186 top useful Spanish abbreviations & acronyms you need in life

In a hurry? Try using one of these 180+ Spanish abbreviations and acronyms!

It seems that everyone is in a rush these days, and that comes through even in how we speak. From the way we talk to the way we write, abbreviations help us be succinct by shortening long words, thus helping us avoid unnecessary repetition. 

While abbreviations in Spanish very commonly involve some Spanish slang, they are also used in formal settings all the time. Abbreviations like Dr. or Mr. can be spotted in the fanciest of events, and even organizations of global importance, like the UN or the IMF, rely on acronyms. So, whether you’re learning Spanish to talk with your extended family, to do big business in a Spanish-speaking country, or simply to order a meal at a restaurant, learning some acronyms will be truly helpful. 

In the spirit of brevity, let’s get right to it! We’ve covered 180+ acronyms and abbreviations in Spanish, which we’ve broken down into different categories to help you navigate them more easily.   

What are abbreviations?

Abbreviations are shortened forms of words or phrases that are generally understood by the majority of the population. For example, a common abbreviation in English is “USA.” Through extensive use, this three-word acronym has become synonymous with — if not central to the identity of — the United States of America. See how that three-word acronym saved us 18 whole characters? Nifty!

Spanish abbreviations of the United States of America

Types of abbreviations included in this article:

There are many different types of abbreviations. While many of them are initialisms, such as in our example above, there are many other common types of abbreviations that we use in our daily life. Here are some of the most common ones:

  • Acronyms:These are abbreviations that use the first letter or first couple of letters of each word and are pronounced as a new word. For example, NASA is an acronym as it’s pronounced as a word rather than as individual letters.
  • Initialisms: These are abbreviations that use the first letter of each word and are read as individual letters. For example, you say U-S-A instead of USA as one word (oosa). 
  • Portmanteaus: These take a part of two or more words and blend them together to form a new one. For example, brunch takes a part from “breakfast” and “lunch” and combines them into a better meal, often involving some fun drinks!  
  • Clipped words: These abbreviations take a shortened version of a word that makes what you’re trying to say clear enough without having to say the full word. For example, “approx” is a common way to clip “approximately.”
  • Symbols: These are symbols used to measure things like time, weight, and length. Think lbs, mins, and in

One common type of abbreviation that is absent from Spanish is contractions. These are very common in English, as they help us contract two words into one, such as it’s (it is), they’re (they are), and won’t (will not). Spanish doesn’t use contractions, so you’ll have to spell out each word individually. 

Top common Spanish abbreviations

There are countless abbreviations that may be a little confusing to a non-native speaker. But fret not! This handy guide will walk you through all the essential acronyms, initialisms, and symbols that you need. In no time, you’ll be using these to speak Spanish like a true native!

Here are the most common Spanish abbreviations.

SpanishWhat it stands forEnglish Spanish pronunciationIPA
tqmTe quiero muchoI like you a lotte ˈkjeɾo ˈmuʧoteh key-air-oh moo-cho
ccCon copiaCarbon copy (cc)kon ˈkopjacohn co-pee-ah
EE. UU.Estados UnidosUnited Statesesˈtaðos uˈniðosehs-tah-doss oo-nee-doss
c/uCada unoEach oneˈkaða ˈunocah-dah oo-no
qepdQue en paz descanseRest in peace (RIP)ˈke em ˈpað ðesˈkansekeh ehn paz dess-cahn-seh
tel.TeléfonoPhone numberteˈlefonoteh-leh-fo-no
Ud. UstedYou (formal)usˈteðoos-tehd
P. D. PosdataPSpozˈðatapos-da-tah
atte.AtentamenteSincerely (signing off on an email or letter)atentaˈmenteah-tehn-ta-mehn-teh
C.P. Código postalZip codeˈkoðiɣo posˈtalcoh-dee-goh poss-tahl
m. n.Moneda nacionalNational currencymoˈneða naθjoˈnalmo-neh-dah nah-see-oh-nal
OVNIObjeto volador no identificadoUFOoβˈxeto βolaˈðoɾ ˈno jðentifiˈkaðoob-heh-toe vo-lah-door no e-dehn-tee-fee-cah-do
VIPVery important personVIPˈbeɾi impoɾˈtant ˈpeɾsonveep

Spanish abbreviations for texting

If you’ve checked out our tips to learn Spanish fast, you know that making Spanish-speaking friends is one of the best ways to give your learning a boost. As you keep in touch with your friends through WhatsApp, you’ll definitely run into some of the following common Spanish abbreviations for texting. 

