Abbreviating Britain

Check out today’s Teatime Titbits: Abbreviating Britain.

Following my post yesterday about new English words I came across during my recent stay in the UK, I thought a look into British abbreviations, would also good as every country on planet earth uses abbreviations to shorten names, expressions and the like. Unfortunately, this makes life more difficult for foreigners, who come across them in their daily interactions with the country and culture.

Reading British media or watching British news programmes is an obvious starting point and offers you a whole host of abbreviations. Here’s your starting 10:

  1. VAT is short for Value Added Tax or (MwSt)
  2. NHS is short for the National Health Service (staatlicher Gesundheitsdienst)
  3. UKIP is short for United Kingdom Independence Party. A fringe party, which advocates (befürworten) Britain’s exit (Brexit) of the European Union (EU).
  4. CPS stands for the Crown Prosecution Service. (Staatsanwaltschaft)
  5. SNP is the Scottish National Party, which is currently the strongest political party in Scotland especially since the Scottish referendum.
  6. OAP is an old aged pensioner (Rentner).
  7. GP is a general practitioner i.e. doctor. (Allgemeinarzt)
  8. SAS is short for the British special forces – Special Air Service
  9. COBRA stands for ‘Cabinet Office Briefing Room A’ and is the place where the British PM (Prime Minister) meets with all his/her important ministers, advisors, military, security services MI5 domestic intelligence agency / MI6 foreign intelligence agency etc. in times of a crisis.
  10. G.C.S.E stands for General Certificate of Secondary Education, which are the exams British school children do at the age of 16. They receive a grade from A-F in each subject they take. On a C.V. (curriculum vitae = Lebenslauf) you see for instance 8 G.C.S.E grade A-C in German, French etc. In the past they were simply known as the O’levels (ordinary). To this day the national exams at the age of 18 are known as A’levels (advanced)

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