  • CFC – chlorofluorocarbons
  • CGI – computer generated imagery
  • CIO – chief information officer/ chief investment officer
  • Co - cobalt
  • CO2 – carbon dioxide
  • coax - coaxial (cable)
  • comms – communications
  • cos – cosine
  • CPU – central processing unit
  • CRT – cathode ray tube
  • CSIRO – Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (of Australia)
  • CTO – chief technology officer
  • cu… – cubic…
  • cwt – hundredweight
  • d – deci- (as in “dl” for “decilitres”)
  • DAB – digital audio broadcasting (= digital radio)
  • dB – decibel(s)
  • DC – direct current
  • del/ DEL – delete (written abbreviation only)
  • demo – (product) demonstration
  • dish – satellite dish
  • DM – direct message
  • doc – document
  • DOE – Department of Energy
  • doz. – dozen (written abbreviation)
  • dozer – bulldozer
  • DVD – digital video disc/ digital versatile disc
  • e mail – electronic mail
  • EPA – Environmental Protection Agency
  • err/ ERR – error
  • esc/ ESC – escape (key) (written abbreviation)
  • est. – estimated
  • ext. – exterior/ external/ extract
  • F – fluorine
  • (degrees) F – (degrees) Fahrenheit
  • F1/ F2/ F… – function (button)
  • fax – facsimile
  • FDA – Food and Drug Administration
  • (J/JUG/MOS)FET – (junction/ junction gate/ metal-oxide semiconductor) field-effect transistor
  • FFWD – fast forward (written abbreviation)
  • fig. 1/ fig. 2/ fig… – figure 1/ figure 2/ figure…
  • fin tech –financial technology
  • fl. oz. – fluid ounce(s)
  • floppy – floppy disk
  • (mega)flops – (million) floating point operations per second
  • FM (radio) – frequency modulation (radio)
  • forklift – forklift truck
  • fridge – refrigerator
  • ft – foot/ feet
  • fwd/ FWD – forward (= send on)
  • g – (acceleration of) gravity
  • G – giga- (as in “GW” for “gigawatts” and “GHz” for “gigahertz”)
  • g – gram(s)
  • G/ GB/ gig – gigabyte(s)
  • gal – gallon
  • gas – gasoline/ natural gas
  • GM/ GMO – genetically modified (organism)
  • GPS – global positioning system
  • H – hydrogen
  • H&S – health and safety
  • ha – hectare
  • hash – hash sign (= pound sign)
  • hazmat – hazardous materials
  • HD(TV/ recorder) – high definition (television/ recorder)
  • HDD – hard disk drive
  • HDMI – high definition multimedia interface
  • He – helium
  • high spec – high specification
  • high vis (jacket) – high visibility (jacket)
  • hi-tech/ high tech – high technology
  • hp – horsepower
  • hr – hour(s)
  • HSE – Health and Safety Executive
  • HTML – hypertext markup language
  • HUD – head up display
  • Hz – hertz
  • I – iodine
  • I/O – input/ output (device)
  • IC – integrated circuit
  • ICT – information and communications technology
  • IEEE – Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
  • IM – instant message/ instant messenger
  • in – inch
  • INFOSEC – information systems security
  • IoT – (the) internet of things
  • IP – intellectual property
  • IP (address) – internet protocol (address)
  • ISDN – integrated services digital network
  • ISP – internet service provider
  • IT – information technology
  • ITSO – International Telecommunications Satellite Organisation
  • J – joule
  • K – Kelvin
  • k – kilo- (as in “kW” for “kilowatts” and “kJ” for “kilojoules”)
  • K/ KB – kilobyte
  • k/ km – kilometre
  • kg/ kilo – kilogramme/ kilogram (not kilometre)
  • kph – kilometres per hour
  • kt – knot
  • kWh – kilowatt hour(s)
  • l – litre
  • lab – laboratory
  • (V/W)LAN – (virtual/ wireless) local area network
  • laptop – laptop computer
  • lb – pound (weight, not currency)
  • LCD – liquid crystal display
  • (O)LED – (organic) light emitting diode
  • LHS – left-hand side
  • Li – lithium
  • lino – linoleum
  • LNG – liquid natural gas
  • LSI – large-scale integrated (circuit)
  • LW (radio) – longwave (radio)
  • M – mega-
  • m – milli- (as in “mm” for “millimetres”, “mg” for “milligrams”, and “ml” for “millilitres”)
  • m/ M – million (as in “$15m”)
  • mail – email
  • math/ maths – mathematics
  • max – maximum
  • MB/ meg – megabyte(s)
  • MDF – medium-density fibreboard
  • meths – methylated spirits
  • MF – melamine formaldehyde (used in Formica)
  • mic/ mike – microphone
  • microwave – microwave oven
  • mil – millimetres/ million
  • min – minimum/ minute(s) (mainly written)
  • MIPS – million instructions per second
