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A, n.

Keywords:
Quotations:
Pronunciation: 
Brit. //
U.S. //
Forms:  A (capital), a (lower case).(Show Less)
Etymology: Letter form. The first letter of the English alphabet, as it was of the ancient Roman Alphabet (and as were its prototypes Alpha of the Greek alphabet, and Aleph of the Phoenician and ancient Semitic alphabets). The English letter form capital A   reflects Latin A  , itself reflecting Greek Α   (capital alpha).
 
Letter name. a   is usual as the name of the letter in classical Latin, and hence in English. (In ancient Greek the name of the letter was ἄλϕα  alpha n.) The plural has been written aes  , A's  , As  .
 
Sound. In both Greek and Latin this symbol represented the vowel formed with the tongue in the lowest position in the mouth, distinguished by vowel height from the next closest (front and back) vowel sounds represented by e   and o  . Long and short /a/ phonemes existed in each language. In Old English there was additionally a phonemic contrast between low front and back vowels; the back sound /ɑ/ (and its long equivalent) was represented by a  , and the front sound /æ/ (and its long equivalent) by the digraph æ   (called ash  : see ash n.4). This phonemic contrast is not found in the sound system of later stages in the history of English, a   subsequently being typically the representation of the lowest sound in the English sound system (as in Greek and Latin) rather than of a distinctively low back sound (as in Old English).
 
In modern English the symbol a   typically represents:
 
(i) British English /a/, U.S. English /æ/, in e.g. man  , rat   (by some phoneticians the British English vowel is transcribed as /æ/ rather than /a/);
 
(ii) British and U.S. English //, in e.g. name  , rate  ;
 
(iii) British English /ɑː/, U.S. English /ɑ/, in e.g. father  , palm  ; in British English typically also in e.g. calf  , half  , and (in some, typically southern or RP, varieties) also in e.g. bath  , fast  , dance  , sample   (standard lexical sets palm   and bath  : see J. C. Wells Accents of English (1982) I. p. xviii–xix, 142–4, 133–5);
 
(iv) British and U.S. English /ɪ/, in e.g. village   or (sometimes) climate  ;
 
(v) British and U.S. English /ə/, in e.g. comma  , amoeba  , or (sometimes) climate  ;
 
(vi) (after w  ) British English /ɒ/, U.S. English /ɑ/, in e.g. wan  , watch  , want  ;
 
(vii) (after w  ) British English /ɔː/, U.S. English /ɔ/, /ɑ/, in e.g. war  , warm  , water  .
 
On the spelling for British and U.S. English /ɛ/ in many   and any   see discussion at many adj., pron., n., and adv.  
 
A   is the first letter of several digraphs, as follows:
 
ai  , ay  , representing:
 
(i) British and U.S. English //, in e.g. pain  , pay  ;
 
(ii) (before r  ) British English /ɛː/, U.S. English /ɛ(ə)/, in e.g. pair  ;
 
(iii) (rarely) British English /ʌɪ/, U.S. English //, in e.g. aye   ‘yes’ or (in British English) Isaiah  ; (in Scots and sometimes in English regional (northern) use this digraph also occurs for /e/ in e.g. ain   ‘own’, ait   ‘oat’, etc.);
 
au  , aw  , representing:
 
(i) British English /ɔː/, U.S. English /ɔ/ or /ɑ/, in e.g. laud  , law  , taut  , taught  , caught  ;
 
(ii) British English /ɑː/ or /a/, U.S. English /æ/, in e.g. laugh  , draught  , aunt  ;
 
(iii) British English /ɒ/, U.S. English /ɔ/, in e.g. laurel  , Laurence   (compare also Lawrence  );
 
(iv) British English and U.S. English //, in e.g. gauge  ;
 
(v) British English /əʊ/, U.S. English /ɔ/, //, or (in some cases) /ɑ/, in e.g. mauve  , sauté  ;
 
(vi) (rarely, in unnaturalized borrowings) British and U.S. English //, in e.g. Rathaus  , luau  ;
 
ae  , representing (chiefly in words ultimately of Latin and Greek origin, the pronunciation of many of which varies considerably):
 
(i) British English //, U.S. English /i/, in e.g. aeon  , aetiology  , or (sometimes) abscissae  ;
 
(ii) British English /ɪ/, /ə/, U.S. English /ə/, in e.g. Aeneas  , Aegean  ;
 
(iii) in U.S. English sometimes also // in e.g. aegis  , Aegean  ;
 
(iv) in U.S. English // and in British English sometimes /ʌɪ/, in e.g. abscissae   (as also regularly in words of Italian origin, as maestro  );
 
(v) British English /ɛː/, U.S. English /ɛ/ in aerial   and related words;
 
(vi) British and U.S. English /ɛ/ in e.g. haemorrhage  .
 
ao  , representing British and U.S. English // in e.g. tao  , Maoism  , maori  ; also, in gaol  , British and U.S. English //;
 
aa  , representing (with varying distributions in different words) British English /ɑː/, /a/, //, or /ɛː/, U.S. English /æ/, /ɑ/, //, or /ɛ/, in e.g. ma'am  , maas  , Baal  , Aaron  .
 
Main developments within English. The following gives a very brief outline of the origins and development of the main sounds represented by a   in English.
 
(i) The short vowel.
 
In Germanic, short a   corresponds both to a   in other branches of Indo-European (compare e.g. Latin ager   with the early forms and Germanic cognates at acre n.) and (as a result of an early merger in Germanic) to o   (compare e.g. Latin hostis   with the early forms and Germanic cognates at guest n.).
 
As a result of a very early sound change in English short a   (of whatever origin) in accented syllables was fronted to æ   except when followed by a nasal consonant (compare dæg   ‘day’ with mann   ‘man’, and on the latter see further discussion at O n.1), although a   was later restored in open syllables before a following back vowel (compare within the paradigm of dæg   ‘day’ the nominative and accusative singular forms dæg   alongside the nominative and accusative plural forms dagas  ). In Old English a   and æ   were distinct phonemes, and were affected by neighbouring sounds in different ways which have profound effects on the subsequent histories of many words; in some dialects of Old English (Kentish and some Mercian varieties) æ   was also fronted further to e  . In Middle English the phonemic distinction between a   and æ   was lost, surviving instances of æ   (which had been neither affected by further sound changes nor fronted to e  ) generally being merged with a  .
 
Sound changes have affected the reflex of Middle English a   in a number of words:
 
(i) after w  , a   was rounded in e.g. wan  , watch  , want  ; this probably happened in the early 17th cent. or earlier, although even in standard English there was a good deal of variation in the 17th and 18th centuries, and later in some cases (compare swam  , past tense of swim v., and also pronunciation history at quaff v., waft v.1); in some cases the resultant sound occurred in a lengthening environment, as in war  , warm   (and anomalously in water  );
 
(ii) father  , palm  , calf  , half  , bath  , fast  , dance  , sample   show various different processes of lengthening of historically short a   in modern English; these changes have not all occurred in all varieties, and today provide significant distinctions between different national varieties of English (and in the case of the classes illustrated by bath  , fast  , dance  , sample  , considerable variation within standard British English).
 
A further source of /a/ in modern English is lowering of e   before r   in late Middle English (as also in Anglo-Norman and Old French, Middle French), as in carve   or tar  , although the application of this sound change is very variable (compare person n.   and parson n.), and in some cases the e   spelling is retained even when the change in pronunciation to /a/ is found (compare clerk n.).
 
(ii) The long vowel.
 
The history of ā   and ǣ   is much less straightforward than that of the short sounds.
 
Owing to an early merger of ā   and ō   in Germanic, ā   in most other Indo-European languages corresponds to ō   in Germanic (see O n.1).
 
The main source of Old English ā   is Germanic ai  : compare e.g. Old English stān   ‘stone’ with the Germanic cognates listed at stone n.; in the Middle English period this sound became rounded in southern and midland dialects, giving Middle English open ō   (see O n.1); in the north and Scots this rounding did not occur, and Old English ā   is generally continued in Scots as /e/ (often spelt ai  , as in ain  , ait  , stain  , more commonly stane  ), and in northern English varieties frequently as a falling diphthong with high first element, //.
 
Old English ǣ   as a spelling form represents sounds of two different origins with different distributions in the various Old English dialects. Firstly, it shows the reflex of Germanic ē  , corresponding to ā   in most other West Germanic (and North Germanic) languages; see e.g. the cognates listed at deed n.   In the dialects of Old English other than West Saxon this sound (often called ǣ  1) was ē   rather than ǣ  , hence West Saxon dǣd   beside Anglian and Kentish dēd  . Secondly, ǣ   resulted from the i-mutation of ā   (although in Kentish this was further fronted to ē  ), as in heal v.1, which is hǣlan   in both West Saxon and Anglian; this sound is often called ǣ  2. The reflexes of both ǣ  1 and ǣ  2 in modern English are mid or high vowels, generally spelt e  , ea  , or ee  , and their later history is therefore dealt with at E n.1  
 
Middle English ā   therefore does not continue Old English ā   (or ǣ  ). Its main origins are instead:
 
(i) early Middle English lengthening of a   in open syllables in disyllabic words;
 
(ii) borrowing of words containing Anglo-Norman and Old French, Middle French ā  ; also Anglo-Norman and Old French, Middle French au   in certain phonological contexts, as in save  , chamber  .
 
As a result of the Great Vowel Shift this sound became raised to a mid height vowel and subsequently diphthongized; however, a   spellings were preserved as a result of the degree of standardization and conservatism by this stage found in the spelling system. (The new long low height vowel created by various lengthening processes after the Great Vowel Shift has already been described above.)
 
Brief notes on digraph spellings in modern English.
 
ai  , ay   generally reflects: (i) Old English or early Middle English diphthongs formed from a low vowel before palatal g  , as in day n.; (ii) Anglo-Norman and Old French, Middle French ai  , as in pay v.1   or bailiff n.   Since ai   and ei   merged in Middle English (see E n.1), words historically showing ei   sometimes show ai   or ay   spellings in modern English, as e.g. sail n.1, way n.1
 
au  , aw   generally reflects: (i) a low vowel before w   in Old English, as in claw n.   or raw adj.; (ii) Old English or early Middle English diphthongs formed from a low vowel before velar g   or the fricative /x/, as in law n.1   or slaughter n.; (iii) Anglo-Norman and Old French, Middle French au  , as in jaundice n., laundry n., aunt n.  
 
Modern spellings with ae   or æ   show no continuity with æ   spellings in Old English or early Middle English, but instead mostly show learned borrowings of Latin words showing (in classical Latin) the diphthong ae  . In some instances ae   in such words ultimately reflects substitution in Latin of ae   for Greek αι   in words borrowed into Latin from Greek; hence aether   and æther   as spellings of ether n.   Many words which historically showed either ae   or e   spellings now always or predominantly show e   (as e.g. ether n., phenomenon n.); ae   is retained in many proper names relating to the ancient world, such as Caesar   or Aeneas  , and in some technical terms, such as (in British English) aetiology n., as well as a few slightly commoner words, such as aegis n.
 I. The letter A (a).