SpanishWhat it stands forEnglishSpanish pronunciationIPA
tkmTe kiero muchoI like you a lotte ˈkjeɾo ˈmuʧoteh key-air-oh moo-cho
xqPor qué/porqueWhy/becausepoɾ ˈkepoɾkepore kay/pore keh
q tal?¿Qué tal?What’s up? ˈke ˈtal ‖keh tall
esqEs queIt’s just thatˈes ˈkeess keh
gpiGracias por invitarThanks for the inviteˈɡɾaθjas poɾ imbiˈtaɾgrah-see-ass pore een-vee-tar
xfaPor favorPleasepoɾ faˈβoɾpore fah-vore
tqTe quieroI like youtamˈbjenteh key-air-oh
ntpNo te preocupesDon’t worryˈno te pɾeoˈkupesno teh preh-oh-coo-pess
npwNo ‘pos wowWowˈno ˈpos ˈwowno poss wow
cdtCuídateTake careˈkwiðatecoo-e-da-teh
dndDe nadaYou’re welcomede ˈnaðadeh na-dah
d+De másExtrade ˈmasde mas
nlsNo lo séIDKˈno lo ˈseno lo seh
masoMás o menosMore or lessˈmas o ˈmenosmas o meh-noss
ntcNo te creasJKˈno te ˈkɾeasno teh creh-ass
no cNo séIDKˈno ˈseno seh

Two friends laughing in a park over Spanish texting abbreviations

Abbreviations for time and space

Abbreviating time and space is one of the best ways to save time and energy. Who wants to say, “Hey, let’s grab a coffee at 1 post meridien”? Nobody! That’s why we use these handy abbreviations to help us simplify our everyday conversations.

SpanishWhat it stands forEnglishSpanish pronunciationIPA
a. m. Antes del mediodíaa. m. ˈantez ðel meðjoˈðiaan-tess del meh-dee-oh-dee-ah
p. m.Post meridienp. m.ˈpost meˈɾiðjenpost meridien
a. C.Antes de CristoBefore Christ (BC)ˈantez ðe ˈkɾistoahn-tess deh crees-toe
d. C.Después de CristoAfter Christ (AC)desˈpwez ðe ˈkɾistodes-poo-ess deh crees-toe

Spanish months abbreviations

Abbreviating the months in Spanish can be an easy way to make specific plans with friends and family. You can even use these on a digital flier if you want to plan a fun party! 

SpanishWhat it stands forEnglishSpanish pronunciationIPA
SepSeptiembreSeptember sepˈtjembɾesep-tee-ehm-breh

Spanish days of the week abbreviations

Like the month abbreviations above, these can help you when you need to plan an event or simply want to get an ice-cold beer with your friends. We all know the days of the week in Spanish, so why waste time writing them out when we’re all on the same page? 

SpanishWhat it stands forEnglishSpanish pronunciationIPA

Abbreviations for professions

Abbreviated professions and titles are very common ways to introduce people. You’ll very commonly see these in directories, name lists, business cards, office doors, and even on event invitations!

SpanishWhat it stands forEnglishSpanish pronunciationIPA

How to abbreviate doctor in Spanish with an image of a smiling doctor with stethoscope.

Spanish measurement abbreviations

We use abbreviations for measurements all the time. From cooking recipes to clothes sizing guides, we can’t escape them! And in case you’re wondering, all Spanish-speaking countries use the metric measuring system, so forget about inches and start getting used to centimeters! 

