Symbols and conventions

For the full list of symbols and abbreviations used in Advanced English see Appendix A.

Domain labels

Domain labels such as BIOL (for biology), GEOG (for geography), etc., serve to simplify the definitions and shall help you determine the usefulness of the learned terminology for your own purposes. It is important to distinguish between active and passive labels. The active label is followed by a colon, e.g. GEOG:, and is read "What geographical term is defined as follows:" In the example below, without the active label, the definition might seem quite enigmatic:

Q: geog: the longest parallel

A: equator

The passive label is placed in parentheses after the definition, e.g. (GEOG), and is read "this term pertains to geography". For example:

Q: DC (geog)

A: District Columbia


Q: DC (electr)

A: direct current


Q: DC (comput)

A: device context

Both active and passive labels may appear in the same item. For example:

Q: coll: haemorrhoids (med)

A: piles

The above question should be read What colloquial term corresponds to haemorrhoids which are a medical term?.

Symbols and abbreviations

abbrev abbreviation

adj adjective

adv adverb

agric agriculture

anat anatomy

apprec appreciative

Arab Arabic

archit architecture

astr astronomy

Austr Australian English

bioch biochemistry

biol biology

bot botany

bus business

cell cell biology

chem chemistry

coll colloquial

comput computing sciences and computer technology

cor correct

culin culinary

deprec depreciatory

derog derogatory

educ education

econ economics

electr electronics and electric engineering

emph emphatic

euph euphemistic

fig figurative

form formal

Fr French

geog geography

geol geology

geom geometry

Ger German

grad gradation

hist history

hum humorous

id idiomatic

Ital Italian

Jap Japanese

kind kind expression

Lat Latin

law law

lit literature and literary language

math mathematics

med medicine

milit military terminology

mus music

myth mythology

n noun

neg negation

NZeal New Zealand English

old old use

opp opposite to

pet pet expression

phil philosophy

phys physics

physiol physiology

pl plural

poet poetical

polit politics

prefix prefix

prov proverbial

psych psychology

pv phrasal verb

quot quotation

rare rare

rel religion

Rus Russian

Scand Scandinavian languages

Scot Scottish English

short shortened expression

sing singular

sl slang

sociol sociology

Span Spanish

sport sport

suffix suffix

tdmk trademark

tech technology and technical terminology

telecom telecommunications

UK British English

US American English

vulg vulgar

zool zoology

Other symbols:

( ) used to denote: a) metalanguage, e.g. Q: (phrase used to express surprise) A: Gee!/Gosh! b) selection, e.g. Q: He is (the/a) president of General Motors A: the c) examples, d) optional phrase extensions, e.g. A: The grass is always greener on the other side (of the fence)

/ used to separate alternative terms (e.g. dad/daddy)

| used to separate British and American terms (e.g. fridge | refrigerator)

... cloze deletion (e.g. I met him ... beach)

-> insert symbol: Q: already -> I have seen it A: I have already seen it (the item asks for passive recognition of the American phrase; rendition of the British equivalent being optional)

sth something

sb somebody

esp especially

usu usually

nil empty word

(P) pronunciation

(T) past tense and past participle (e.g. go, went, gone)

(S) spelling

i.e. that is

e.g. for example

etc. and so on


Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary of Current English, Oxford University Press 1980

Longman Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs, Longman Group UK Limited 1986

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, Longman Group UK Limited 1995

Pocket Medical Dictionary, Churchill Livingstone, Royal Society of Medicine 1987

Webster's Encyclopedic Dictionary, Lexicon Publications Inc 1988

Longman Dictionary of Business English, Longman Group UK Limited 1989

Longman Dictionary of Scientific Usage, Longman Group UK Limited 1989

The Cambridge Encyclopedia, Cambridge University Press 1990

New Illustrated Webster's Dictionary, Pamco Publishing Company Inc 1992

Popular journals and magazines: Time, Newsweek, The Economist, Business Week, Money, Science, Nature, Scientific American, Byte, PC World, PC Magazine, JAMA, Prevention, Muscles&Fitness, and many more

World Wide Web


We would like to express our thanks for invaluable help in providing material for, suggestions about, and corrections to Advanced English are due in particular to Margaret Newcomer, Michal Hejwosz, Monika Morawska, Przemek Slopien, Jarek Ast, Przemek Pempera, Tomek Urbanski, Maciej Butrymowicz, Eryk Horloza, Prof. Wlodzimierz Sobkowiak, Piotr Metzler, Janusz Murakowski, Przemek Glowacki, Michael Spirydowicz-Tulipan, Krzysztof Biedalak, Mark Anthony, Bartek Grabowski, and Mark Bates. Without them, Advanced English would never see the light in the present form

Dr Piotr Wozniak, Advanced English Team