 1. The letter, and the sound it represents.

OE   Ælfric Gram. (St. John's Oxf.) 5   Of ðam [stafum] syndon fif vocales, þæt synd clypiendlice: a, e, i, o, u.
c1175   Names of Letters in N. R. Ker Catal. MSS containing Anglo-Saxon (1957) 337   A a, B be uel bei, C ce uel cei, D de uel dei, [etc.].
c1175   Ormulum (Burchfield transcript) l. 16434   Þe firrste staff iss nemmnedd .a. Onn ure latin spæche.
a1398   J. Trevisa in tr. Bartholomaeus Anglicus De Proprietatibus Rerum (BL Add. 27944) (1975) I. 40   I lerned a and be And oþir lettres by here names.
c1405  (c1387–95)    G. Chaucer Canterbury Tales Prol. (Hengwrt) (2003) l. 161   On which was first writen a crowned .A. And after, amor vincit omnia.
a1425  (a1400)    Prick of Conscience (Galba & Harl.) (1863) l. 481   When it [sc. the child] es born it cryes swa: If it be man it says ‘a, a,’ Þat þe first letter es of þe nam Of our forme-fader Adam.
c1450   in D. Thomson Middle Eng. Grammatical Texts (1984) 26   Þe furst coniugacyon..hath A long beforn þe -re in þe infenityf.
1530   J. Palsgrave Lesclarcissement Introd. 17   These thre letters M, N or E fynall..be the very and onely causes why these thre vowelles A, E, O, be formed in the brest and sounded by the nose.
1598   W. Shakespeare Love's Labour's Lost v. i. 54   Peda. I will repeate them: a e I. Pag. The Sheepe, the other two concludes it o u.  
1678   S. Butler Hudibras: Third Pt. iii. i. 58   And love your Loves with A's, and B's.
1711   R. Steele Spectator No. 168. ⁋5   Whipped..for writing an O for an A, or an A for an O.
a1774   A. Tucker Light of Nature Pursued (1777) III. i. 233   Tully tells us, a hog has been known to make a perfect letter A with his snout upon the ground, but..no man ever saw a single A written by a hog, without a multitude of other irregular scratches round about it.
1842   Ld. Tennyson Epic in Poems (new ed.) II. 3   Mouthing out his hollow oes and aes, Deep-chested music.
1878   Pop. Sci. Monthly Aug. 445   We will..suppose that there are only twenty [muscles] involved in the pronunciation of A.
1919   J. E. Sandys Lat. Epigraphy (1927) iii. 36   In Latin this doubling is confined to the vowels A, E, U.
1976   M. K. Langdon Sanctuary of Zeus on Mount Hymettos 39   The single letter: -A-; broken away at either side.
2003   i-D Dec. 97/2   If you say to a lot of people, ‘PopArt is meant to be one word with a capital A in the middle,’ they look at you like you're really up your own arse.

OE—2003(Hide quotations)

 
 2.
 

 a. As a distinguishing letter, usually as part of an alphabetical sequence, denoting one of a series of things, a point in a diagram, a sheet of a book, etc.

1340   Ayenbite (1866) 1 (MED)   A betocneþ þe uerste half of þe leave, b þe oþerhalf.
?c1400   in J. O. Halliwell Rara Mathematica (1839) 65 (MED)   Make a quadrat..in þe manner of ABCD..and wite you that A es þe right cornel vpward.
1480   W. Caxton Chron. Eng. (printer's signature mark)    a6.
1570   H. Billingsley tr. Euclid Elements Geom. i. f. 16v   From the pointes..A and B, let there be drawn two right lines AC and CB to the point C.
1585   J. Blagrave Math. Iewel 4   A rule with a centrehole towards the one end to ride uppon the point A.
1675   J. Collins Let. 10 Apr. in H. Oldenburg Corr. (1977) XI. 260   Let the Points be ABCD and E , any three of which as A , B and C ioyne to make a Rectilinear Triangle ABC.
1724   H. Pemberton Let. ?Jan. in I. Newton Corr. (1977) VII. 257   Whence if a right line were drawn from A to T the triangle AZT would be given in species..for the angle under the lines AT and TZ will be given.
1842   Penny Mag. Sept. 379   Supposing a group of signature A to be thus folded, another of signature B, and others..these will have to be ‘gathered’ into volumes at the next process.
1949   A. C. Walshaw Heat Engines (ed. 3) xi. 241   The admission of steam from A to C shows, during the first part, AB, how the pressure of the steam in the cylinder rises.
1970   Pop. Mech. Feb. 193   Pier A is glued to the back of the 6-in. portal.
2005   S. Bright Maths Connect 54   Place a ruler from A to B and join A to the straight line.

1340—2005(Hide quotations)

 

 b. Music. The sixth note of the diatonic scale of C major, or the first note of the relative minor scale of C. Also:  (a) a key based on a scale which has A as its keynote;  (b) the pitch of a musical instrument which is a minor third lower than written pitch.The A above middle C is usually used as the basis for tuning and in modern music has a standard frequency of 440 Hz.

1609   J. Dowland tr. A. Ornithoparchus Micrologus 22   In the first part set A Base, in the third D sol re, in the fifth A lamire.
1676   T. Mace Musick's Monument xlii. 219   This next Line shall show you A-re, with all Its 3d's, 5th's, and 8th's, Natural.
1724   W. Turner Sound Anatomiz'd 71   Of the natural Capacity of each of the seven Degrees of Sound, that there are but five of them, to wit, A, B, D, E and G, that will admit of a Flat; and five also, to wit, A, C, D, F, and G, that will admit of a Sharp.
1785   European Mag. 7 355/1   We have the minor third in the natural key of A.
1806   J. W. Callcott Musical Gram. ii. 4   The Notes of Music are named from the first seven letters of the alphabet, A, B, C, D, E, F, G. When the Melody, or Tune, exceeds these seven, the same series of letters must be repeated.
1847   R. Platt New, Easy, & Correct Syst. Vocal Music iv. 71   The key of A minor (or rather its relative, C major) has no sharp in its signature.
1880   G. Grove Dict. Music I. 192   The beautiful and passionate Sonata in A which was inspired by and dedicated to his [sc. Beethoven's] friend Madame Ertmann.
1929   Musical Times 70 633/2   Leave F and A till the last. They involve the use of two toes followed by two heels... Work out a similar exercise in the key of A flat.
1953   Rotarian Dec. 56/2   Gus..sounded an ‘A’ to give the fiddler his pitch for tuning.
1983   D. Etheridge Mozart's Clarinet Concerto i. 20   There are many places where the note c can be used on a basset clarinet in A to sound a.
2003   New Yorker 8 Sept. 22/3   She performs the Impromptus in G-flat Major and B-Flat Major and the Sonata in A Major..along with a selection of waltzes and ländler.

1609—2003(Hide quotations)

 
 

 c. Reduplicated as AA, AAA, etc., as an extension of an alphabetical sequence (preceding A), esp. denoting one of a series of sizes or classes.

1877   J. T. Fanning Pract. Treat. Water Supply Engin. 608   Lead pipes of weights as in class A are used ordinarily when the head of water on them does not exceed 75 feet; class AA when the head is from 75 to 150 feet ; and class AAA when the head..is great.
1893   J. M. Crawford tr. Industries of Russia I. iii. 45   The manufactory produced..twist, weft and doubled yarns, class AAA, class AA and classes A, B and C.
1915   Spalding's Official Base Ball Rec. 8 7   Both National and American Leagues agreed that players drafted from Class AA clubs should finish the season.
1952   Good Housek. (U.S. ed.) Dec. 245/2 (advt.)    QualiCraft opera highlighted by holiday sparkle Sizes 3 to 10, AAAA through C.
1973   Pop. Mech. Dec. 133   Batteries are penlight size (AA) in some cameras and size AAA in others.
1997   Financial Post (Canada) 13 Feb. 35/4   Dominion Bond Rating Service said it is assigning a rating of AA to British Columbia's 70-billion-yen issue of..Samurai bonds.
2002   Independent 20 June (Review section) 11/4   A company that caters to everyone from the most modestly sized (AA cup) to the stonkingly well-endowed (H cup).

1877—2002(Hide quotations)

 

 d. Sociology. Denoting the highest (or formerly lowest) of a series of social classes. In later use spec. denoting the highest-earning socio-economic class for marketing purposes, including managerial and professional personnel. See also AB n. at Compounds.

1887   Jrnl. Royal Statist. Soc. 50 329   A. The Lowest Class—Consists of some (so-called) labourers... The total counted in Class A are 6,882.
1889   C. Booth Labour & Life People I. i. ii. 33   The 8 classes into which I have divided these people are: A. The lowest class of occasional labourers, and semi-criminals. B. Casual earnings—‘very poor’ [etc.].
1910   F. G. D'aeth in Sociol. Rev. 3 270   The present class structure is based upon different standards of life... These varying standards tend to fall into seven groups..A. The Loafer..B. Low-skilled labour..C. Artizan..D. Smaller Shopkeeper and clerk..E. Smaller Business Class..F. Professional and Administrative Class..G. The Rich.
1936   G. Harrison & F. C. Mitchell Home Market xii. 59   Blue Symbols represent A grade—where chief income earner receives £10 per week or more.
1950   D. C. Jones in Brit. Jrnl. Sociol. 1 51   It will simplify both our analysis and your classification if you begin by thinking in terms of five main social classes, which we have lettered in descending order A, B, C, D, E.
1984   Social Trends (Central Statistical Office) No. 14. x. 142   Almost every household in social classes A and B possessed a dictionary in May 1982.
2004   J. D. Healey Housing, Fuel Poverty, & Health ix. 178   One anomaly relates to the finding that 15.9% of those in social class A express some intermittent problems with fuel poverty.

1887—2004(Hide quotations)

 

 e. Education. Denoting the highest class of academic mark. Cf. straight A n. at straight adj., n., and adv. Compounds 1c.

1892   Harvard Advocate 14 Apr. 63/1   Not a whit deterred by the fact of three E's and two D's at the mid years, she set out to make Harris take five A's at the finals.
1931   Titusville (Pa.) Herald 30 Dec. 6/5   An honour student must receive all A's and B's.
1978   Times 21 Mar. 3/1   The university is inviting applications for entry next September only from those who expect to get A or B grades at A level.
1988   B. Orser Orser: Skater's Life iii. 106   She studied her brains out every night and got As in everything.
2009   S. Faulks Week in December 22   Although the pupils regularly came near the top of the national league of exam results, most taking home a full house of A-stars and A's, they had little idea of spelling or grammar.

1892—2009(Hide quotations)

 

 f. Chiefly British. Denoting the highest category of road below a motorway.

1921   Autocar 29 Oct. 829/2   Those roads, however, which have already received numbers are all of the first, or A, category... Six boundary roads radiating from London are taken as the basis. Road A1 is that from London to Edinburgh; A2 runs from London to Dover; A3 London to Portsmouth.
1953   Times 17 Sept. 11/2   It is virtually impossible for a stranger to decipher the geography of many industrial towns once the A-road has been left.
1988   Which? Dec. 574/3   Some atlases show..motorways in blue with white road numbers, and primary A-roads in green with yellow road numbers.
2006   Bristol Evening Post (Nexis) 20 June 16   Villages will be brought to a virtual standstill by rat-runners..when the busy A4 is closed to traffic..next month.

1921—2006(Hide quotations)

 

 g. Denoting a series of international standard paper sizes, each with a fixed rectangular shape (the length being 41.4 per cent greater than the width) and with twice the surface area of the next size in the series, as A0, A1, A2, etc. Cf. B n. 4   (v), C n. 5.

1930   Standards Yearbk. (National Bureau Statistics) 16   The discussions resulted in the setting up of a so-called A series of paper sizes... Size A4 of this series is the standard letter size.
1932   Industr. Standardization 3 203/2   The European main or A-series of paper sizes... The basic sheet with an area of one square meter is designated A0 (A zero); the next smaller sheet by A1; half of this by A2, etc.
1937   E. J. Labarre Dict. Paper 277/1   The basic sizes are therefore: A-series = A0 = 841 × 1189 mm; B-series = B0 = 1000 × 1414 mm; C-series = C0 = 917 × 1297 mm.
1962   F. T. Day Introd. to Paper vii. 71   At present there is much discussion of the advantages of what are termed A and B paper sizes.
1982   Financial Times 25 Oct. i. 12/7   The new chassis..is about the size of an A4 sheet of paper.
2006   New Yorker 5 June 32/2   The flat..was stocked with two sizes of stationery: U.S. Letter and the thinner, taller A4 that is standard in Europe.

1930—2006(Hide quotations)

 

 3. from A to (also until) Z : from beginning to end, all through, in every particular.

1612   T. Shelton tr. M. de Cervantes Don-Quixote: Pt. 1 Pref. sig. A2   Thou needest doe nought else but seeke out a Booke that doth quote them all from the letter A. vntill Z.
[1788   T. Holcroft tr. Life Baron Trenck III. 309   Noble Zetto, Kronsdorf, Krugel, and ye other nobles, from A to Z, I deserve your mighty wrath.]
1807   R. Estlack Ethick Diversions 48   Fight as folly may from A to Z.
a1821   J. Keats Otho v. v, in R. M. Milnes Life, Lett. & Lit. Remains Keats (1848) II. 193   We must obey The prince from A to Z.
1876   R. Browning Fears & Scruples v   Ask the experts! How they shake the head O'er these characters,..Call them forgery from A to Z!
1912   L. Tracy Mirabel's Island (1915) v. 77   I know Ealing from A to Z, but have never visited Regent Street.
1961   Pop. Sci. Dec. 7/1   You see on this page a panel of experts who know Accounting from A to Z.
2008   N. Daniloff Of Spies & Spokesmen xxii. 267   UPI asked me to produce a ‘stem-winder’... (That journalistic term means a complete report from A to Z.)

