Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms

Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms

The shortening of existing words is another mean of vocabulary expansion. As
with many other military slang and colloquial expressions, many of the slang and colloquial
abbreviations originated during war. There were several motives for introducing slang
abbreviations but the main reason was to hide the real meaning and linguistic economy.

“Abbreviations, one of the most noticeable features of present-day English linguistic life,
would form a major part of any super dictionary. Often though to be an exclusively modern
habit, the fashion for abbreviations can be traced back over 150 years. The fashionable use
of abbreviation — a kind of society slang — comes and goes in waves, though it is never
totally absent. In the present century, however, it has been eclipsed by the emergence of
abbreviations in science, technology, and other special fields, such as cricket, baseball,
drug trafficking, the armed forces, and the media. The reasons for using abbreviated forms are
obvious enough. One is the desire for linguistic economy — the same motivation which makes us want to criticize someone who uses two words where one will do. Succinctness and precision are highly valued, and abbreviations can contribute greatly to a concise style. They also help to
convey a sense of social identity: to use an abbreviated form is to be `in the know’- part of
the social group to which the abbreviation belongs” (Crystal 1995, 120).

“We distinguish three highly productive ways in which abbreviation is involved in English
word-formation, giving us acronyms, clippings, and blends.” (Quirk, Greenbaum, Leech, Svartvik
1985, 1580)

In dealing with the following section, private materials from service with the UN and studies
in the USA were utilized first.

This was then supported by checking abbreviations from the following resources and taking
excerpts: American Slang by Chapman, L., Robert, Slang and Euphemism by Spears, A. Richard,
Talking Dirty by Green, Jonathon, The Big Book of Being Rude by Green, Jonathon, Cassell´s
Dictionary of Slang by Green, Jonathon, I Hear America Talking by Flexner, Berg Stuart, Swear
Like a Trooper by Priest, William, and Encyclopedia of the U.S. Military by Arkin W.M,
Handler J.M, Morriessey J.A., Walsh J.M.


“Acronyms are words formed from the initial letters of words or of constituents in a
compound. There are two main types of acronyms:

  • Acronyms pronounced as sequences of letters (also called alphabetisms), e.g. E. FBI, TV,
    UFO, VIP; Cz. MU, OSN.
  • Acronyms pronounced as words, e.g. E. NATO, WASP; laser, radar; Cz. JAMU, SEVT.” (Hladký
    1994, 49)

The acronyms and alphabetisms have the same textual autonomy as words and they can take

Both of the above types of acronyms are quite common in the legal field.

It seems that the second type of acronyms pronounced as words are more frequent in some areas of knowledge and practice than those pronounced as letters. One reason for using acronyms as “words” might be for easier pronunciation.



“Clippings are frequent in English informal usage because they replace polysyllabic words,
especially nouns. Most clippings preserve the initial fragment of the original word (ad, lab,
pub). Occasionally, either the initial syllables have been discarded (phone, plane) or the
middle fragment has survived (flu, fridge). (Hladký 1994, 48)


“Blends are compounds in which enough of each component is retained so that the new word is readily analysable. The second component in a blend has the same status as the second
component in a compound. Just as a blackbird is a bird of black colour, so brunch is a lunch
which has some features of breakfast, and smog means fog intensified by smoke.” (Hladký 1994, 49)


A code word is a word or phrase that conveys a prearranged, usually secret meaning. Code words are also often used to verify identity, especially in the intelligence community.

As Tomajczyk (1996, 153) states: “Words that replace others to encrypt a message so that it is
safeguarded from being understood by unauthorized personnel. (A coded message can be copied by someone, but it will not be easily understood.) Both the sender and receiver must use the same codebook”

Codes that do not provide security but that have as their sole purpose the shortening of
messages rather than the concealment of their content are also productive in military slang.
These words have been used for centuries.