  • mobile – mobile phone
  • MoD – Ministry of Defence
  • mono – monaural
  • MOS – metal oxide semiconductor
  • MOX (fuel) – mixed oxide fuel (a kind of nuclear fuel)
  • mp3 – mp3 player/ mp3 file
  • mpg – miles per gallon
  • mph – miles per hour
  • MRI – magnetic resonance imaging
  • MSG – monosodium glutamate
  • MW – megawatts/ medium wave
  • n – nano
  • N – Newton
  • N – nitrogen
  • NASA – National Aeronautics and Space Administration
  • Ne – neon
  • Ni – nickel
  • NIST – National Institute of Standards and Technology
  • nm/ nmi – nautical mile
  • NSFW – not safe for work
  • O – oxygen
  • OA – office automation
  • OP – original poster
  • OS – operating system/ Ordinance Survey (map)
  • OSSN – originating stations serial number
  • OTS – off the shelf
  • oz – ounce(s)
  • P – peta- (as in “PB” for “petabytes”)
  • P – phosphorus
  • p – pico
  • PA – public address (system) (= Tannoy)
  • PAL – programmable array logic
  • PBX – private branch exchange
  • PC – personal computer
  • PCB – printed circuit board
  • PCM – pulse code modulation
  • (HD)PE – (high density) polyethylene
  • PET – polyethylene terephthalate
  • PFM – pulse frequency modulation
  • (P)PGA – (plastic) pin grid array
  • phone – telephone
  • PIN (number) – personal identification number
  • PP – polypropylene
  • PPI – parallel port interface
  • ppm – parts per million
  • prefab – prefabricated
  • psi – pounds per square inch
  • pt – pint
  • PTFE – polytetrafluoroethylene (= Teflon)
  • PVC – polyvinyl chloride
  • QA/ QC – quality assurance/ quality control
  • QR (code) – quick response code
  • quake – earthquake
  • r – radius
  • R&D – research and development
  • (D/S)RAM – (dynamic/ static) random access memory
  • remote – remote control
  • rep – (online) reputation
  • reverb – reverberation
  • revs – revolutions (per minute)
  • RFID – radio frequency identification
  • RGB – red green blue
  • RHS – right-hand side
  • ROM – read only memory
  • rpm – revolutions per minute
  • RRR/ the three Rs – reduce, reuse, recycle
  • rules and regs – rules and regulations
  • S – sulphur
  • SCSI – small computer system interface
  • (SD)SDI (standard definition) serial digital interface
  • SEO – search engine optimization
  • SFDR – spurious free dynamic range
  • short – short circuit
  • Si – silicon
  • sim – simulation
  • SIM (card) – subscriber identity module (card)
  • SIM (card) – subscriber identity module/ subscriber identification module
  • site – website
  • SMS – short message service
  • SNR – signal-to-noise ratio
  • speaker – loudspeaker
  • specs – specifications
  • spy cam – spy camera
  • sq… – square…
  • SQL – structured query language
  • SSD – solid state drive
  • SSI – small scale integration/ synchronous serial interface
  • SSR – solid state relay
  • st – stone (= 14lb)
  • stats – statistics
  • STEM – science technology engineering and maths
  • stereo – stereophonic
  • SW (radio) – shortwave (radio)
  • T – tera- (as in “TB” for “terabytes”)
  • tarp – tarpaulin
  • tech – technical/ technology
  • telecoms – telecommunications
  • teleconference – telephone conference
  • temp – temperature
  • Ti – titanium
  • trig – trigonometry
  • (CA)TV/ telly – (cable) television
  • U – uranium
  • UHF – ultra high frequency
  • UMTS – Universal Mobile Telecommunications System
  • url/ URL – uniform resource locator
  • USB (stick) – universal serial bus
  • USIM – universal subscriber identity module
  • USP – (unique) selling points
  • UV (light) – ultraviolet (light)
  • V – volts
  • VCR – video cassette recorder
  • VDU – video display unit
  • Ver. 1./ Ver. 2.0/ Ver… – version…
  • VHF – very high frequency
  • VHS- Video Home System
  • vid – video
  • video cam – video camera
  • vlog – video log/ video blog
  • vocoder – voice coder
  • VoIP – voice over internet protocol (e.g. Skype)
  • vol – volume (written abbreviation)
  • VPN – virtual private network
  • VR – virtual reality (literally meaning very nearly reality)
  • W – watt(s)
  • WAN – wide area network
  • wellies – wellington boots (= rubber boots/ galoshes)
  • www – worldwide web
  • wysiwyg – what you see is what you get
  • Y2K (bug) – year 2000 (bug)
  • yd – yard(s)

Copyright © 2018

Written by Alex Case for UsingEnglish.com

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