Abbreviations

When did it become necessary for us to abbreviate everything in our lives? I’ve been pondering the situation since undertaking a series of medical tests: MRI, A&E, ECG and ENT, you name it, there’s an acronym or abbreviation for it.

Everywhere you look there’s another. Kentucky Fried Chicken became KFC, Transport for London is TfL and the Metropolitan Police is just the Met. The BBC’s excellent Line of Duty is littered with them. I’m sure there are dozens of other examples, and I just don’t know why.

Are we supposed to be saving seconds of our valuable time by just voicing the letters? I assume that they feel they are so familiar that they don’t need to have the words said to be identifiable.

I’ll admit that I am old-fashioned. I don’t care for change. I’d be happy to say the words, and most days I have the time.

9 thoughts on “Abbreviations”

    1. Next time Jed Mercurio writes an episode of Line of Duty he should include an NHS oversight meeting, just to confuse us even more.

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  1. Because I joined the Ambulance Service in 1979, I was used to the medical abbreviations within a few weeks. Most make sense, once you know why they are shortened. For example, MRI would have to be written or typed as Magnetic Resonance Imaging on every form and patient record. It would also require much longer signboards and door name-plates in every hospital.
    Then I went to work for the Met Police, and completely understood the need for abbreviations. A good example would be S015 CTC. This would have to be written as Special Operations Department 15, Counter-Terrorism Command.
    Cheers, Pete.

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    1. Yes, I have no problem with that, though CI, for Confidential informant, was changed by them to CHIS, a Covert Human Intelligence Source. That threw me, as it was probably changed after I retired from the police in 2012.

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