1612—2008(Hide quotations)

 
 

 4. The letter with reference to its shape; something having the shape of the letter. Frequently attributive.

1816   W. Y. Ottley Inq. Early Hist. Engraving I. viii. 621   This piece somewhat resembles an a.
1873   J. Fogerty Lauterdale I. xix. 248   Two strong spars were secured as shear legs in an A-shape over the stern.
1878   Eng. Mech. 2 Aug. 526/2   Upon the goods lines the tail lamp should be placed high up, or upon the top of the van, to form an A.
1915   Pop. Mech. July 146/1   If desired, two half ranger tents with tapes may be purchased and fastened together to form an A, or wedge, tent.
1945   Brit. Med. Jrnl. 10 Nov. 639/1   After 3 days, as shown, there was lysis of the staphylococci round the streptothrix (planted in the shape of an A).
2008   J. Plummer Islands & Lifelines x. 197   A terrific gust of wind spun through the site, simultaneously snapping one of the A poles in both of the staff tents.

1816—2008(Hide quotations)

 
 

 5. from A to B: from one designated place or point to another, esp. from one's starting point to one's destination; also in extended use, with reference to any finite process of development, progress, or transfer.

[?c1400   in J. O. Halliwell Rara Mathematica (1839) 65   Þe quadrat bitwene A and B mote be persede reulefully, in whilk persyng put a chippe..bot it sale be moveable fro A to B.
1797   T. J. Mathias Pursuits of Lit. iv. 33   Be regular: from science A to science B proceed, I hate your zig-zag verse and wanton heed.]
1851   Jurist 14 1048/2   This is not a right of way between two termini, a right to go from A. to B., but a right to go to and from any place I please.
1876   R. V. Rogers Law of Road 114   He remarked that the words usually printed on them..created a contract on the part of the company to convey the holder in one continuous journey from A to B.
1942   H. R. Desilva Why we have Automobile Accidents i. 5   People like automobiles because ‘everybody wants to go from A to B sitting down’.
1957   ‘H. MacDiarmid’ Battle Continues 57   All the bourgeoisie are alike in this, Running the whole gamut of life from A to B... They have all the same pettifogging spirit, So narrow it shows little but its limits.
1971   New Scientist 1 July 5/1   In traffic-choked cities the slender bike is the fastest means of getting from A to B.
2001   New Yorker 20 Jan. 71/2   I thought..if you give the people a chance to vote they'll solve the problem. But I didn't realize that from A to B was so far.

1851—2001(Hide quotations)

 
 II. Symbolic uses (now usually written without a following point).

 6. Logic. Esp. in syllogistic logic: (used to denote) a universal affirmative, i.e. a proposition of the form ‘All X are Y’.The universal affirmative is one of four propositions, the others being denoted by E, I, and O (see those entries).

1551   T. Wilson Rule of Reason sig. Gvijv   In these wordes there be foure vowels to be considered and marked. That is to saye, A, E, I, & O. And where we see A in Barbara thrise, we must considre that these thre AAA in this one worde, declare vnto vs thre vniuersall propositions affirmatiue.
1620   T. Granger Syntagma Logicum 262   The Vowels..signifie the qualities, and quantities of the premisses. A. An universall affirmative. E. An universall negative. I. A particular affirmative. O. A particular negative.
1685   tr. P. Nicole & A. Arnauld Logic ii. i. 166   A. An Universal Affirmative, as, All vicious Men are slaves.
1707   J. Oldfield Ess. Improvem. Reason iii. vi. 252   A (importing an universal Affirmative Proposition) might be follow'd [by]A, E, I, or O.
1773   E. Bentham Introd. Logick iii. iii. 55   The letters A, E, I, O, have been usually substituted, as technical marks; A, for an universal affirmative proposition.
1832   C. Wesley Guide Syllogism 9   There are four kinds of pure categorical propositions, distinguished by the symbols, A, E, I, O. Universal affirmative, A. Universal negative, E. [etc.]
1866   Mansel in F. C. Bowen Logic 201   A is declared by Aristotle to be the most difficult proposition to establish, and the easiest to overthrow.
1901   G. H. Smith Logic iii. 53 (note)    There are four forms of the proposition, designated respectively by the letters, A, E, I, and O.
1980   A. S. McGrade in B. Tierney & P. Linehan Authority & Power 154   We may use ‘All crows are black’ as an example of the universal affirmative, or A, proposition.
2007   J. Barnes Truth ii. 141   In style A, X is true of what Y is true of if and only if there is nothing of which Y is true and X is not true.

1551—2007(Hide quotations)

 

 7. Chiefly Logic and Law. A hypothetical person, thing, or example, usually the first of two or more.

1569   J. Leslie Def. Honour Marie Quene of Scotl. ii. f. 61   Nowe the lande shall not descende either to A, or B. But shall goe to the lorde of the fee by waye of eschete.
1658   E. Wingate Maximes of Reason clvii. 613   B. is remitted, for that he was not party to the Covin, and shall hold in common with A. but A. was not remitted.
1752   H. Fielding Amelia IV. xii. v. 252   The Public..had no Manner of Interest in the Alternative, whether A. in whom the Right was, or B. to whom Mr. Murphy by the Means aforesaid, had transferr'd it.
1800   Monthly Mag. 1 238   A is partners with B.
1870   F. C. Bowen Logic iii. 49   Every conceivable thing is either A or not-A. Of course A and not-A, taken together, include the universe.
1933   Econometrica 1 424   The cost of commodity A is the cost of might-have-been commodity B is the cost of might-have-been commodity C.
1971   J. Rawls Theory of Justice viii. 487   If A cares for B, then failing a special explanation A is afraid for B when B is in danger.
2000   Econ. & Philos. 16 27   For a collection of egoists, a demonstration that each of them would be better off if they all performed some action A is not a reason for any one of them to do A.

1569—2000(Hide quotations)

 

 8. Mathematics. Chiefly italicized. Representing the known or invariable quantity, or the first in a series of such quantities, the others being represented by b, c, etc. Cf. X n. 3a.

1656   tr. T. Hobbes Elements Philos. ii. xiii. 127   Let B be added to, and substracted from the quantity A; so that A-B be the Remainder, and A+B the Aggregate.
1670   I. Newton Let. Jan. (1959) I. 19   If AC AH are its rectangled Asymptotes and ye area BDGE is desired: bisect BD in C, make AC = a, CF = b, & CD or CB = x. soe yet ab/ a + x = DG & ab/ a - x = BE.
1707   J. Ward Young Mathematician's Guide ii. 157   To Raise the Binomial Root a+ b to the Seventh Power.
1762   A. Fletcher Universal Measurer & Mechanic i. 187   If we divide..by A+B+C, and put the quote = v × SG, the velocity of the center of gravity, we'll have SG = [etc.].
1859   G. Boole Treat. Differential Equations 373   The index law, expressed by the equation mamb = ma+b.
1935   A. H. G. Palmer & K. S. Snell Mechanics vii. 128   The particle of mass m whose position x at time t is given by x = a cos (nt + ε), a , n , and ε being constants.
1977   G. Caughley Anal. Vertebr. Populations viii. 96   The log-polynomial takes the form log fx = a + bx + cx² + dx³ +..etc.
2006   A. Ash & R. Gross Fearless Symmetry xxi. 244   The equation a4 + b4 = C4 was shown to have no solutions by Fermat.

1656—2006(Hide quotations)

 

 9. Physics.  [Initial letter of acceleration.] Chiefly in form a. Acceleration; acceleration vector.

1810   Encycl. Brit. VII. 469/1   The acceleration a is proportional to v/ i, as in the case where the motion is uniformly accelerated.
1882   G. M. Minchin Uniplanar Kinematics ii. 54   At any instant a is the acceleration of the velocity of a moving point in any direction.
1919   J. Mills Realities Mod. Sci. xi. 134   Let a represent the acceleration, then if the initial velocity is zero the velocity at the end of t seconds is expressed as v=at.
1946   L. Toft & A. T. J. Kersey Theory of Machines (ed. 5) i. 4   Find the velocity V and the acceleration A if the units of length and time are the mile and the hour respectively.
2007   S. Holzner Physics Workbk. for Dummies iv. 64   Calculate the net force first and then use that in F = m · a.

1810—2007(Hide quotations)

 

 10. Astronomy. In form A. In the classification system of stellar spectra: the division comprising spectra characterized by prominent Balmer hydrogen absorption lines. Also (esp. in A-star, A-type star): designating a white star with a surface temperature of approx. 7500–11,000 K which emits such a spectrum.

1890   E. C. Pickering Draper Catal. Stellar Spectra in Ann. Astron. Observatory Harvard Coll. 27 2   When no other lines but those named above are visible the spectrum is indicated by the letter A.
1942   W. M. Smart Found. Astron. xii. 211   Stars belonging to a particular type or class, say A, are sub-divided as A0, A1, A2..A9.
1984   Chinese Astron. & Astrophysics 63   We found the main component to have spectral type A5V.
1994   Observatory 114 77   The Φ values of young neutron stars and magnetic white dwarfs are comparable to those of magnetic A-stars.
2006   Nature 13 Apr. 873/1   In the standard Morgan–Keenan system, which classifies stars into types O, B, A, F, G, K and M in order of decreasing temperature, Vega is the archetypal A-type star.

1890—2006(Hide quotations)

 

 11. Chemistry. In form A. The element argon. disused.Superseded by Ar.

1896   Ld. Rayleigh & W. Ramsay in Philos. Trans. (Royal Soc.) A. 186 237   We would suggest for this element, assuming provisionally that it is not a mixture, the symbol A.
1908   A. Findlay tr. W. Ostwald Princ. Inorg. Chem. (ed. 3) xix. 441   The formula of gaseous argon is given by the simple symbol A1 and not A2.
1936   S. Glasstone Recent Adv. Gen. Chem. i. 45   The 38A, radio-argon.

1896—1936(Hide quotations)

 

 12. Medicine. Chiefly in form A. Denoting one of the principal erythrocyte antigens (agglutinogens) of the ABO blood group system, and the blood type characterized by the presence of this antigen. Frequently attributive. Cf. AB n. at Compounds, B n. 4b(a), O n.1 7.

1923   Brit. Med. Jrnl. 5 May 750/2   There are present in human blood two agglutinable substances, A and B, which react with specific agglutinins a and b.
1926   K. Landsteiner & D. H. Witt in Jrnl. Immunol. 11 242   The iso-agglutinin reactions of human blood can possibly be explained by the simple assumption of only two different agglutinogens and agglutinins. Designating these by α and β, and the agglutinogens by A and B, the following symbols are obtained for the blood groups: I–α, β; II A, β; III B, α; IV A, B–; if we include the factors A1 and α1 in the scheme, and if O and o signify the absence of agglutinogens or agglutinins, then the signs are: I O α, β, α1; II A, β, and A, A1, β; III B, α, α1; IV A, B, o.
1948   New Biol. 5 69   Human beings are classified into the four categories A, B, AB or O according as to whether certain A and B substances can be detected in their red blood cells.
1976   Man 11 241   The frequency of the B gene in Iraq tends to increase from north to south, while the A gene is more frequent in the north.
2004   Healthy Sept. 46/2   People belonging to the most common blood group, A (over 40 per cent of us), have only the A substance.

1923—2004(Hide quotations)

 

 13. Biochemistry. Denoting a form of double stranded nucleic acid comprising a right-handed double helix in which the base pairs form an angle of approximately seventy degrees with the helix axis; (also) designating DNA or RNA forming this structure; esp. in A-DNA. Cf. B n. Additions.This structure occurs commonly in double stranded RNA and DNA-RNA hybrids, but in DNA it is found only under conditions of low relative humidity or high salt concentration.

1953   R. E. Franklin & R. G. Gosling in Nature 25 Apr. 740/1   Sodium Thymonucleate fibres give two distinct types of X-ray diagram. The first corresponds to a crystalline form, structure A, obtained at about 75 per cent relative humidity... At higher humidities a different structure, structure B, showing a lower degree of order, appears and persists over a wide range of ambient humidity. The change from A to B is reversible.
1974   Jrnl. Molecular Biol. 88 524   We prepared specimens of D-DNA under the minimum retained salt conditions that would normally yield an A-DNA.
1988   P. W. Kuchel et al. Schaum's Outl. Theory & Probl. Biochem. vii. 185   This is a result of a change to the A form, in which the base pairs are not perpendicular to the helix axis.
2005   D. P. Clark Molecular Biol. iv. 92   Double-stranded RNA or hybrids with one RNA and one DNA strand usually form an A-helix.

