n.b., etc.

Last week one of my colleagues asked me if I knew what "n.b." meant. "Of course, " I said. "It's short for nota bene, Latin for note well."

It had been used in a document from someone in the UK. Apparently n.b. isn't very common in the US. I asked my colleague if he knew what i.e. and e.g. meant. Of course he did.

So then I decided to do an experiment. I wrote up the following on my whiteboard:

They were six Latinate abbreviations I could think of off the top of my head, roughly in order of how likely I thought it was that my colleagues would (1) have ever seen them; (2) know the meaning of them; (3) use them themselves. (Yes, there are others like etc. and ibid. but the above were the six I thought of at the time)

Anyway, it turns out the people I asked in the office were familiar with and used i.e. and e.g. but none were familiar with n.b., cf., q.v. or viz.

Feel free to comment below on which of the six you (1) have seen; (2) know the meaning of; (3) would use.

UPDATE: Professor Conrad pointed out that c.f. should be cf. which I've corrected above.

The original post was in the category: linguistic_observations but I'm still in the process of migrating categories over.

The original post had 21 comments I'm in the process of migrating over.