Latin abbreviations for English place-names

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There is a group of abbreviations for the Latin names of some English institutions, mostly Universities and Bishoprics. These are not much used these days; but you may see them in older academic books and journals.

(In the days when the élite spoke Latin, and wanted to preserve an air of superiority over the rest, this was a convenient way of giving themselves an air of learning and mystery, and therefore of importance. Less prejudicially, perhaps, the habit is a hangover from when official documents were normally written in Latin. The Latin was often quite bad. So when the scribes had to name a place, they often half-invented a strange name for the area.)

The authors of academic books often gave their qualifications as, for example 'M.A. Oxon.' (indicating that they had graduated from Oxford). It was traditional for Bishops of the Church of England to sign documents with a cross and the abbreviation of the Latin name for the diocese. For example, + Cantuar. (or more familiarly + Christian or personal name Cantuar.) at the end of a letter meant that it had been signed by the Archbishop of Canterbury. Some of the abbreviations have been used for the names of English counties, in addresses, gazetteer entries, and so on - Hants is used for Hampshire, and Northants for Northampton.

Note that the Latin, in both full and abbreviated forms, is given without capital letters. This reflects best practice in Latin: the words are actually adjectives, meaning 'of Oxford', 'of Canterbury', etc. - though they are often given in English publications with capitals. Note also that the abbreviations should infallibly be given with a full stop - at least in the traditional forms!

The list has not been given to encourage students to use these out-of-date words. Don't use them! It has been compiled in the hopes that it may explain some things that may puzzle academic readers. Some of the Latin words are very like the English of which they are versions (e.g. Lond. for London); but some are not at all obvious (Ebor. and Dunelm.) Others, like Cant., may be ambiguous.

The list may also be of interest. To somebody. Some historians may need it.


Latin Abbreviations - Locations
Abbreviation Latin word(s) English meaning Notes
aberdon. aberdonensis of Aberdeen One of the four ancient Universities of Scotland
cantab. cantabrigiensis of Cambridge The second oldest University in England
cantuar. or cant. cantuariensis of Canterbury The highest ranking Archbishop in the Church of England
dunelm. dunelmensis of Durham Bishopric; and third University in England, 1831
ebor. eboracensis of York The second highest ranking Archbishop in the Church of England
edin. edinburgensis of Edinburgh One of the four ancient Universities of Scotland
glasw. glaswegiensis of Glasgow One of the four ancient Universities of Scotland
Lond. or londin. londiniensis of London Bishopric
manc. mancuniensis of Manchester Bishopric. 'Mancunian' is also the English adj for 'of Manchester'.
norvi. norvicensis of Norwich Bishopric
novocast. novocastriensis of Newcastle .
oxon. oxoniensis of Oxford The oldest University in England; bishopric; county