1953—2005(Hide quotations)

 
 III. Simple abbreviations.
 

 14. In form A. A substitution in speech and text for various names (forename or surname).

1377   Winchester Chamberlain's Roll in Middle Eng. Dict. at Bagge-man   Et de xi s. vi d. receptis de R. Bosyngton et A. Baroun, Bagemanis, de arreragiis ultimi compoti.
1594   W. West Symbolæogr.: 2nd Pt. ii. Chancerie §85   Your said orator then referring especiall trust and confidence to the said J. T. and A. L.
1601   Let. 7 Nov. in F. Moryson Itinerary (1617) i. 152   I the President doe acknowledge the receit of such an intelligence, concerning Captaine A.
1655   E. Elys Dia Poemata 42 (title)    To Mrs A. S. on the death of her two first children.
1709   W. Nicolson London Diaries 26 Apr. (1985) 503   A Letter..from Mr A. Grub of Stockholm.
1852   E. E. Stuart Let. 13 Jan. in R. Stuart et al. Stuart Lett. (1961) I. 253   Young A. has had quite a severe attack of Scarlet Fever—& has altered very much.
1941   N. Coward Diary 11 July (2000) 8   Lady A. delivered a tirade against Winston.
2002   M. Greenhough in Writing Wrongs 79   Guy, posing as Mr. P., then introduced Mr A. to a particularly dogged distributor of encyclopaedias.

1377—2002(Hide quotations)

 
 15. Of various English words.
1591   W. Burton Certaine Questions & Answeres f. 2   Q. How is God to be considered? A. Two waies. Either as he is in himself, or as he is vnto vs.
1791   J. Wesley Wks. (1872) VIII. 309   Q. 25. What is the office of a Helper? A. In the absence of a Minister, to feed and guide the flock.
1883   Man. Seamanship for Boys' Training Ships Royal Navy 195   Q. What is ground chain? A. A piece of small chain shackled to the anchor shackle.
1936   I. Gershwin Fancy! Fancy! in Compl. Lyrics (1993) 248/2   Q: Why did Mother Eve have no fear of the measles? A: Because she'd Adam.
1981   N.Y. Times 7 Feb. i. 21/6   Q: Were you able to quiet her? A: You bet your sweet patootie I quieted her.
2008   J. Quinn Goodnight Ballivor xiii. 65   The annual catechetical test by the diocesan examiner—Q. What is Purgatory? A. It's a place in England, Father.

1591—2008(Hide quotations)

 

 b. In form A (without point). As a brand or mark indicating that a person has been convicted of adultery: adulteress, adulterer, adultery. Cf. scarlet letter n. at scarlet n. and adj. Compounds 2a. Now historical.

[1641   Plymouth Coll. Rec. (1861) II. 28   The Court doth censure them as followeth: That..they shall weare..two letters, viz., AD, for adulteres, daly, Vpon the outeside of the vppermost garment.]
1651   in Province & Court Rec. Maine (1928) I. 164   Its ordered that mis Batcheller for her adultery shall..be branded with the letter A.
1779   in Vermont State Papers (1823) 290   An Act against, and for the punishment of Adultery... Both of them shall be..stigmatized, or burnt on the forehead with the letter A, on a hot iron; and each of them shall wear the capital letter A, on the back of their outside garment.
1850   N. Hawthorne Scarlet Let. ii. 66   Hester Prynne,..who stood on the scaffold of the pillory, an infant on her arm, and the letter A, in scarlet, fantastically embroidered with gold thread.
1906   J. Schouler Americans of 1776 iii. 26   That same year [sc. 1771], in New Haven, a mulatto was branded with an ‘A’ in the forehead for adultery with a white woman.
2000   L. J. Kreitzer Ciphers in Sand 181   We are given several close-up shots of both his branded ‘A’ and the embroidered letter on her bodice.

1651—2000(Hide quotations)

 

 c. Grammar. In form a or (occasionally) A.  (a) adjective;  (b) active (of a verb). Now rare.

1735   W. Pardon Dyche's New Gen. Eng. Dict. sig. B2/2   Abject (a.), mean, base, vile, wretched, miserable.
1782   J. Entick New Lat. & Eng. Dict. p. viii   An explanation of the several contractions used in this work. a. and act. a verb active.
1838   J. Bosworth Dict. Anglo-Saxon Lang. p. ccvii   v. a. or act. verb active.
1884   C. R. Lanman Sanskrit Reader 293   List of Abbreviations..a. adjective.
1904   C. B. Waite Homophonic Vocab. 42   a stands for adjective, n for noun. Other abbreviations will be easily understood.
1945   G. S. Earlie Current Abbrevs. 7   a. or adj. adjective.
2009   G. Wilcock Introd. Ling. Annot. ii. 27   Label every token with a part-of-speech label... Adjective (A or Adj), Adverb (Adv) [etc.]

1735—2009(Hide quotations)

 
 

 d. Accepted (of a bill).

1828   N. Webster Dict. Eng. Lang. (at cited word)   In commerce, A. stands for accepted, as in case of a bill of exchange.
1884   N.E.D. at A.   A., a.,..stands for..accepted (of bills).
1945   G. S. Earlie Current Abbrevs. 7   a. or acc...accepted.

1828—1945(Hide quotations)

 

 e. Cards. In form A (without point). Ace.

1885   Boston Daily Globe 27 Apr. 2/3 (table)    Whist Problem—..K, 4 C.; K, 7, 4 S.; A, 9 D.
1937   J. Crane Crane Syst. Contract Bidding 65   Suppose your partner opens with 2-C, and holds this hand:S.—A K J 8 6.
2000   J. D. Andrews Win at Hearts (rev. ed.) 80   Certainly an A of hearts can be useful, but not a K or Q of hearts (without the Ace).

1885—2000(Hide quotations)

 
 

 f. In form A (also a) (without point). Ampere.

1889   S. R. Bottone Electr. Instr. Making (ed. 3) ii. 56   Or if we like to use the initials of volts, ampères, and ohms..we may write V/ R = A, or Volts/ Ohms = Ampères.
1978   Gramophone Apr. 1796/3   There is also a mains voltage adjuster and twin 2.5A protective mains fuses.
2000   K. Johnson et al. Adv. Physics for You xvi. 201/1   Only certain fuse values are available: e.g. 3 A, 10 A and 13 A.

1889—2000(Hide quotations)

 

 g. British. In form A (without point). Adult, denoting a film, or a classification given to a film, considered to be suitable only for adults or children accompanied by an adult. Now historical.The A rating for films was abolished in 1982.

1914   Times 16 Feb. 6/2   Since the inception of the board [sc. British Board of Film Censors]..627 have been passed for ‘public’ exhibition with the ‘A’ certificate.
1936   Sunday Express 13 Dec. 14/1   Cinema Theatres. Academy, Ox.-st. Finnish Epic ‘Fredlos’ (A).
1962   H. C. Bentwich Our Councils iv. 31   A notice flashed on the screen saying that the film he was going to see had been passed as an ‘A’ film.
2001   L. K. Greiff D. H. Lawrence 235   Quite suggestive.., the segment had to be deleted in order for the film to receive Great Britain's A rating (Adult; no unaccompanied child admitted).

1914—2001(Hide quotations)

 
 

 h. In form A (without point). Australian, in A$, $A, and †£A.

1936   Whitaker's Almanack 810/2   Total imports, 1935–36..£A104,687,000.
1941   Times 27 Sept. 3/4   In Queensland, no post-war credit remains from an income of £A.5,0; in Victoria, the credit is £655.
1963   A. Ross Australia 63 iv. 99   The four Test stars..whose appearance cost the Tasmanian authorities £A300, again individually and in bulk failed to earn their keep.
1996   Southern Cross 28 Feb. 3/1   Mr Connell..once earnt a record A$ 100 million broking fee.
2002   Austral. Financial Rev. (Sydney) 15 Apr. 24/1   A fund manager..can gain vicarious exposure to the US dollar market by buying $US bonds that have been repackaged as $A notes.

1936—2002(Hide quotations)

 

 i. Science. In form a (without point). As prefix, in symbols of units of measurement: = atto- comb. form .

1961   Symbols, Units & Nomencl. Physics (IUPAP) 5   The following prefixes should be used to indicate decimal fractions of multiples of a unit..femto..f..atto..a.
1992   Jrnl. Symbolic Logic 57 348   1·3707884 attometers as the central radius of electronic ether curvature; Hre)−H(0) = 49·335745 + 0·53678593 = 118·4111 am.
2008   S. Grimes & Ø. G. Martinsen Bioimpedance & Bioelectr. Basics (ed. 2) v. 143   A monovalent ion corresponds to an electric charge of 0·16aC (1 attocoulomb = 10−18C).

1961—2008(Hide quotations)

 

 j. British colloquial. In form A (without point). A level. Usually in plural.

1979   Country Life May 1594/2 (advt.)    Lorraine went to the RNIB's Chorleywood College (with six ‘O’ levels and studying for her ‘A’s).
1998   L. R. Banks Fair Exchange 64   Things had not been so bad till she'd failed her A's at the comp.
2002   P. Hodkinson & M. Bloomer in K. Evans et al. Working to Learn ii. 37   Can I change one of my As to an AS?

1979—2002(Hide quotations)

 
 16. Of Latin and Italian words.

 a. Music. Alto.

1740   J. Grassineau tr. S. De Brossard Musical Dict. 1   A Majuscule in thorough Basses, marks the Alto.
1834   W. S. Porter Musical Cycl. 12   The more common abbreviations in music are A. Alto. [etc.]
1950   G. Santayana Let. 31 Jan. (2008) 232   B stands for bass, A for alto, and S for soprano.
2000   H. E. Smither Hist. Oratorio IV. p. xxiii   Other Abbreviations A Alto.

1740—2000(Hide quotations)

 

 b. ante (= before), esp. when preceding a date. See also a.m. adv.

1807   New Encycl. I. 2/1   A single stands for..ante [etc.].
1889   F. M. Warren Primer of French Lit. viii. 86   Georges Chastellain, a. 1415–1475.
1995   C. L. Allen Case Marking & Reanalysis App. C. 480   The MED gives the date of composition as a1250.

1807—1995(Hide quotations)

 

 17. Physics. In form Å or A. Ångström.

1921   Physical Rev. 17 574   The side of the cube being 2·895 Å., and the distance between nearest atoms 2·508 Å.
1944   Lancet 23 Dec. 818/2   The rays which constitute visible light vary from about 4000 A to 7000 A.
2005   Nature 7 July p. ix/1   The crystal structure of a tetranucleosome has now been determined at 9Å resolution.

1921—2005(Hide quotations)

 

Compounds

 

  AB n. Medicine denoting the blood type of the ABO blood group system characterized by the presence of both the A and B erythrocyte antigens (agglutinogens); frequently attributive.

1927   Jrnl. Amer. Med. Assoc. 88 1422/1   Dr. Karl Landsteiner has suggested the substitution of the well known letters O, A, B and AB for the Jansky numbers I, II, III and IV and the Moss numbers IV, II, III and I. The letters will..express the actual constitution of the blood corpuscles with respect to iso-agglutination, as far as it concerns the separation of the groups.
1962   T. G. Hiebert Abbrev. Basic Med. Physiol. (ed. 4) ii. ix. 169   Type AB persons may receive moderate amounts of any type of blood.
2009   Daily Record (Glasgow) (Nexis) 4 Apr.   Obama travels with a six-strong medical team who have supplies of his AB blood.

1927—2009(Hide quotations)

 
 

  AB n.  [ < A n. + B n., the sigla used to identify two different manuscripts of the early 13th cent., MS Cambridge, Corpus Christi 402 and MS Oxford, Bodley 34, which have a high degree of similarity both orthographically and linguistically, though they were produced by different scribes] the early Middle English dialect of the west midlands used in two manuscripts of the early 13th cent., MS Cambridge, Corpus Christi 402 and MS Oxford, Bodley 34; frequently attributive in AB language.

