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.
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
|AB||agriculture biologique||organic farming|
|ADN||acide désoxyribonucléique||DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid)|
|AOC||Appellation d'origine contrôlée||guarantee of origin|
|API||Alphabet phonétique international||IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet)|
|BCBG||bon chic bon genre||Preppy|
|BD||Bande Dessinée||comics/ comic book|
|BP||boîte postale||post office box (P.O. Box)|
|CB||carte bleue, carte bancaire||credit/ debit card|
|CDD||contrat à durée déterminée||short-term contract|
|CDI||contrat à durée indéterminée||long-term/permanent contract|
|DA||Direction Artistique||Artistic direction (used when discussing movies or video games)|
|DAB||distributeur automatique de billets||ATM (automated teller machine)|
|DELF||diplôme d'études en langue française||a certification issued for French language proficiency|
|É.-U.||États-Unis||United States (U.S.)|
|FLE||Français Langue Etrangère||French as a foreign language (similar to ESL teaching certifications)|
|Go||giga octet||GB (gigabyte)|
|HT||hors taxe||subtotal excluding tax/ tax not included|
|Mo||mega octet||MB (megabyte)|
|ONG||organisation non gouvernementale||NGO (non-government organization)|
|ONU||Organisation des Nations unies||UN (United Nations)|
|OVNI||Objet volant non identifié||UFO (unidentified flying object)|
|PC||poste de commandement||HQ (headquarters)
|PDG||président-directeur général||CEO (chief executive officer)|
|PIB||produit intérieur brut||GDP (gross domestic product)|
|PME||Petite ou Moyenne Entreprise||Small or Medium sized Enterprise (SME)
|RATP||Régie autonome des transports parisiens||Paris public transportation authority (métro and bus)|
|rdc||rez-de-chaussée||ground floor/ 1st floor|
|RER||Réseau express régional||high speed train service between Paris and the suburbs|
|RF||la République française||The French Republic|
|RN||revenu national||GNP (gross national product)|
|SA||société anonyme||Joint-stock company; similar to Inc. (incorporated)|
|SAMU||secours d'aide médicale d'urgence||ambulance|
|SARL||société à responsabilité limitée||Ltd (limited liability company)|
|SDF||sans domicile fixe||homeless people / no permanent address
|SIDA||syndrome immunodéficitaire acquis||AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome)|
|SVP||s'il vous plaît||pls (Please)|
Interesting list isn't it? Which French abbreviation or acronym did you find the most interesting?
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.
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.