33 Word Shortenings Any Foreign English Speaker Should Know!

By Robby

If you are new here please read this first.

English word shortenings

Improve Spoken English

VOCAB – this is a short version of ‘vocabulary’ and while it’s not something you’ll be using on a very regular basis, it’s always good to know that you can say things like: “I want to build my English vocab” or “I just added another useful English phrase to my vocab!”

LIMO – short for ‘limousine’. Next time around when you see one, you can nudge your friend and tell him – “Hey man, look at that cool limo!”

CELEB – I’m pretty sure you knew this one, but I had to put it on the list to make it complete! It’s obviously short for ‘celebrity’ and I wouldn’t be surprised if 20 years down the line people wouldn’t remember the original word at all!

PIC – this is a very handy way of referring to a picture or a photograph. “Hold on a sec, I’ll take a pic and then we’re good to go!”

SEC – this is how you can shorten the word ‘second’. As a matter of fact, I used this word in the sample sentence above, and here’s a couple more sample phrases: “Wait a sec!” or “Be back in a sec!”

DECAF – this is a short version of ‘decaffeinated coffee’ and it will definitely come in handy when putting in an order in a coffee shop late in the evening – “I’d like a large decaf latte, please!”

DETOX – this is a popular word in terms of dieting, and it refers to detoxification whereby you get your body rid of all sorts of toxins. ‘A detox diet’, for example, is a diet consisting mostly of juices, fresh salads and veggies and helps you get much healthier within a matter of days!

VEGGIE – is a short for ‘vegetable’ and is used all the time when people talk about health and balanced nutrition – “I’m eating lots of fresh fruit and veggies, and I’m feeling simply amazing!”

CARBS – carbohydrates. To be honest with you, I think the word ‘carbs’ has become so popular in the food industry that we don’t even have to wait for 20 years before everyone forgets the original word ‘carbohydrates’.

BI’S – biceps. TRI’S – triceps. QUADS – quadriceps (front part of your upper legs) HAMS – hamstrings (back of your upper legs) PECS – pectorals (chest muscles). DELTS – deltoids (shoulders). ABS – abdominal muscles. This is how you refer to your different body parts when you’re in a gym, and not only! You can use these body part names whenever you mention the respective body parts in daily conversations, and you can rest assured that you’ll be understood.

REP – a quick way of referring to a ‘representative’. ‘Rep’ is widely used in all industries – sales rep, trade union rep – and if you’re a sales rep, for example, you may want to start calling yourself a ‘sales rep’ rather than ‘sales representative’.

REP – another meaning of this word is ‘repetition’. If you’re serious into fitness and exercising, you’ll definitely know this one because it’s become an industry standard. You go to gym, pick up a workout program and start performing sets or reps according to your level and preparation.

PREP – now, guess what this short form of a word means? Well – it means ‘prepare’ or ‘preparation’! Typical phrases to learn – “Have you prepped up?” or “I’m all prepped up, we’re good to go!”

LINO – maybe this one is going to sound too technical, but believe me – there are times when you have to describe floor types such as carpet, wooden floor and also linoleum which is the full word for ‘lino’. A typical situation would be renting a house, so you’d better add this word onto your active vocab!

RADS – radiators. This is another DIY term for you, and believe me – your home heating is another one of those things that will come up during your house hunting efforts! “Are these rads old or new?” – you should ask this question when you’re in doubt of the effectiveness of the heating elements if they’re really worn and old-looking.

DOC – this is a how you refer to a ‘doctor’. “I have to visit my doc today, can I have a couple of hours off?” would be the ideal way of asking for some time off at your work so that you can visit a doctor. “Hello doc, nice to see you, how are you?” this is how you’d greet your doctor upon arrival.

MEDS – ‘medications’. “Please don’t forget to take your meds in the morning!” or “Have you taken your meds today?” would be a typical way of making sure your friend, child or a sibling has taken proper care of themselves according to their doc’s recommendations!

CERT – this is a shortened form of ‘certificate’, and you’ll definitely get to use this word when going through the educational system or when attaining new qualifications for your professional life.

PRO – this is a very popular shortening of a word, and it’s quite self-explanatory. It means ‘professional’, and you can simply stick this three letter word in front of other words to indicate professional level of the trade, profession and occupation in question: pro-designer, pro-builder, pro-bodybuilder.

CONGRATS – this word is also very self-explanatory; it basically means ‘congratulations’ and can be used whenever you’re congratulating someone with some sort of an achievement. “Congrats on your promotion, well done my friend!”

VID – short for ‘video’. Typical phrases – “Check out this vid!” or “Can you e-mail me a link to that crazy vid you showed me last week?”

INFO – well, well, well, I’m a real smart-arse, am I not? Of course you knew that ‘info’ is short for ‘information’! I just had to put this word on the list though because word shortening related info wouldn’t be complete without the word ‘info’!

SIS – this is how you can call your little sister. Well, you can still call her “sis” even if she’s older than you, it’s really up to you!

BRO – and this is how you call your brother, and not only your birth-brother. Any close friend of yours deserves being referred to as “bro”, and here’s how you can greet your best friend on the way to college “Hey bro, wassup?”

MIL – is a short for ‘million’, and here’s the most commonly used phrase containing this word: “Thanks a mil!” It’s a fairly common way of thanking someone for a small favor or service, and you’ll sound so much more native-like if you start using this phrase yourself!

SYNC – this English word shortening stands for ‘synchronize’ or ‘synchronization’. “Let’s sync our watches!” – would be something you’d hear in films where a group of agents are splitting up before the operation.

PROBS – “No probs!” obviously means “No problems!” and it’s a typical way you would respond to some request. “Can you please lift this bag up onto that shelf, please?” would be best met with the following response: “No probs!”

Robby 😉

P.S. Would you like to find out why I’m highlighting some of the text in red? Read this article and you’ll learn why it’s so important to learn idiomatic expressions and how it will help you to improve your spoken English!

P.S.S. Are you serious about your spoken English improvement? Check out my English Harmony System HERE!


English Harmony System

P.S. Are you serious about your spoken English improvement? Check out the English Harmony System HERE!

English Harmony System
  • That’s a very useful list.

    I have heard lots of those abbreviations in everyday converstations.

  • Hi Daisy,

    Thanks, I’m glad you like the list!

    The thing is – all these shortened words CAN be used in normal everyday conversations; they’re not just limited to texting!

    Basically all these words are part of our normal vocab! 😉



  • Daisy

    great list! i know some of them before now i add new vocab to my shortenings list , but i thought i only can use them in texting ? i’m aright?