1929   J. R. R. Tolkien in Ess. & Stud. by Members of Eng. Assoc. XIV. vi. 108   I will even suggest here that the unity of (A) and (B) will bear minute analysis, and leave a residuum of discrepancy which, in view of the quite different textual history and value of B, is negligible. The two manuscripts are in fact in one language and spelling (AB).
1967   Speculum 42 415   In the discussions attached to each section of the book and in tables which dramatize the results of the discussions, the phonological history of AB is traced.
1977   Rev. Eng. Stud. 28 316   He remarks on the dialectal location of the AB language made by Tolkien..and argues..for an even closer association with the NW. Herefordshire-SW. Shropshire area.
1996   J. Smith Hist. Stud. Eng. vii. 147   A form such as wrecche ‘wretch’..is assigned to the strong declension in AB-language.
2003   R. Dance in Y. Wada Compan. Ancrene Wisse iv. 78   We should not allow the understandable, comfortable impression of authorial voice that permeates the AB texts to divert us from the plain fact that they are written documents.

1929—2003(Hide quotations)

 
 

  AB n. (chiefly in plural) a member of either of the two highest social-economic classes A and B (also as adj.) (see sense 2d).

1966   Punch 10 Aug. 212/1   We have shown..that the ABs watch the same kind of programmes as everybody else.
1969   Listener 31 July 164   Such trusts appeal primarily to AB readers.
1976   New Society 1 Jan. 5/1   Upper middle class ABs living in the prosperous southern counties.
1986   Age (Melbourne) 18 Jan. 8/4   The social niceties..are very A, B. When I say ‘dick’, Liz pounces.
2001   Australian (Brisbane ed.) 30 Aug. (Media section) 12/1   But a few media groups are frustrated with what could be called bias among advertising buyers over their AB tendencies.

1966—2001(Hide quotations)

 

  A chromosome   n. Genetics  (a) a chromosome reckoned as the first in a classification varying from author to author (now disused);  (b) a chromosome of the set which normally occurs in all the members of a species.

1909   Amer. Naturalist 43 243   For each pair in the cells of a given individual there is a homologous pair in the cells of other individuals of the same species.... We may designate one of these pairs as A chromosomes, a second as B chromosomes, etc., the same pairs as a rule being found in different individuals of the same species.
1927   Amer. Jrnl. Bot. 14 80   The A-chromosomes are shown in this nucleus in the lower part of fig. 15. The second large pair (B-chromosomes) are represented in figure 20.
[1928   L. F. Randolph in Anat. Rec. 41 102   In maize have been found supernumerary chromosomes of three types: a) Duplicates of members of the typical set... Type-A chromosomes appear in the progeny of triploids crossed with diploids.]
1941   Genetics 26 609   In somatic metaphases the B chromosomes are readily distinguishable from the A chromosomes.
1977   I. H. Herskowitz Princ. Genetics (ed. 2) xix. 465   A chromosomes will synapse with similar, but nonhomologous, B chromosomes.
2009   J. A. Coyne Why Evol. is True 242   The plant arising from this union will have eleven chromosomes. And it will be sterile, for while each A chromosome has a pairing partner, none of the B chromosomes do.

1909—2009(Hide quotations)

 
 

  A-horizon   n. see horizon n. 5b.

 

  A-mode   n. chiefly Medicine a mode of operation or functioning that is first in a group of two or more; spec. the mode of operation in A-scan ultrasound imaging; frequently attributive; cf. B-mode n. at B n. Additions.

1946   Jrnl. Inst. Electr. Engineers 93 iiia. 931/2   These three modes [of vibration in a microwave resonator] were originally designated by Sayers as the AB-mode, the A-mode and the B-mode.
1966   Neurology 16 355/1   The term A-mode ultrasonics signifies that returning ultrasonic energy is represented by height of deflections on the ordinate of the oscilloscope screen.
1994   P.-M. Klews in K.-J. Wolf & F. Fobbe Color Duplex Sonography i. 4   Figure 1.4 shows the B-mode image of a liver and a gall bladder. One ultrasound scan line is displayed in A-mode.
2006   National Hog Farmer (Nexis) 15 Apr. 30   A commonly used A-mode ultrasound machine..was also used to estimate fat depth.

1946—2006(Hide quotations)

 
 

  A-plus   n. see plus adj. 5b.

 
 

  A-shaped adj. having the shape of a capital letter A; cf. sense 4.

1844   H. M. Noad Lect. Electr. (ed. 2) viii. 366   On the shaft is mounted an A shaped frame.
1909   Cent. Dict. Suppl.   A-frame, the A-shaped support for the cylinder-beam and cross-head guides of a vertical engine.
2005   C. Holmes Garden of Evil xv. 111   When they got to the A-shaped greenhouse building, Gil led the way down the rows of newly potted seedlings.

1844—2005(Hide quotations)

 

  A-side   n. (the music recorded on) the more important side of a single (single n. 3p). Cf. B-side at B n. 4b(f).

1937   Down Beat Feb. 14/1   The ‘A’ side is ‘Rockin' Chair’, which was originally coupled with ‘Barnacle Bill, the Sailor’.
1942   Billboard 28 Feb. 61   The A side is a catchy melody.
1968   Guardian 5 Jan. 18/4   The seven-man band arrived at the London recording studio to make the ‘A’ side of a new ‘single’.
1984   Sounds 1 Dec. 6/5   The A-side features the inimitable talents of Jim Thirlwell on lead vocal.
2003   J. Dawson & S. Propes 45 RPM xvii. 138   The A-side is surf-rock's national anthem.

1937—2003(Hide quotations)

 

  A-star   n. British Education a grade awarded in GCSE and A-level examinations (from 1994 and 2008 respectively) for performance exceeding the standards denoted by an ordinary A (also written A*).

1994   Scotsman 3 Sept. 3/3   Of the top 50 British schools obtaining most A and new A-star grades, 34 were single-sex girls' schools.
2001   Observer 18 Mar. (Britain Uncovered Suppl.) 60/1   We thought he was no good at French but he got an A-star.
2009   S. Faulks Week in December 22   Although the pupils regularly came near the top of the national league of exam results, most taking home a full house of A-stars and A's, they had little idea of spelling or grammar.

1994—2009(Hide quotations)

 
 

  A-test   n.  [ < the initial letter of atom n. and atomic adj. + test n.1, after A-bomb n.] a test explosion of an atomic bomb.

1954   Britannica Bk. of Year 637/2   A-test, a test explosion of an atomic bomb.
1984   Times 29 Aug. 8/2 (headline)    The A-test that tipped the balance of power Moscow's way.
2001   Sydney Morning Herald 28 Apr. 10/7 (headline)    Papers back A-test victim claims.

1954—2001(Hide quotations)

 

Initialisms

  Many of the terms given here without points are also frequently used with points, and vice versa. Less commonly, variation between upper- and lower-case letters may occur where the initialism is not a proper name.See also ABTA n., ACAS n., ADAS n., AIDS n., A-OK adj. and adv., Apex n.2, Apex n.3, Apra n., asap adv., ASCII n., ASEAN n., A.S.L.E.F. n., AWACS n., etc. (as main entries).

  AA n. chiefly U.S. Politics administrative assistant.

1957   Newsweek 28 Jan. 34/1   A.A.'s make up ‘quotes’ for inquiring reporters and whisper strategic advice during floor debates.
1989   D. W. Ewing Justice on Job 149   The AA would write up the complaint when it came to the office and set the wheels in motion for a thorough investigation.
2002   G. Reeher & M. Mariani Insider's Guide to Polit. Internships 32   The AA is responsible for all the office's operations and serves as a top advisor to the member on both policy and political issues.

1957—2002(Hide quotations)

 

  AA n. originally U.S. Alcoholics Anonymous; (also) a member of this organization.

1940   Washington Star 5 May ii. c5/4   Attention was drawn to the movement recently by a dinner that John D. Rockefeller, jr..gave for 60 A.A.'s at the Union Club in New York.
1943   A.A. (Alcoholic Foundation) 1   As an active member of A.A. since 1939, I feel myself a useful member of the human race at last.
1977   M. French Women's Room ii. x. 89   I keep thinking I just have to get through today, you know? Like an AA.
2008   Daily Record (Nexis) 23 July 32   I am an alcoholic but, with the help of AA and friends, I have not had a drink for four years.

1940—2008(Hide quotations)

 

  AA adj. (also A-A, A/A) anti-aircraft; cf. ack-ack adj.The abbreviation occurs in a work ostensibly dated 1909, E. Hospitalier Vocabulaire Technique, Industriel & Commercial (new ed.) 538, but this title-page date is thought to be an error for 1919.

1914   Times Bk. Navy 145   The abbreviations used in the lists are as follows:..A.A., Anti-air-craft guns.
1943   Notes & Queries 184 107/2   A.-A. barrage was audible from twenty miles away.
1978   MERIP Rep. No. 64 23/1 (table)    Self-propelled A/A guns.
a1985   P. White With the Jocks (2003) 29   As the gun had AA mounting and sights it was difficult to keep the rapid bursts of fire consistently on target.

1914—a1985(Hide quotations)

 

  A.A. n. North American Education Associate of (also in) Arts.

1857   Photogr. Notes 15 Dec. 464/1   Young men, whose age does not exceed 18 years, may, by successfully passing an examination in two or more..subjects,..receive the degree of A.A. (Associate of Arts).
1952   Good Housek. (U.S. ed.) Dec. 201/1 (advt.)    Fully accredited. Awards A.A. degree. College transfer, terminal, and pre-professional courses.
2001   J. E. Rosenbaum Beyond College for All iii. 66   The A.A. is a shorter and perhaps easier degree than a B.A.

1857—2001(Hide quotations)

 

  AA n. Automobile Association.

1905   Autocar 14 Oct. 443/1   Commonsense precautions taken with regard to villages, and at dangerous points, do not concern the A.A., for therein it is considered lies the duty of the policeman.
1937   Discovery July liv/2 (advt.)    Victoria Hotel, A.A. H. & C. Electricity.
2009   Evening Gaz. (Middlesbrough) (Nexis) 4 Apr. 11   You contacted the AA for a routemap and the information you received was a loose leaf folder stapled at the top.

1905—2009(Hide quotations)

 
 

  AAA n. Amateur Athletic Association.

1880   Wheel World Oct. 273   This year has seen the formation of the Amateur Athletic Association.., the A.A.A.
1955   Times 20 July 3/5   B. S. Hewson, the A.A.A. mile champion.
1999   E. Afr. Standard (Nairobi) 5 Jan. 25/2   Her image had been tarnished by..the local Amateur Athletics Association (AAA)..as well as the sports ministry.

1880—1999(Hide quotations)

 

  AAA n. American Automobile Association.

1902   Automobile May 1945/1 (heading)    Constitution and by-laws of the A.A.A.
1955   Times 4 Aug. 10/2   Colonel Hallington, the chairman of the A.A.A. contest board, said that the decision had been prompted by the accident at Le Mans.
2003   Chicago Tribune (Midwest ed.) 23 Nov. viii. 3/1   The AAA is revamping its Web sites to compete with online travel agencies.

1902—2003(Hide quotations)

 

  AAA n. Military (originally U.S.) anti-aircraft artillery; cf. triple-A n. at triple adj. and adv. Additions.

1943   N.Y. Times 31 Mar. 13/2 (caption)    Major Gen. Sanderford Jarman, commanding general of the AAA command.
1985   Washington Post 12 Mar. a8/5   The airfield was protected by light AAA.
1999   Belfast News Let. (Nexis) 28 Apr. 11   Despite the AAA fire, the Harriers pressed home their attack.

1943—1999(Hide quotations)

 
 

  AAF n. Auxiliary Air Force.

1925   Flight 15 Jan. 32/2   The designating numbers of the A.A.F. units will start with 600.
1991   Air Force Mag. June 86/1   Forty-one AAF planes fell in combat, about half to flak, but 184 were lost to other causes, largely weather-related.

1925—1991(Hide quotations)

 
 

  AAM n. air-to-air missile.

1950   Pop. Sci. Monthly Mar. 158/1   AAM is thus Air to Air. The M stands for Missile.
1990   D. J. Calvert Harrier (‘Aircraft Illustr.’ Special) 21/3   Even more impressive was the fitting of the necessary wiring and switches to allow the GR3 to mount a pair of AIM-9G Sidewinder AAM on the outer pylons.