SpanishWhat it stands forEnglishSpanish pronunciationIPA
cm2Centímetro cuadradoSquared centimeterθenˈtimetɾo kwaˈðɾaðosehn-tee-meh-troh coo-ah-drah-doe
m2Metro cuadradoSquared meterˈmetɾo kwaˈðɾaðomeh-troh coo-ah-dra-doh
km2Kilómetro cuadradoSquared kilometerkiˈlometɾo kwaˈðɾaðokee-lo-meh-troh coo-ah-dra-doh
cm3Centímetro cúbicoCubic centimeterθenˈtimetɾo ˈkuβikosehn-tee-meh-troh coo-bee-coh
m3Metro cuadradoCubic meterˈmetɾo kwaˈðɾaðomeh-troh coo-ah-dra-doh
km3Kilómetro cuadradoCubic kilometerkiˈlometɾo kwaˈðɾaðokee-lo-meh-troh coo-ah-dra-doh
km/hKilómetros por horaKilometers per hourkiˈlometɾos poɾ ˈoɾakee-lo-meh-tross pore oh-rah

Spanish abbreviations by country

Even within Spanish speaking countries, there are many regional and national variations of abbreviations. What could mean something in one place can also mean something completely different in another. For example, the acronym SAT in Spain stands for Sociedades Agrarias de Transformación (agrarian societies), whereas in Mexico it stands for the much-dreaded Servicio de Administración Tributaria — the tax authority!

We’ll cover a few variations of common abbreviations in a few Spanish-speaking countries.


Before we go in on the individual countries, let’s take a look at some acronyms of global importance. Here are a few international organizations and agencies that you

