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Ever feel like your co-workers or friends are speaking to you in a different language? No, it’s not about having a meeting entirely in French. We’re talking about what often seems to be the language of the business world: acronyms. These days, we don’t always have the time to use full words or speak in complete sentences. The advent of text-speak and internet lingo has conditioned many of us to seek out the most efficient routes of communication. While far from a novel invention, acronyms’ prevalence makes knowing the most common ones imperative.

While some of us have the guts to ask for clarification when we have no idea what’s being said, others of us cringe at the thought of asking potentially “stupid” questions. Well, to everyone in the latter group: Today’s your lucky day. We’ve rounded up abbreviations for the most commonly used terms that you’re likely to run into.

Since the times of ancient Rome, acronyms helped to alleviate some of the burden of wordiness. Several acronyms coined during the Roman Empire are still in use today, such as AM and PM (ante meridiem and post meridiem, meaning “before noon” and “after noon”), and also AD, which denotes the time period after the birth of Christ and comes from the Latin anno domini, meaning “in the year of our Lord.”

As the Industrial Revolution took hold across the Western world in the 19th century, acronyms spread exponentially. They were created for corporations, railroads, stock exchanges, telecommunications, oil and gas, and numerous other enterprises that utilized technical language at an increasing rate.

The 20th century added to the mix a host of acronyms related to the implements of war: tanks, planes, and weaponry possessed an intricate lexicon all their own – one that called for condensing and shortening information to be passed on as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Today, many of our acronyms stem from the world of information technology. While the plethora of letter mixture may, at times, seem more intimidating than the words themselves, the appropriateness and pith of acronyms makes them a well-loved form of communicating complex ideas.

Have you seen or used any of them? :)

1) ABC: always be closing

2) ASAP: as soon as possible

3) B2B: business to business

4) B2C: business to consumer

5) BD: Business Development

6) CAD: computer aided design

7) CEO: chief executive officer

8) CFO: chief financial officer

9) CIO: chief investment officer/chief information officer

10) CMO: chief marketing officer

11) COO: chief operating officer

12) CSR: Corporate social responsibility

13) CTO: chief technology officer

14) DOE: depending on experiment

15) EBITDA: earning before interests, taxes, depreciation and amortization

16) EOD: end of day/end of discussion

17) ERP: enterprise resource planning (business management software that a company can use to store and manage data from every stage of business)

18) ESOP: employee stock ownership plan

19) ETA: estimated time of arrival

20) FYI: for your information

21) HTML: hypertext mark-up language

22) IMO: In my opinion

23) IPO: initial public offering

24) ISP: internet service provider

25) KPI: key performance indicators

26) LLC: limited liability company

27) LMK: Let me know

28) MILE: maximum impact, little effort

29) MOOC: massive open online course

30) MSRP: manufacturer’s suggested retail price

31) NDA: non-disclosure agreement

32) NOI: net operating income

33) NRN: no reply necessary

34) OT: Off topic

35) OTC: over the counter

36) PR: public relations

37) PPC: Pay per click

38) PTE: Part-time employee

39) QC: quality control

40) R&D: research and development

41) RFP: request for proposal

42) ROI: return on investment

43) RRP: recommended retail price

44) RT: Retweet

45) SEO: search engine optimization

46) SLA: service level agreement

47) SM: Social media

48) VAT: value added tax

49) TLTR: Too long to read

50) TYT: Take your time

Adapted from: themuse.com / altalang.com