1950—1990(Hide quotations)

 

  A and E   n. (also A&E) Medicine (chiefly British and New Zealand) accident and emergency (department).

1966   Brit. Med. Jrnl. 19 Mar. p. lii   Senior House Officer in Surgery required... 54-bedded unit with O.P.D. Clinics and some work in A. and E. Department.
1970   Accident & Emergency Dept. S.W. Regional Hosp. Board: Dept. Design Ser. III. 68 (table)    For X-ray Sub-dept. if main X-ray Dept. is not adjacent to A. & E. Dept.
1994   I. Welsh Soft Touch in Acid House 51   Ah hud tae go tae the A and E at the Infirmary.
2002   More! 3 Apr. 56/1   I've given countless people CPR in A&E.

1966—2002(Hide quotations)

 

  A & M   n. (also A and M) U.S. (in the names of colleges and universities) Agricultural and Mechanical.

1865   Naturalists' Directory i. 65   GW Aderhold, A. & M. College, Lexington, Ky.
1954   Jet 22 July 54   Alex Burl, a sprinter-halfback from Colorado A. and M. College, was signed by the Chicago Cardinals.
2001   Chicago Tribune 27 Aug. i. 8/3   At Texas A & M, Clark puts the Aggies through ‘jingle-jangle’ drills.

1865—2001(Hide quotations)

 
 

  A & M   adj. and n. (also A and M)  (a) adj. ancient and modern (as postmodifier in Hymns A & M);  (b) n. used elliptically for Hymns A & M.Hymns Ancient and Modern is the title of a hymnal used in the Church of England, first published in 1861.

[1863   O. Shipley Lyra Eucharistica Contents p. xxxiv   An ancient Anthem. O Esca viatorum..H. A. & M.]
1864   O. Shipley Lyra Eucharistica (ed. 2) Contents p. xli   O Esca Viatorum. An ancient Anthem..Hymns A. and M.
1869   J. Miller Singers & Songs of Church (ed. 2) 542   The rendering in ‘A. and M.’ is altered by the compilers.
1999   Music & Lett. 80 304/2   The tunes chosen in Hymns A & M were often of a generic type that could well have been interchanged.
2009   Daily Tel. (Nexis) 14 Mar. 29   The Hymns Ancient and Modern version is by Edward Caswall. He published translations of 200 Latin hymns in Lyra Catholica (1848) and two dozen are included in A&M.

1864—2009(Hide quotations)

 
 

  A and R   n. (also A & R) artist and repertoire (also repertory; occasionally recording); (frequently attributive) designating a person in a recording company who selects performers, arranges recordings, etc.

1948   Billboard 19 June 21/1   He has been operating as the firm's Coast a. and r. man. He will be..supervising popular, hillbilly, race, hot jazz, international and other specialties.
1958   Times 26 May 7/6   A and R men, dee-jays, pluggers—to use the abbreviated titles by which artists and recording managers, disc jockeys and exploitation men are known.
1990   F. Dannen Hit Men (1991) i. 9   Even the best A&R—artist and repertoire—staff in the world couldn't save you if radio gave you the cold shoulder.
2005   Future Music Winter 125/4   A and R men will not be at your gigs. These people will be at other gigs when you play.

1948—2005(Hide quotations)

 

  AAVE n. Linguistics African-American Vernacular English; cf. BEV n. at B n. Additions.

1993   Amer. Speech 68 371   The theoretical and political implications of Labov's study for scholarship on the historical and current status of AAVE were wide-ranging.
2003   E. Richardson Afr. Amer. Literacies i. 19   Sociolinguists have laid the groundwork for researchers to investigate the ways in which we might employ AAVE in literacy education.

1993—2003(Hide quotations)

 

  A.B. n. able seaman (formerly able-bodied seaman).

1810   C. James New & Enlarged Mil. Dict. (ed. 3) II. (at cited word)   Seaman, Able-bodied seaman, a sailor capable of taking both helm and lead... He is rated A. B. on board the ships of war.
1845   Times 6 Nov. 7/6   The initials A.B. signify able seaman; O.S., ordinary seaman; R.M.A., Royal Marine Artillery.
1894   Gloss. Terms Evid. Royal Comm. Labour 36/2 in Parl. Papers 1893–4 (C. 7063–VC) XXXVIII. 411   Disrating, A nautical term for ‘disranking’, that is, reducing from a higher rank to a lower, such as lowering a man from A.B. to ordinary seaman, or from fireman to trimmer.
1962   ‘C. S. Forester’ Hornblower & Hotspur iv. 41   Of her hundred and fifty hands no fewer than a hundred were prime seamen, rated A.B.
1990   J. McPhee Looking for Ship 97   An A.B. gets five dollars and forty-seven cents an hour for not eating lunch, if mandatory work on deck keeps him away from the food. It's called penalty time.

1810—1990(Hide quotations)

 

  A.B. n.  [graphic abbreviation of post-classical Latin artium baccalaureus (1569 or earlier); compare baccalaureus artium (1517 in a British source); also bacallarius facultatis artium (1425 in a British source), bachilarius in artibus (1264 in a British source)] now chiefly U.S. Bachelor of Arts (cf. B.A. n. at B n. Initialisms 1).

1697   E. Polsted Excise-man (title page)   In an Essay. By Ezekiel Polsted, A.B.
1721   N. Amhurst Terræfilius (1754) No. 50. 273   Mr. Scurlock, A.B. fellow of Jesus-college, and a member of the constitution-club was..disgraced..for mentioning the word king in his declamation.
1773   Mass. Gaz. & Boston Weekly News-let. 29 Apr. 2/2   Last Friday departed this life..John Alden, A.B., aged 22.
1842   Knickerbocker 19 429   A man may..write A.B. after his name, and even A.M., and be no great things either.
1895   Rep. to Harvard Club of Chicago 2   Educational qualifications equivalent to the Harvard A.B.
1966   M. Pei How to learn Langs. 46   And finally to my appointment to the Romance Department of City College..two years before I finally achieved my A.B. from..the same college.
2004   Copeia No. 4. 946/2   Following his AB degree, George enlisted in officers' training with the Coast Guard.

1697—2004(Hide quotations)

 

  ABC n. now historical Aerated Bread Company; (also) a cafeteria or shop run by the company.

1889   E. Dowson Let. 17 Mar. (1967) 50   I did go down to the ABC after leaving my atrocity with you on Friday.
1894   Punch 15 Dec. 285/1   I pass an A.B.C., Where I purchase two or three Cakes and scones.
1941   E. Blunden Thomas Hardy 120   Afterwards we went to a Lyons tea-shop, at which he [sc. Hardy] was a little alarmed, being used only to an A.B.C.
2006   G. Shaw et al. in J. Benson & L. Ugolini Cultures of Selling iii. 86   Whilst a typical bakery might produce around 200,000 pounds of bread per year, ABC methods could produce ten times this from just one machine.

1889—2006(Hide quotations)

 

  ABC n. American Broadcasting Company.

1929   Radio Broadcast Apr. 372/2 (caption)    Adolph E. Linden, President of the American Broadcasting Company which operates the ABC Western Network.
1948   Life 6 Sept. 41/1   The progress of ABC, a relative newcomer in the field, typifies the rapid expansion of television facilities this year.
2009   Sci. Amer. (U.K. ed.) Nov. 54/3   The first era arrived..via bunny ears and national broadcast networks, such as NBC and ABC.

1929—2009(Hide quotations)

 

  ABC n. Australian Broadcasting Corporation (formerly Commission, Company).

1931   Austral. Broadcasting Co. Ltd. Year Bk. 1930 24 (heading)    The widespread ramifications of the A.B.C.
1957   ‘N. Shute’ On Beach iv. 132   The A.B.C.'s been doing a good job in telling people just the way things are.
2006   Courier-Mail (Brisbane) 12 July 20/2   The ABC studios at Toowong in Brisbane could fetch more than $45 million.

1931—2006(Hide quotations)

 

  ABCA n. now historical Army Bureau of Current Affairs, an organization providing troops with information about current affairs during the 1939–45 war.

1942   Rep. Comm. on Amenities in Women's Services (Cmd. 6384) 44   ABCA came into existence in September, 1941, to remedy this ignorance and to mitigate boredom.
1995   A. Croft in J. Fyrth Labour's Promised Land? iii. 202   Despite opposition from Churchill, ABCA material developed an increasingly radical strain, evident in the Why We Fight series.

1942—1995(Hide quotations)

 

  ABH n. British Law actual bodily harm; cf. GBH n. at G n. Initialisms.

1975   P. Morris & F. Beverly On Licence 149   Theft, burglary, aid and abet rape, ABH.
1992   Independent 6 Jan. 14/7   You can nick me for ABH.., or whatever you're going to get me nicked for, I'll admit it.
2003   New! 3 Nov. 9/2   The 20-year-old..singer looked shaken..after the jury convicted her of ABH.

1975—2003(Hide quotations)

 

  ABM n. originally U.S. anti-ballistic missile (cf. I.C.B.M. n. at I n.1 Initialisms).

1963   Missiles & Rockets 16 Sept. 14 (heading)    Soviets may have ultimate ABM.
2002   K. Matinuddin Nuclearization S. Asia xii. 242   The possibility of an aircraft being intercepted is greater than the interception of missiles, at least till such time that India acquires an anti-ballistic missile (ABM) capability.

1963—2002(Hide quotations)

 

  ABO adj. Medicine designating a system of classifying human blood based on the presence or absence of A and B antigens on red blood cells, resulting in four blood types, A, B, AB, and O.

1937   J. C. Thomas in Brit. Med. Jrnl. 14 Aug. 317/2   By far the most complete investigations of the heredity of the blood groups have been made with the ABO system.
2000   Chatham (Ont.) Daily News (Nexis) 10 Nov. 10   Everyone has heard about ABO blood types and how important it is to match a recipient's blood type with the same type of donor blood.

1937—2000(Hide quotations)

 

  ABS n. Chemistry acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, a hard composite thermoplastic used to make rigid moulded products such as car bodies and cases for computers; frequently attributive.

1957   Mod. Plastics Oct. 27 (advt.)    Royalite (the industry's standard for A.B.S. plastics) is extremely light, yet so durable it withstands everyday abuse.
1983   McGraw-Hill Encycl. Chem. 792/1   Ease of fabrication by a variety of methods..has led to the development of new uses for ABS resins.
2004   J. Emsley Vanity, Vitality, & Virility (2006) vi. 209   Polycarbonate will blend with other polymers, and the blend with ABS..is even stronger than polycarbonate itself.

1957—2004(Hide quotations)

 

  ABS n.  [perhaps originally after German ABS, initialism < the initial letters of Antiblockiersystem] Motoring anti-lock (occasionally anti-locking) braking (or brake) system.

1980   Hartford (Connecticut) Courant 14 Sept. 2 f/4   ABS is meant to make safe driving easier, by avoiding crashes.
2003   Chatelaine Jan. 28/2   ABS won't always stop a vehicle in a shorter distance than conventional brakes.

1980—2003(Hide quotations)

 
 

  ABV n. alcohol by volume, used to express the percentage of alcohol in an alcoholic beverage.

1985   Globe & Mail (Toronto) 8 Apr. b9/4   Any beverage containing less than 0.5 per cent ABV is considered non-intoxicating by the liquor control legislation of all the provinces and territories.
2003   I. Banks Raw Spirit (2004) xiii. 299   I've already got a Rare Malts Edition 23-year-old at 53.6 abv.

1985—2003(Hide quotations)

 

  AC n. and adj. (also A/C)  (a) n. air conditioning;  (b) adj. air-conditioned.

1962   G. Meckler & M. Meckler in Methods Building Cost Anal. 55 (table)    Decrease in AC Cost as % TBC.
1970   Rotarian Nov. 59/3 (advt.)    Kalamazoo-Southgate Motor-Inn:..124 A/C rooms, htd. pool.
2002   Sunday Times of India 22 Sept. 2/4   With the advent of the Metro, people can look forward to AC coaches, faster commuting, and pollution-free travel.
2008   A. Adiga White Tiger 69   This was a beautiful, modern car, with all the necessary comforts: a speaker system, A/C, nice glossy leather seats.

1962—2008(Hide quotations)

 

  AC n. (also A/C) aircraftman; cf. S.A.C. n. at S n.1 Initialisms 1.

