40 Common French Acronyms and Abbreviations

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July 20, 2019

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Learning French requires that you read a lot. But while reading, you will come across some French acronyms and abbreviations. To help you decipher those letters, in this article we will be introducing you to a list of 40 common abbreviations in the French language.

If you’re looking for shortcuts used in messaging, there is a separate article for that (see: French Text Slang and Messaging Abbreviations).  For this one, it’s all about French acronyms commonly found in daily speech as well as in French news articles.

Common French Abbreviations

Keep in mind that French abbreviations and acronyms can be different in English so it's important to learn them now. 

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Now without further ado, here's your list of French abbreviations and acronyms.

French Acronyms and Abbreviations List

ABagriculture biologiqueorganic farming
ADNacide désoxyribonucléiqueDNA (deoxyribonucleic acid)
AOCAppellation d'origine contrôléeguarantee of origin
APIAlphabet phonétique internationalIPA (International Phonetic Alphabet)
BCBGbon chic bon genrePreppy
BDBande Dessinéecomics/ comic book
BPboîte postalepost office box (P.O. Box)
CBcarte bleue, carte bancairecredit/ debit card
CDDcontrat à durée déterminéeshort-term contract
CDIcontrat à durée indéterminéelong-term/permanent contract
Ciecompagniecompany (Co.)
CVcurriculum vitaerésumé
DADirection ArtistiqueArtistic direction (used when discussing movies or video games)
DABdistributeur automatique de billetsATM (automated teller machine)
DELFdiplôme d'études en langue françaisea certification issued for French language proficiency
É.-U.États-UnisUnited States (U.S.)
FLEFrançais Langue EtrangèreFrench as a foreign language (similar to ESL teaching certifications)
Gogiga octetGB (gigabyte)
hHeureo'clock
HThors taxesubtotal excluding tax/ tax not included
Momega octetMB (megabyte)
ONGorganisation non gouvernementaleNGO (non-government organization)
ONUOrganisation des Nations uniesUN (United Nations)
OVNIObjet volant non identifiéUFO (unidentified flying object)
PCposte de commandementHQ (headquarters)
PDGprésident-directeur généralCEO (chief executive officer)
PIBproduit intérieur brutGDP (gross domestic product)
PMEPetite ou Moyenne EntrepriseSmall or Medium sized Enterprise (SME)
RATPRégie autonome des transports parisiensParis public transportation authority (métro and bus)
rdcrez-de-chausséeground floor/ 1st floor
RERRéseau express régionalhigh speed train service between Paris and the suburbs
RFla République françaiseThe French Republic
RNrevenu nationalGNP (gross national product)
rdvrendez-vousdate, meeting
SAsociété anonymeJoint-stock company; similar to Inc. (incorporated)
SAMUsecours d'aide médicale d'urgenceambulance
SARLsociété à responsabilité limitéeLtd (limited liability company)
SDFsans domicile fixehomeless people / no permanent address
SIDAsyndrome immunodéficitaire acquisAIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome)
SVPs'il vous plaîtpls (Please)

Interesting list isn't it? Which French abbreviation or acronym did you find the most interesting?

Your turn

Do you have any other French acronyms and abbreviations to add to this list? Share it with us in the comments section so other people learning about French abbreviation and acronym well!

For a complete list of French vocabulary, check out our French Vocabulary Mastery Course below. 

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common French acronyms

Here are some FAQs about French Acronyms and Abbreviations

What are the French abbreviations for mister, miss, and missus?

In French, we go by Monsieur for Mister, Mademoiselle for Miss, and Madame for Missus (Mrs). The abbreviations are as below:

M. for Monsieur (Mister)
Mme for Madame (missus, Mrs)
Mlle for Mademoiselle (Miss)

What are French abbreviations?

With any language, abbreviations are any short forms of a word. For example, in English, the texting language “r u srs?” is an abbreviation of “Are you serious?” Abbreviations are an umbrella term for all shortened, contracted terms. Acronyms are considered abbreviations as well. So while CV (curriculum vitae) is an acronym, and therefore an abbreviation as well, the French abbreviation rdv, short for rendez-vous, cannot be considered an acronym.

How do acronyms work in French?

Acronyms are the first letters taken from a phrase, term, or title. A common acronym is initials for a name. Acronyms in English work the same in French, so for example, DNA in English stands for “deoxyribonucleic acid,” but in French, the term is acide désoxyribonucléique, and the acronym follows accordingly as ADN.

About the author 

Frederic Bibard is the founder of Talk in French, a company that helps french learners to practice and improve their french. Macaron addict. Jacques Audiard fan. You can contact him on Instagram

  • Found an interesting one last night in a Patrick Modiano book. TSF. It’s a radio. Comes from “la télégraphie sans fil”.

  • Salut Frédéric,

    Ton site est vraiment excellent donc les trois suggestions qui suivent ne sont très certainement pas des critiques.

    Est-ce que “Bande dessiné” ne devrait pas s’écrire “Bande dessinée”?

    DALF => Diplôme approfondi de langue française

    Vu que ton site se spécialise dans la langue française, ne devrais-tu pas utiliser des accents sur ton prénom? (About the Author Frederic)

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