SpanishWhat it stands forEnglishSpanish pronunciationIPA
ONUOrganización de las Naciones UnidasUnited Nationsoɾɣaniθaˈθjon de laz naˈθjones uˈniðasore-gah-nee-sa-see-ohn deh lass nah-see-oh-ness oo-nee-das
OCDEOrganización para la Cooperación y el Desarrollo EconómicoOECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Developmentoɾɣaniθaˈθjom ˈpaɾa la koopeɾaˈθjon j el desaˈroʎo ekoˈnomikoore-gah-nee-sah-see-ohn pa-rah la co-oh-peh-rah-see-ohn e elle deh-sah-ro-yoh eh-co-no-me-co
UNESCOOrganización de las Naciones Unidas para la educación,ciencia y culturaUNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization)oɾɣaniθaˈθjon de laz naˈθjones uˈniðas ˈpaɾa la eðukaˈθjon |ˈθjenθja j kulˈtuɾa ‖ore-gah-nee-sah-see-ohn deh lass nah-see-oh-ness oo-nee-das pah
UEUnión EuropeaEuropean Unionuˈnjon ewɾoˈpeaoo-nee-ohn eh-oo-ro-peh-ah
COIComíté Olímpico InternacionalInternational Olympic Committeekomiˈte oˈlimpiko jnteɾnaθjoˈnalcoh-mee-teh oh-leem-pee-co een-tehr-nah-see-oh-nahl
FIFAFederación Internacional de Fútbol AsociaciónInternational Association Football Federationfeðeɾaˈθjon inteɾnaθjoˈnal de ˈfutβol asoθjaˈθjonfeh-deh-rah-see-ohn een-tehr-na-see-oh-nall deh foot-boll ah-so-see-ah-see-ohn
IVAImpuesto al valor agregadoValue-added tax (VAT)imˈpwesto al βaˈloɾ aɣɾeˈɣaðoeem-poo-ehs-toe all vah-lore ah-greh-ga-doe
MercosurMercado Común del SurSouthern Common Marketmeɾˈkaðo koˈmun del ˈsuɾmer-ca-doe co-moon dell soor
NASAAdministración Nacional de Aeronáutica y el EspacioNational Aeronautic and Space Administrationaðministɾaˈθjon naθjoˈnal de aeɾoˈnawtika j el esˈpaθjoadd-me-nees-trah-see-ohn nah-see-oh-nall deh ah-eh-ro-nah-oo-tee-cah e elle ess-pah-see-oh
OTANOrganización del Tratado del Atlántico NorteNorth Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)oɾɣaniθaˈθjon del tɾaˈtaðo ðel atˈlantiko ˈnoɾteore-gah-nee-sah-see-ohn dell trah-ta-doe dell ah-tlan-tee-co nore-teh
UnasurUnión de Naciones SuramericanaUnion of South American Nationsuˈnjon de naˈθjones suɾameɾiˈkanaoo-nee-ohn deh nah-see-oh-ness soor-ah-meh-ree-cah-nass
UNESCOOrganización de las Naciones Unidas para la Educación, la Ciencia y la CulturaUnited Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organizationoɾɣaniθaˈθjon de laz naˈθjones uˈniðas ˈpaɾa la eðukaˈθjon | la ˈθjenθja j la kulˈtuɾaore-gah-nee-sah-see-ohn deh lass nah-see-oh-ness oo-nee-dass pah-rah la eh-doo-cah-see-ohn e cool-too-rah
UNICEFFondo de las Naciones Unidas para la InfanciaUnited Nations International Children’s Emergency Fundˈfondo ðe laz naˈθjones uˈniðas ˈpaɾa la jmˈfanθjafon-doh deh lass nah-see-oh-ness oo-nee-das pah-rah la een-fan-see-ah
ONGOrganización no gubernamentalNon-governmental organizationoɾɣaniθaˈθjon ˈno ɣuβeɾnamenˈtalore-gah-nee-sah-see-ohn no goo-behr-na-men-tall
OMSOrganización Mundial de la SaludWorld Health Organization (WHO)oɾɣaniθaˈθjom munˈdjal de la saˈluðore-gah-nee-sah-see-ohn moon-dee-all deh la sah-lood
FMIFondo Monetario InternacionalInternational Monetary Fund (IMF)ˈfondo moneˈtaɾjo jnteɾnaθjoˈnalfon-doe mo-neh-ta-ree-oh een-ter-nah-see-oh-nall
UEFAUnión de Asociaciones Europeas de FútbolUnion of European Football Associationsuˈnjon de asoθjaˈθjones ewɾoˈpeaz ðe ˈfutβoloo-nee-ohn deh ah-so-see-ah-see-oh-ness eh-oo-ro-peh-ass deh foot-boll
Pyme.Pequeña y mediana empresaSmall and medium sized businesspeˈkeɲa j meˈðjana emˈpɾesapeh-keh-nyah e meh-dee-ah-na em-preh-sah


Spain uses acronyms to describe a number of governmental and non-governmental agencies. These are just a few to keep in mind if you’re thinking about moving to Spain or even for a fun summer trip!

SpanishWhat it stands forEnglishSpanish pronunciationIPA
RAEReal Academia EspañolaRoyal Academy of Spanishreˈal akaˈðemja espaˈɲolaeh-all ah-ca-deh-me-ah es-pah-nyol-ah
Drae.Diccionario de la Real Academia EspañolaDictionary of the Royal Academy of Spanishdikθjoˈnaɾjo ðe la reˈal akaˈðemja espaˈɲoladeec-see-oh-nah-ree-oh deh la reh-all ah-ca-deh-me-ah ess-pah-nyol-ah
EEEEspacio Económico EuropeoEuropean Economic Spaceesˈpaθjo ekoˈnomiko ewɾoˈpeoes-pah-see-oh eh-co-no-me-co eh-oo-ro-peh-oh
DNIDocumento Nacional de IdentidadNational Identity Documentdokuˈmento naθjoˈnal de jðentiˈðaðdo-coo-mehn-toe nah-see-oh-nal de e-dehn-tee-dad
CE Comunidad EuropeaEuropean Communitykomuniˈðað ewɾoˈpeaco-moo-nee-dad eh-oo-ro-peh-ah
INEInstituto Nacional de EstadísticaNational Institute of Statisticsinstiˈtuto naθjoˈnal de estaˈðistikaeens-tee-too-to nah-see-oh-nall deh ess-ta-dees-tee-cah


Mexico uses acronyms and abbreviations for a number of places, agencies, and even food! Knowing a few of these can be extremely helpful even if you’re just going down to Mexico for a quick weekend trip. 