1928   Times 25 May 6/7   Lance-Corporal Bosworth and A./C. Mallett, 3 defeats each.
1963   Times 8 Mar. 12/7   Airmen ranks to disappear are master technician, senior technician, corporal technician, and aircraftman 2nd class (AC 2).
2001   D. F. Clark Stand by Your Beds! vi. 178   AC Lott, for God's sake! AC Lott! This is the Controller at Dirleton here... Shift your bloody arse, Airman!

1928—2001(Hide quotations)

 

  a.c. n. alternating current; cf. AC/DC adj. 1.

1891   Med. Summary July 124/2   I then take a smooth-running, faradic instrument of mild current (No. 1 Kidder's Preferred, A. C. Current).
1903   Electr. Times 31 Dec. 962/1 (heading)    The Ferranti A.C. Meter.
1958   Pop. Mech. June 135/1   The generator delivers 1200 watts of continuous duty 60-cycle a.c.
2000   Courier Mail (Brisbane) 18 May (What's On) 17   Pick up some..table-lamp-type a.c. cable from your hardware store.

1891—2000(Hide quotations)

 

  A.C. adv.  [graphic abbreviation of post-classical Latin ante christum (1544 or earlier)] now rare before Christ; cf. A.D. adv.

1690   I. Newton Let. 14 Nov. in Corr. (1961) III. 95   He praises the Codex Lobiensis written A.C. 1084.
1834   Biblical Repository Oct. 426   In AC 135, an insurrection of the slaves in Sicily happened.
1975   I. Gershevitch in J. R. Hinnells Mithraic Stud. I. vi. 69   Those Parthians who in the third century a.c. were converted to Manichaeism identified the Manichaean god who had led the Third Emanation..with Mithra.

1690—1975(Hide quotations)

 
 

  AC n. (with reference to wine, or some foods) appellation contrôlée.

1965   M. A. Amerine & V. L. Singleton Wine xiii. 199   In France the appellations contrôlées are the most respected (often abbreviated A.C.).
1991   Decanter Aug. 23/1   The latest Clarets to join the range promise well for the future. Château Malard, AC Bordeaux Supérieur 1987 is a bargain.
2003   Decanter Aug. 102/2   In the outlying fields, Charolais cattle graze beside the goats that produce the region's other great AC, Crottin de Chavignol cheese.

1965—2003(Hide quotations)

 

  AC n. athletic (or athletics) club.

1868   H. F. Wilkinson Mod. Athletics iv. 66   BB Connolly, formerly of the Cambridge University AC, got off best and won as he liked in the 100 yards.
1956   Boys' Life Nov. 65/2   When we drew for lanes, the other first leg men stared at me suspiciously, suspecting some skulduggery on the part of the New York AC.
2010   Tamworth Herald (Nexis) 8 Apr. 89   Tamworth Athletics Club stars began their build-up to the summer's major events by competing at Mansfield Harriers AC's Track and Field Open Meeting over the Easter weekend.

1868—2010(Hide quotations)

 
 

  AC n. Companion of the Order of Australia.

1976   Titles & Forms of Addr. (ed. 15) 1   A.C... Companion of the Order of Australia.
2009   West Austral. (Perth) (Nexis) 26 Jan. 3   His contribution to defence policy was particularly recognised in his being awarded the AC.

1976—2009(Hide quotations)

 

  A.C.C. n. Physiology now rare anodal (or anodic) contraction, contraction of a muscle to which the anode is attached when an electrical circuit is closed; an instance of this.

[1874   G. V. Poore in Lancet 9 May 649/1   On making a slight further increase of intensity, contraction occurs with anodal closure also (A. C.).]
1876   G. V. Poore Text-bk. Electr. in Med. & Surg. v. 95   The anodal closure contraction (A. C. C.) soon becomes very marked, and equals or even surpasses the cathodal closure contraction (C. C. C.).
1905   W. R. Williams Essent. Pract. Med. 327   Ascending currents that are somewhat stronger cause a contraction at the closure of the circuit, called the anodic closure contraction, A.C.C.
1920   R. Burton-Opitz Text-bk. Physiol. xiii. 155   The two making or closure contractions (C.C.C. and A.C.C.) must be stronger than the two breaking or opening contractions (A.O.C. and C.O.C.)
2003   R. L. Gupta Textbk. of Surg. 425   A change of polarity is seen in the affected muscles in which anodal closure contraction (ACC) becomes greater than KCC.

1876—2003(Hide quotations)

 

  ACCM n. now historical (also with pronunciation
Brit. /ˈakəm/
U.S. /ˈækəm/
) Advisory Council for the Church's Ministry.

1967   Church of Eng. Yearbk. 177   Candidates for courses..are specially selected by ACCM.
2008   Times (Nexis) 12 Feb. 54   In 1971 he began a 15-year involvement on the Advisory Council for the Church's Ministry (ACCM).

1967—2008(Hide quotations)

 

  ACF n. South African Military Active Citizen Force.

1912   Diagram Syst. Mil. Def. S. Afr. Union (caption) in Times 24 May 14/3   A. C. F. Reserve, Class ‘A’.
1989   Combat & Survival Mag. Oct. 8/4   In August I was in the ACF and my battalion was at its annual camp in the north of Scotland.
1998   Jrnl. S. Afr. Stud. 24 747   Reference was made to Gideon Scheepers shot for wearing khaki in the Anglo-Boer War. The Minister of Justice hotly denied the ACF's contention: the colour of the uniform was ‘not khaki, but drab’.

1912—1998(Hide quotations)

 

  A.C.H. n. R.A.F. (now historical and rare) = aircraft hand n. at aircraft n. Compounds 2.

1925   T. E. Lawrence Let. 7 Oct. (1938) 484   Five are fitters, five are riggers, five are A.C.H.'s.
1941   ‘L. A. C. Errant’ R.A.F.'ing It iv. 18   A.C.H., ‘Aircraft Hand’..designates as a rule the non-tradesman.

1925—1941(Hide quotations)

 

  ACL n. Anatomy anterior cruciate ligament (of the knee).

1957   Zool. Soc. 129 221 (caption)    ACL, anterior cruciate ligament.
1991   Skiing Mar. 122/1   The new generation of toepieces with upward release capability might help to reduce the incidence of at least boot-induced ACL injuries.
2006   Chicago Tribune (Midwest ed.) 15 Jan. iii. 4/5   Alabama senior forward Chuck Davis tore both the ACL and MCL in his right knee and will miss the rest of the season.

1957—2006(Hide quotations)

 

  ACLU n. American Civil Liberties Union.

1923   Year's Fight for Free Speech (Amer. Civil Liberties Union) 52   Receipts and Disbursements by American Civil Liberties Union from April 16, 1922, to July 31, 1922... A.C.L.U. Receipt Numbers 2155, 2162, [etc.].
1936   Amer. Mercury Dec. 385/2   The fiction of the ‘Liberalism’ of the ACLU has been firmly implanted in the popular mind.
2004   Village Voice (N.Y.) 1 Sept. 18/4   We wanted to..remind you that all media calls should be referred to the ACLU press office.

1923—2004(Hide quotations)

 

  ACP n. African, Caribbean, and Pacific (countries), spec. the signatories to the Lomé Conventions (signed between 1975 and 1989) and the Cotonou Agreement (of 2000), establishing aid and trade cooperation between these countries and the member states of the European Union.

1974   Times 12 June 10/5   Negotiations had been going on between the ‘associable’ countries—the African, Caribbean and Pacific states known as ACP—and the Community for some time.
1978   J. Paxton Dict. European Econ. Community (rev. ed.) 148   A.C.P. bananas were to enjoy duty-free access and were also to be included in the Stabex scheme.
1983   Financial Times 4 Oct. 14   It offers some protection against declining prices for a range of ACP commodities through the Stabex mechanism; and it is committed to buying 1.3m tons of ACP sugar a year.
2006   C. Bretherton & J. Vogler European Union as Global Actor (ed. 2) v. 123   The Cotonou Agreement requires that six regional groupings of the ACP negotiate distinctive Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA) with the Union.

1974—2006(Hide quotations)

 

  ACS n. Medicine (now rare) antireticular cytotoxic serum.

1942   B. E. Linberg in A. A. Bogomolets Therapeutic Action of Antireticular Cytotoxic Serum ‘ACS’ 154   Everywhere where a weakening of the physiological system of the connective tissue takes place it can be activized by means of ACS.
1946   W. M. Mandel Guide to Soviet Union iii. 32   Thousands of wounded Red Armymen in deep shock and probably doomed to death were saved by this ‘ACS’ serum.
1972   Y. Halperin tr. L. V. Polezhaev Loss & Restoration Regenerative Capacity in Tissues & Organs Animals ii. v. 283   It has been shown that in small doses, ACS can stimulate regeneration of damaged tubular bones in rabbits.

1942—1972(Hide quotations)

 

  ACT n. British advance corporation tax.

1972   Accountant 25 Sept. 378/1   The three aims of avoiding transitional penalties, securing a windfall ACT (advance corporation tax) relief for dividends paid before that date and escaping an ACT forfeit for dividends paid after it.
1998   Economist 21 Mar. 36/2   At present, firms pay each financial year's tax (apart from any ACT already paid) in one lump.

1972—1998(Hide quotations)

 

  ACT n. U.S. Education American College Testing (or Test).A proprietary name.

1959   Daily Rev. (Hayward, Calif.) 8 Sept. 6/1   ACT will charge each student $3, and levy no charge against the high school.
1975   Ebony Mar. 79/1   The ACT has four parts: mathematics, English, social studies and natural sciences.
2006   B. Fey Statistics Hacks ii. 52   An officer could enter the student's ACT score into the regression formula and predict his GPA.

1959—2006(Hide quotations)

 
 

  ACT n. Australian Capital Territory.

1938   Official Year Bk. Austral. 390   A.C.T.
2007   L. Wallis et al. in C. Smith & H. Burke Digging it up Down Under v. 147   Weather conditions in the ACT can change rapidly, so when in the field make sure that you have adequate clothing, water and first-aid supplies.

1938—2007(Hide quotations)

 

  ACTH n. Medicine adrenocorticotropic hormone.

1943   Ann. Rev. Biol. 12 282 (heading)    Adrenocorticotrophic Hormone (ACTH).
1977   Lancet 5 Nov. 955/2   Mean A.C.H.T. levels were raised..in addisonian outpatients on cortisone acetate.
2003   D. R. Mottram Drugs in Sport (ed. 3) vi. 198   ACTH is produced and secreted by the corticotroph cells of the anterior pituitary.

1943—2003(Hide quotations)

 
 

  ACTRA n. Alliance of Canadian Television and Radio Artists.

1963   Winnipeg Free Press 31 Aug. (TV & Radio guide) 12/3   They were referred to AFM and ACTRA, the unions involved.
2002   W. Pitman Louis Applebaum vi. 110   Best Television Program of the Year, ACTRA Award.

1963—2002(Hide quotations)

 

  ACTT n. Association of Cinematograph, Television, and Allied Technicians.

1957   Film & TV Technician 23 5/3   The new A.C.T.T. badges and brooches can be obtained from Head Office.
2007   Guardian (Nexis) 8 Sept. 45   Murray worked extensively with the film technicians' union, ACTT, to open up greater flexibility for the independent film workshop movement.

1957—2007(Hide quotations)

 

  ACTU n. Australian (formerly also Australasian) Council of Trade Unions.

1928   Econ. Rec. May 108   The 1927 Congress..set itself to construct machinery that might act adequately in the field of Interstate industrial disputes. Hence the new Australasian Council of Trades Unions (A.C.T.U.).
1972   J. Belfrage in G. W. Turner Good Austral. Eng. vi. 108   This is another local reference..to the active pro-labour work of the new President of the ACTU.
2005   Austral. Financial Rev. (Sydney) 12 Aug. 19/1   The ACTU said the criticism from a South Australian Industrial Relations Court judge was an example of the failings of the federal government's workplace agreements.

1928—2005(Hide quotations)

 

  ACV n. air-cushion vehicle (see air cushion n. 2).

1962   Flight Internat. 81 113   Free-moving ACVs will be going into business also, together with hydrofoil craft.
2005   Times Educ. Suppl. (Nexis) 6 May 4   ACVs work on land or sea and are the fastest ships in the world (60mph).