“The history of code names goes back to prehistory — to the earliest forms of concerted
efforts. By the time of Queen Elizabeth, codes and ciphers were relatively common, an example
was the code-cipher employed by Lord Burghley in which signs of the Zodiac were used. In
Burghley’s scheme, `Cancer’ referred to the Estates — General, and `Leo,’ the Council of
State.” (Ruffner & Thomas 1963, 15)

US States abbreviations

Here you can find the new US Postal Service Abbreviation of each US State (and territories), and the Old Style Abbreviations of such US States:

  • AK- Alaska –
  • AL – Alabama – Ala.
  • AR – Arkansas – Ark.
  • AS – American Samoa –
  • AZ – Arizona – Ariz.
  • CA – California – Calif.
  • CO – Colorado – Colo.
  • CT – Connecticut – Conn.
  • DC – District of Columbia
  • DE – Delaware – Del.
  • FL – Florida – Fla.
  • GA – Georgia – Ga.
  • GU -Guam
  • HI – Hawaii –
  • IA – Iowa –
  • ID – Idaho –
  • IL – Illinois – Ill.
  • IN – Indiana – Ind.
  • KS – Kansas – Kan.
  • KY – Kentucky – Ky.
  • LA -Louisiana – La.
  • MA – Massachusetts – Mass.
  • ME – Maine –
  • MD – Maryland – Md.
  • MH – Marshall – Islands
  • MI – Michigan – Mich.
  • MN – Minnesota – Minn.
  • MO – Missouri – Mo.
  • MP – Northern Mariana Islands
  • MS – Mississippi – Miss.
  • MT – Montana – Mont.
  • NC – North Carolina – N.C.
  • ND – North Dakota – N.D.
  • NE – Nebraska – Neb.
  • NH – New Hampshire – N.H.
  • NJ – New Jersey – N.J.
  • NM – New Mexico – N.M.
  • NV – Nevada – Nev.
  • NY – New York – N.Y
  • OH – Ohio –
  • OK – Oklahoma – Okla.
  • OR – Oregon – Ore.
  • PA – Pennsylvania – Pa.
  • PR – Puerto Rico
  • PW – Palau
  • RI – Rhode Island – R.I.
  • SC – South Carolina – S.C.
  • SD – South Dakota – S.D.
  • TN – Tennessee – Tenn.
  • TX – Texas –
  • UT – Utah –
  • VI – Virgin Islands
  • VT – Vermont – Vt.
  • VA – Virginia – Va.
  • WA – Washington – Wash.
  • WI – Wisconsin – Wis.
  • WV – West Virginia – W.Va.
  • WY – Wyoming – Wyo.

Law abbreviations & accronyms

Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms beginning by A

AALL American Association of Law Libraries
ACES Appeals Court Electronic Service
ACLU American Civil Liberties Union
ACORDS Appellate Court Records and Data System
ADA Americans with Disabilities Act (U.S. Justice Dep’t ADA Home Page)
ADR alternative dispute resolution
AGLO Attorney General letter opinions
AGO Attorney General opinions
ALJ Administrative law judge
ALR American Law Reports
Am.Jur. American Jurisprudence
APA Administrative Procedure Act
APR Admission to Practice Rules (court rules)
AR Superior Court Administrative Rules (court rules)
ARC National Archives and Records Administration Archival Research Catalog
ARCW Annotated Revised Code of Washington
ASCII American Standard Code for Information Interchange

Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms beginning by B

Ball. Code Ballinger Code
BAP brief adjudicative proceeding
BBP Bench-Bar-Press Committee Statement of Principles (court rules)
BFWWCAPCA Benton, Franklin, Walla Walla County Air Pollution Control Authority
BIA U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs
BIIA Washington Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals
BJA Advisory Case Processing Time Standards (Board for Judicial Administration; court rules)
BJAR Board for Judicial Administration Rules (court rules)
BJS U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics
BLS U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
BNA Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. (a legal publisher)
BNML Brand Name Materials List
BTA Washington Board of Tax Appeals

Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms beginning by C

CAAA Washington State Commission on African American Affairs
CACFP Child and Adult Care Food Program
CALR computer-assisted Legal Research
Cal.Rptr. California Reporter
CAPAA Washington Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs
CAR Court of Appeals Administrative Rules (court rules)
CASA court-appointed special advocate
CBA Collective Bargaining Act
CCH Commerce Clearing House (a legal publisher)
CD-ROM compact disk-read only memory
CFR Code of Federal Regulations
CILP Current Index to Legal Periodicals
CJC Code of Judicial Conduct
CJC Washington Commission on Judicial Conduct
CJS Corpus Juris Secundum
CLE continuing legal Education
CLI Current Law Index
COLD WSBA Computerization of Law Division
COM computer-output microfilm
CPE continuing professional Education
CPI Consumer Price Index
CPSGMHB Central Puget Sound Growth Planning Hearings Board
CR Superior Court Civil Rules (court rules)
CRAB Washington County Road Administration Board
CRIV AALL Committee on Relations with Information Vendors
CRLJ Civil Rules for Courts of Limited Jurisdiction (court rules)
CrR Superior Court Criminal Rules (court rules)
CrRLJ Criminal Rules for Courts of Limited Jurisdiction (court rules)
CVC Washington Crime Victim’s Compensation program
CZM Washington Coastal Zone Management program

Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms beginning by D

DCLU Seattle Department of Design, Construction and Land Use (now called Department of Planning and Development)
DCP Washington Deferred Compensation Program
DCS Washington Division of Child Support
DCTED Washington Department of Community, Trade, and Economic Development
DCU Washington Division of Credit Unions
DEIS draft environmental impact statement
DISCIS District and Municipal Court Information System
DNR Washington Department of Natural Resources
DOB Washington Division of Banks
DOC Washington Department of Corrections
DOE Washington Department of Ecology
DOL Washington Department of Licensing
DOR Washington Department of Revenue
DPD Seattle Department of Planning and Development (formerly Department of Design, Construction and Land Use)
DRJ Discipline Rules for Judges (court rules)
DRS Washington Department of Retirement Systems
DSHS Washington Department of Social and Health Services

Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms beginning by E

EFACW Export Finance Assistance Center of Washington
EFSEC Washington Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council
EHO Washington Environmental Hearings Office
EIM Washington Environmental Information Management
EIS environmental impact statement
ELC Rules for Enforcement of Lawyer Conduct (court rules)
Email electronic mail
EO executive order
EPA U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
ER Evidence Rules (court rules)
ERISA Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (U.S.)
ETB excise tax bulletins
EWGMHB Eastern Washington Growth Management Hearings Board
EWU Eastern Washington University

Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms beginning by F

FAQs frequently asked questions
FEIS final environmental impact statement
FIS Franchise Act Interpretive Statements
FLSA Fair Labor Standards Act (U.S.)
FPAB Washington Forest Practices Appeals Board
FPS Franchise Act Policy Statements

Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms beginning by G

GIS Geographic Information System
GMA Growth Management Act
GMHB Washington Growth Management Hearings Boards
GOIA Washington Governor’s Office of Indian Affairs
Gonz. L. Rev. Gonzaga Law Review
GPO U.S. Government Printing Office
GR General Rules (court rules)

Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms beginning by H

HAB Washington Hydraulic Appeals Board
HCA Washington Health Care Authority
HEPB Washington Higher Education Personnel Board

Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms beginning by I

IAC Washington Interagency Commission for Outdoor Recreation
ICC International Code Council
ICRA Indian Civil Rights Act (U.S.)
IDELR Individuals with Disabilities Education Law Report
ILP Index to Legal Periodicals
IPA Information for Public Affairs
IRA Indian Reorganization Act (U.S.)
IRLJ Infraction Rules for Courts of Limited Jurisdiction (court rules)
IS interpretive statement
ISRB Washington Indeterminate Sentence Review Board

Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms beginning by J

JCHE Washington Joint Center for Higher Education
JCR Justice Court Civil Rules (court rules). Title changed from Justice Court Civil Rules to Civil Rules for Courts of Limited Jurisdiction (CRLJ) effective September 1, 1989.
JISCR Judicial Information System Committee Rules (court rules)
JIS-Link Judicial Information System
JRF Washington Judges’ Retirement Fund
JRS Washington Judges’ Retirement System
JTIR Justice Court Traffic Infraction Rules (court rules)
JuCR Juvenile Court Rules (court rules)

Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms beginning by K

KCBA King County Bar Association
KCLL King County Law library
KWIC key word in context

Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms beginning by L

L&I Washington Labor and Industries Department
LAW BBS Legal Access in Washington Bulletin Board System
LEAP Washington Legislative Evaluation and Accountability Program Committee
LEOFF Washington Law Enforcement Officers’ and Fire Fighters’ Retirement System
LID local improvement districts
LLOPS Law Librarians of Puget Sound
LLRX Law library Resource eXchange
LRI Legal Resource Index
LTC Washington Legislative Transportation Committee

Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms beginning by M

MAR Superior Court Mandatory Arbitration Rules (court rules)
MCC Monroe Correctional Complex
MEC Washington Marine Employees’ Commission
MOU memorandum of understanding
MPR Superior Court Mental Proceedings Rules (court rules)
MRSC Municipal Research & Services Center of Washington
MTCA Washington Model Toxics Control Act
MWBE Washington Office of Minority and Women’s Business Enterprises

Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms beginning by N

NAICS North American Industrial Classification System
NAIL NARA Archival Information Locator
NARA U.S. National Archives and Records Administration
NCJRS U.S. National Criminal Justice Reference Service
N.E., N.E.2d North Eastern Reporter
NFPA National Fire Protection Association
NOAA U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
NTJRC National Tribal Justice Resource Center
N.W., N.W.2d North Western Reporter
NWAPA Northwest Air Pollution Authority
NWIRP Northwest Immigrant Rights Project
N.Y.S. New York Supplement

Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms beginning by O

OAC Washington Office of the Administrator for the Courts
OAH Washington Office of Administrative Hearings
OAHP Washington Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation (eff. July 2005, the Department of Archaeology & Historic Preservation)
OAPCA Olympic Air Pollution Control Authority (now, Olympic Region Clean Air Agency)
OCD Washington Office of Community Development
OCSE U.S. Office of Child Support Enforcement
OCVA Washington Office of Crime Victims Advocacy
OIAC Washington Office of the Interagency Committee
OIC Washington Office of the Insurance Commissioner
OMWBE Washington Office of Minority & Women’s Business Enterprises
OPAC online public access catalog
ORCAA Olympic Region Clean Air Agency
OSA Washington Office of the State Actuary
OSPI Washington Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction
OTED Washington Office of Trade & Economic Development

Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms beginning by P

P., P.2d Pacific Reporter
Pac. Northwest Q. Pacific Northwest Quarterly
PACER Public Access to Court Electronic Records
PBD Personnel Board decision
PCHB Washington Pollution Control Hearings Board
PDC Washington Public Disclosure Commission
PDF Adobe Acrobat Portable Document Format Get Adobe Reader
PDR Physicians’ Desk Reference
PECB public employees’ collective bargaining
PERC Washington Public Employment Relations Commission
PERS Washington Public Employees’ Retirement System
PESB Washington Professional Educator Standards Board
PL public law
PNLA Pacific Northwest Library Association
PS policy statement
PSAPCA Puget Sound Air Pollution Control Agency (now, Puget Sound Clean Air Agency)
PTA property tax advisory
PTB property tax bulletin

Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms beginning by R

RALJ Rules for Appeal of Decisions of Courts of Limited Jurisdiction (court rules)
RAP Rules of Appellate Procedure (court rules)
RCW Revised Code of Washington
RCWA Revised Code of Washington Annotated (West)
Rem.Comp.Stat. Remington’s Compiled Statutes
Rem. Rev. Stat. Remington’s Revised Statutes
RLD Rules for Lawyer Discipline (court rules) (replaced by Rules for Enforcement of Lawyer Conduct (ELC))
RPC Rules of Professional Conduct (court rules)
RPM revenue policy memoranda

Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms beginning by S

SAO Washington State Auditor’s Office
SAR Supreme Court Administrative Rules (court rules)
SBCC Washington State Building Code Council
SBE Washington State Board of Education
SBIC Washington Governor’s Small Business Improvement Council
SCAN state-controlled area network
SCAPCA Spokane County Air Pollution Control Authority
SCAR Supplemental Court of Appeals Administrative Rule (court rules)
SCOMIS Superior Court Management Information System
SDO Securities Division order
S.E., S.E.2d South Eastern Reporter
SEA Washington Shorelands and Environmental Assistance Program
SEPA State Environmental Policy Act
SERS Washington School Employees’ Retirement System
SGC Washington Sentencing Guidelines Commission
SHB Washington Shorelines Hearings Board
SHPO Washington State Historic Preservation Office
SIC Standard Industrial Classification
SKCBA Seattle-King County Bar Association
SMA Washington Shoreline Management Act
So., So.2d Southern Reporter
SOC species of concern
SPR Superior Court Special Proceedings Rules (court rules)
SPRC Superior Court Special Proceedings Rules – Criminal (court rules)
SRFB Salmon Recovery Funding Board
St. Reg. Washington State Register
Stat. U.S. Statutes at Large
S.W., S.W.2d, S.W.3d South Western Reporter
SWAPCA Southwest Air Pollution Control Authority
SWCAA Southwest Clean Air Agency of Washington

Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms beginning by U

UBI uniform business identifier
UCC Uniform Commercial Code
ULA Uniform Laws Annotated (West)
ULP unfair labor practices
UPS University of Puget Sound
URL uniform resource locator
UTC Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission
UVE Use of Videotape Equipment to Record Court Proceedings (court rules)
UW University of Washington

Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms beginning by W

WAC Washington Administrative Code
WALI Washington Licensing Information
Wash. L. Rev. Washington Law Review
Wash. St. B. News Washington State Bar News
WCC Washington Conservation Corps
WCH Washington Commission for the Humanities
WDFW Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
WICHE Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education
WIIM WISHA interim interpretive memoranda
WISHA Washington Industrial Safety and Health Act
WJ Washington Journal
WJ WAR Washington Journal “Washington Appellate Report”
WLN Washington Library Network
Wn. Washington Reports
Wn. App. Washington Appellate Reports
WPA U.S. Works Project Administration
WPERR Washington Public Employment Relations Reporter
WPI Washington Pattern Jury Instructions: Civil
WPIC Washington Pattern Jury Instructions: Criminal
WPPSS Washington Public Power Supply System
WRD WISHA regional directives
WPRC Washington Rules of Professional Conduct (court rules)
WSBA Washington State Bar Association
WSDA Washington Department of Agriculture
WSDOT Washington Department of Transportation
WSGC Washington State Gambling Commission
WSP Washington State Patrol
WSPRS Washington State Patrol Retirement System
WSR Washington State Register
WSTLA Washington State Trial Lawyers Association
WSU Washington State University
WTC Washington Technology Center (University of Washington)
WTD Washington Tax Decisions
WTECB Washington Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board
WWGMHB Western Washington Growth Management Hearings Board



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Author: international

Mentioned in these Entries

Administrative law, Advocacy, Attorney General, Corpus Juris Secundum, Education, French Legal Abbreviations, Law Journals Abbreviations and Acronyms, Law library, Legal Abbreviations, Historical 2, Legal Abbreviations, Historical 3, Legal Abbreviations, Historical, Legal Research, List of Legal Dictionaries, List of Tax Acronyms and Abbreviations.

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  • Article Name: Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms
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  • Description: ContentsLegal Abbreviations and AcronymsAcronymsOthersCLIPPINGSBLENDSCODE WORDS (CODE NAMES)US States abbreviationsLaw [...]

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