SpanishWhat it stands forEnglishSpanish pronunciationIPA
CDMX Ciudad de MéxicoMexico Cityθjuˈðað ðe ˈmexikosee-ooh-dad deh meh-he-co
SATServicio de Administración TributariaMexican tax authority, equivalent to the IRS in the U.S.seɾˈβiθjo ðe aðministɾaˈθjon tɾiβuˈtaɾjaser-vee-see-oh deh ad-me-nees-trah-see-ohn tree-boo-ta-re-ah
SRESecretaría de Relaciones ExterioresSecretary of Foreign Affairssekɾetaˈɾia ðe relaˈθjones eksteˈɾjoɾesseh-creh-ta-ree-ah deh reh-la-see-oh-ness ex-teh-ree-oh-ress
COFEPRISComisión Federal para la Protección contra Riesgos SanitariosMexican health authoritykomiˈsjom feðeˈɾal ˈpaɾa la pɾotekˈθjon ˈkontɾa ˈrjezɣos saniˈtaɾjosco-me-see-ohn feh-deh-rall pah-ra la pro-tec-see-ohn con-trah ree-ess-goss sa-nee-ta-re-oss
BanxicoBanco de MéxicoBank of Mexicoˈbanko ðe ˈmexikoban-co deh meh-he-co
ConacytConsejo Nacional de Ciencia y TecnologíaNational council on science and technologykonˈsexo naθjoˈnal de ˈθjenθja j teknoloˈxiacon-seh-ho nah-see-oh-nall deh see-ehn-see-ah e tec-no-lo-he-ah
INEInstituto Nacional ElectoralNational Electoral Instituteinstiˈtuto naθjoˈnal elektoˈɾaleens-tee-too-to nah-see-oh-nall eh-lec-tore-all
UNAMUniversidad Nacional de MéxicoNational University of Mexico (Top public university in the country)uniβeɾsiˈðað naθjoˈnal de ˈmexikooo-nee-ver-see-dad nah-see-oh-nall deh meh-he-co
DogoHot dogHot dogˈxot ˈðoɣhot dog


Like the other countries on this list, Colombia uses abbreviations for government agencies and other organizations. Here are a few important ones to keep in mind.

SpanishWhat it stands forEnglishSpanish pronunciationIPA
ColfútbolFederación Colombiana de FútbolColombian Federation of Football (Soccer)feðeɾaˈθjon kolomˈbjana ðe ˈfutβolfeh-deh-rah-see-ohn co-lom-bee-ah-na deh foot-ball
DAMADepartamento Administrativo del Medio AmbienteAdministrative Department of the Environmentdepaɾtaˈmento aðministɾaˈtiβo ðel ˈmeðjo amˈbjentedeh-par-ta-men-toe ad-me-nees-tra-tee-vo dell meh-dee-oh am-bee-ehn-teh
Dian.Dirección de Impuestos y Aduanas NacionalesNational Directorate of Taxes and Customsdiɾekˈθjon de jmˈpwestos j aˈðwanaz naθjoˈnalesdee-rec-see-ohn deh eem-poo-ess-toss e ah-doo-ah-nass nah-see-oh-nah-less
UNALUniversidad Nacional de ColombiaNational University of Colombiauniβeɾsiˈðað naθjoˈnal de koˈlombjaoo-nee-ver-see-dad nah-see-oh-nall deh co-lom-bee-ah


If you’re visiting Argentina, there is one abbreviation that you must know: Bs As. Perhaps you can figure out what it means if you already have some experience in the country, and if not, we’ll let you know in the table below!

SpanishWhat it stands forEnglishSpanish pronunciationIPA
Bs. As. Buenos AiresBuenos Airesˈbwenos ˈajɾesboo-eh-noss ah-e-ress
CofemaConsejo Federal de Medio AmbienteFederal Council on the Environmentkonˈsexo feðeˈɾal de ˈmeðjo amˈbjentecon-seh-hoh feh-deh-rall deh meh-dee-oh am-bee-ehn-teh
SecturSecretaría de TurismoSecretariat of Tourismsekɾetaˈɾia ðe tuˈɾizmoseh-creh-tah-ree-ah deh toor-ees-mo
UBAUniversidad de Buenos AiresBuenos Aires Universityuniβeɾsiˈðað ðe ˈβwenos ˈajɾesoo-nee-ver-see-dad deh boo-eh-noss ah-e-ress

FAQs about abbreviations in Spanish

How do I say LOL in Spanish?

You’re probably used to saying “LOL” “lol” or any of the many variations to express that something is really funny in English. However, in Spanish, using acronyms to laugh isn’t all that popular. Instead, we use one of the following: 

  • Jajajaja
  • Jejejeje
  • Jiji
  • Ajajaja
  • Qué risa

Of course, “jaja” is the most common, and the more “ja”s you add, the louder and deeper the laugh! You can also use all caps if you found something intensely funny — don’t be shy!  

How to say LOL in Spanish with laughing man typing a text with blue wall background.

Can you abbreviate 1st 2nd and 3rd in Spanish?

Yes! Abbreviating ordinal numbers in Spanish is as easy as adding a º or ª after the number. This is depending on the gender of the noun that you’re trying to modify —  º for masculine and ª for feminine. Here are some examples:

SpanishWhat it stands forEnglishIPAPronunciation
1º / 1ªPrimero, primera1stpɾiˈmeɾo | pɾiˈmeɾapre-meh-ro / pre-meh-ra
2º / 2ªSegundo, segunda2ndseˈɣundo | seˈɣundaseh-goon-doe / seh-goon-da
3º / 3ªTercero, tercera3rdteɾˈθeɾo | teɾˈθeɾatehr-seh-ro / teh-seh-ra
4º / 4ªCuarto, cuarta4thˈkwaɾto | ˈkwaɾtacoo-are-toe / coo-are-ta
5º / 5ªQuinto, quinta5thˈkinto | ˈkintakeen-toe / keen-ta
6º / 6ªSexto, sexta6thˈseksto | ˈsekstasex-toe / sex-ta
7º / 7ªSéptimo, séptima7thˈseptimo | ˈseptimasep-tee-mo / sep-tee-ma
8º / 8ªOctavo, octava8thokˈtaβo | okˈtaβaoc-ta-vo / oc-ta-va
9º / 9ªNoveno, novena9thnoˈβeno | noˈβenano-veh-no / no-veh-na
10º / 10ªDécimo, décima10thˈdeθimo | ˈdeθimadeh-see-mo / deh-see-ma

How do you abbreviate United States in Spanish?

The abbreviation of the United States in Spanish is EE. UU. This abbreviation uses two initials because it is abbreviating a plural word. In Spanish, you have to use double initials to represent a plural word. If you abbreviated Estados Unidos as simply E.U., then it would stand for Estado Unido

Here are a few examples of the initial doubling in Spanish:

SpanishWhat it stands forEnglishIPAPronunciation
EE. UU.Estados UnidosUnited Statesesˈtaðos uˈniðosess-ta-doss oo-nee-doss
RR. II.Relaciones internacionalesInternational relationsrelaˈθjones inteɾnaθjoˈnalesreh-la-see-oh-ness een-tehr-na-see-oh-na-less
DD. HHDerechos humanosHuman rightsdeˈɾeʧos uˈmanosdeh-re-chos oo-mah-noss

Shortcut your way to a higher level!

Just because you’ve learned some great new abbreviations and acronyms doesn’t mean you have to cut your study time short! Now you can use the time saved to continue working on improving your Spanish fluency. Perhaps you might want to try out some of the longest words in Spanish to balance it out!

Make sure to take a look at our free Spanish blog vocabulary lessons for more helpful guides. We publish actionable, vocabulary-centered content that is designed to help you improve your Spanish right away.   

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