1962—2005(Hide quotations)

 
1942   J. A. Hammerton ABC of RAF (new ed.) 58   A.C.W., Aircraftwoman.
1943   K. B. Beauman Wings on her Shoulders v. 57   A plotter, A.C.W. Cooper, told me about the attack on North Weald.
1966   M. L. Settle All Brave Promises v. 97   Well. ACW Settle, we have been a bit of a fool, haven't we?
2007   Townsville (Austral.) Sun (Nexis) 26 Sept. 36   ‘After the event we had..a barbecue to say thanks to everyone,’ ACW Kelly said.

1942—2007(Hide quotations)

 

  AD n. Military active duty.

1942   Sun (Baltimore) 1 Feb. ii. 75   ‘DP following Reserve Officers ordered to AD.’.. Written out this reads: ‘By direction of the President, the following Reserve Officers are ordered to active duty.’
1990   Federal Reg. 7 Sept. 38086/3   Refer AD personnel with serologic evidence of HIV-1 infection for a medical evaluation of fitness for continued service.
2004   W. Taylor in H. J. Thie et al. Past & Future iv. 37   [They] often arrived at follow-on flying tours with considerably fewer flying hours than did their AD contemporaries.

1942—2004(Hide quotations)

 

  AD n. Medicine Alzheimer's disease.

1955   Jrnl. Mental Sci. 101 604   A.D. is a progressive dementia which usually occurs between the ages of 40 and 60 years.
1987   D. Collerton in S. M. Stahl et al. Cognitive Neurochem. xv. 285   A substantial noradrenergic deficit exists in some patients with AD.
2009   San Antonio (Texas) Express-News (Nexis) 25 Feb. 9 f   AD leaves a specific type of brain damage different from what happens in schizophrenia.

1955—2009(Hide quotations)

 

  A/D n. Electronics (also A-D) analogue-to-digital.

1962   Electroencephalogr. & Clin. Neurophysiol. 14 414 (in figure)    A-D converter.
1983   Analytica Chimica Acta 147 78   Up to four fast instruments..transferred data via a second A/D system to the central computer.
2002   Wired Nov. 135/1   What if every A/D converter incorporated lockware that prevents unauthorized digital recording?

1962—2002(Hide quotations)

 

  A.D. adv.  [graphic abbreviation of post-classical Latin anno domini Anno Domini adv.] = Anno Domini adv.The Oxford Dictionary for Writers and Editors (ed. 2, 2000) p. 4 notes: ‘precedes numerals, but follows numbers written as words’. The abbreviation is sometimes found after numerals.

1556   in tr. A. Mainardi Anatomi (title page)   A. D. 1556.
1663   W. Blundell in T. E. Gibson Cavalier's Note Bk. (1880) 223   This course, as it is now used upon the marshes..was stooped out by me W.B., a.d. 1654.
1683   I. Mather Kometographia viii. 101   A.D. 1558. A Comet was seen in the Evening under Coma Berenices, of a pale colour, continuing about 30 dayes.
1764   J. Grainger Sugar-cane i. 13 (note)    The declension of the needle was discovered, A.D. 1492, by Columbus.
1819   J. Playfair Geogr. & Statist. Descr. Scotl. 1 78   Kelso... Here an abbey for Tironensian monks was founded, and richly endowed by David I, A.D. 1128.
1875   E. H. Bunbury in Encycl. Brit. II. 712/2   The whole country..continued subject to the Byzantine empire, until it was overrun by the Seljukian Turks in 1074 a.d.
1906   T. Capek Slovaks of Hungary 395   There is no mention in Strabo of the Germanic and Pannonic wars of Tiberius of the years 4–11 a.d.
1963   G. H. Williams in S. C. Neill & H. R. Weber Layman in Christian Hist. i. 30   In a letter to the church in Corinth written about AD 95, Clement..makes brief reference to the participants in the liturgy.
2004   N.Y. Times (National ed.) 1 July a1/3   Preliminary research dates the settlement from about A.D. 900 to 1100.

1556—2004(Hide quotations)

 
 

  AD n. autograph document.

1889   L. C. Draper Ess. Autographic Coll. Signers Declar. of Independence (rev. ed.) 46   An A. D.—autograph document, not signed, is sometimes called into requisition to eke out a collection.
1912   F. K. Walter Abbrev. & Techn. Terms Bk. Catal. 1   A.D., Autograph document.
1962   D. D. Jackson Lett. Lewis & Clark Exped. 161   AD, in Clark's hand.
2009   D. Carpenter S. R. Bradley: Lett. Revolutionary War Patriot 108   AD... In the hand of SRB.

1889—2009(Hide quotations)

 

  AD n. Military armoured division.

1949   R. E. Dupuy St. Vith, Lion in Way v. 71   One counterattack [CCB 9th AD] has started, but other [CCB 7th AD] not started yet.
2002   H. Coyle Against all Enemies (2009) xxii. 348   After a rapid and all but unopposed advance, the 4th AD came to a halt just west of Twin City.

1949—2002(Hide quotations)

 
 

  AD n. athletic director.

1950   Catholic Lib. World Jan. 128/1   He was the ‘A.D.’, or athletic director, at Roosevelt High School in Chicago.
2006   M. Conrad Business of Sport iii. 34   The AD controls the athletic department budget.

1950—2006(Hide quotations)

 

  AD n. chiefly Film assistant director, a person responsible for coordinating the production schedule of a film, and for oversight of the set, cast, and crew.

1957   Radio Daily-Television Daily 18 June 7/3   Another person worthy of a testimonial repast—or at least a snack—is the so-called A.D., or assistant director.
1986   Washington Post 13 Dec. b1/4   They just put the camera up... The AD [assistant director] was a friend of mine.
2008   Independent 2 June (Extra section) 2/6   ‘First positions, thank you very much,’ calls the first AD.

1957—2008(Hide quotations)

 
 

  ADC n. aide-de-camp (hence ADC-ship).

1777   A. Hamilton Let. 10 Nov. in G. Washington Papers (2002) Revolutionary War Ser. XII. 193   [Signed] A. Hamilton A.D.C.
1801   S. Owenson Poems 155   Captain E— celebrated the virtues of Capt. S—ll, (A. D. C. to his R. H. Prince William of Gloucester)..in a monody that did equal honor to his head and heart.
1837   E. Eden Let. 28 Oct. in Up the Country (1866) I. i. 9   The A.D.C.'s are very apt to assemble over our cabins at night.
1896   Punch 4 Jan. 5/2   Permitted to retain his A.D.C.-ship after promotion from field-rank.
1919   G. Frankau Peter Jackson, Cigar Merchant (1920) xxvi. 201   If you do change your mind about that ACD-ship, drop me a line.
1945   Ld. Alanbrooke Diary 13 Feb. in War Diaries (2001) 662   Rollie Charrington came to dinner and like the brick he is offered to take Barney's place as ADC.
2005   G. Sheffield & J. Bourne in D. Haig War Diaries & Lett. 1914–18 508   He served as ADC to Lord Roberts in India and was Kitchener's DAAG in the Sudan.

1777—2005(Hide quotations)

 

  ADC n. Electronics analogue-to-digital converter; cf. A/D n.

1961   Jrnl. Franklin Inst. 272 539/1   The ADC-1B Analog-to-Digital Converter.
1985   C. H. Vanderwolf & L.-W. S. Leung in A. A. Boulton & G. B. Baker Gen. Neurochem. Techiques ix. 316   An analog-to-digital converter (ADC) converts a continuous signal to a series of discrete, digital values.
2008   Maximum PC Feb. 59/2   The opposite of the ADC, the digital-to-analog converter turns a digital value into an analog waveform.

1961—2008(Hide quotations)

 

  ADD n. Psychiatry attention (also attentional) deficit disorder.

1979   Hosp. Pract. Jan. 66/1   The next edition of the American Psychiatric Association's official Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM III) will have relabeled ‘hyperactivity’ and MBD syndrome as attentional deficit disorder (ADD).
1994   Face Sept. 29/1   ADD..is only just being recognised in Britain as a genuine medical syndrome and a potential nightmare of late-twentieth century living.
2006   Total Film Feb. 24/3   My attention span is horrible, man. I've got ADD.

1979—2006(Hide quotations)

 
 

  ADF n. automatic direction finder.

1939   Aero Digest June 24/2 (advt.)    The ADF-6—Automatic Direction Finder: Primarily a powerful radio receiver offering direction finding... Learadio offers the ADF-6 as the latest contribution to the art of safe flying.
1966   McGraw-Hill Encycl. Sci. & Technol. (rev. ed.) IV. 231/2   Radio stations erected specifically for use with the ADF are known as NDB (non-directional beacons or radiophares).
2000   Public Admin. Rev. 60 247/1   The plane was equipped with only one automatic direction finder (ADF).

1939—2000(Hide quotations)

 

  ADGB n. now historical Air Defence of Great Britain.

1926   Flight 6 May 272/2   The Fighting and Wessex Bombing Areas are under the A.O.C.-in-C., A.D.G.B.
1944   Times 1 Mar. 4/5   Sir Archibald Sinclair disclosed for the first time that the organization responsible for the air defence of this country is now known as A.D.G.B. (Air Defence of Great Britain).
2002   J. Ferris in S. Cox & P. Gray Air Power Hist. i. ii. 37   Experience at ADGB and as the RAF's Director of Research had taught him much about research and development.

1926—2002(Hide quotations)

 

  ADH n. Medicine antidiuretic hormone.

1945   Physiol. Rev. 25 573   The antidiuretic substance is a hormone (ADH) formed in the pars nervosa of the pituitary gland.
1983   J. Weatherall et al. Oxf. Textbk. Med. II. xviii. 20/2   Reliable assays for ADH in plasma or urine are now available.
2009   Modesto (Calif.) Bee (Nexis) 9 June d1   The ability to concentrate urine is controlled by the kidney as signaled from the brain via a hormone called ADH, or antidiuretic hormone.

1945—2009(Hide quotations)

 

  ADHD n. (also AD-HD) Psychiatry attention deficit (also deficient) hyperactivity disorder.

1987   Behavioral Assessment 9 228   If AD-HD is viewed as a dimensional disorder lying on a continuum with normal child behavior..then another approach to assessment is required.
1994   N.Y. Times 24 July iv. 1/4   Today, Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn surely would have been diagnosed with both conduct disorder and ADHD.
2006   The Word July 19/1   He was also prescribed Ritalin for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

1987—2006(Hide quotations)

 

  ADL n. originally and chiefly U.S. = activity of daily living n. at activity n. 3d.

1952   E. B. Lawton Physical Rehabilit. for Daily Living i. 5/2   A given A.D.L. for a given group of patients..is the sum total not only of all the motions of the specific activity but also of everything that was learned on the preceding level.
2001   F. Popcorn & A. Hanft Dict. Future 2   You don't know how important ADLs are until you aren't capable of doing them anymore.

1952—2001(Hide quotations)

 

  ADP n. Biochemistry adenosine diphosphate.

1942   Jrnl. Biol. Chem. 143 300   Adenosine diphosphate (ADP) was incubated with myokinase or deaminase or both.
1967   Brain 90 577   The hydrolysis of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) to adenosine diphosphate (ADP) and inorganic phosphate.
2008   E. Regis What is Life? v. 86   The original ATP molecule is converted to adenosine diphosphate, ADP, a dangling phosphate (P), and energy.

1942—2008(Hide quotations)

 

  ADP n. automatic (also automated) data processing.

1955   Office Oct. 248   Moore's ADP training... Classes in automated data processing.
1980   Amer. Banker (Nexis) 21 Nov. 2   Provident president William Maytum said his bank was one of the first to use ADP services.
2003   N. Rush Mortals xxxvi. 677   You don't know anything about ADP, do you? You need to. That's where the world is going, ADP, ASAP.

1955—2003(Hide quotations)

 

  ADR n. chiefly North American alternative dispute resolution.

1982   Business Week 23 Aug. 56/1   A new Washington-based company..is beginning to provide dispute-management services—including cost-benefit analyses, ADR, and training.
2004   Philadelphia June (Advertising Suppl.) s32   DM&S always fights for its clients' rights, both in the courtroom, and when appropriate, using mediation and ADR.

1982—2004(Hide quotations)

 

  ADR n. U.S. Stock Market American depository receipt.

1956   N.Y. Times 5 Aug. iii. 7/3   Other banks issuing ADRs are expected to look into the possibility of making similar arrangements with some companies whose shares are or may be represented by depository receipts.
2003   D. L. Scott Wall St. Words (ed. 3) 354   Holders of sponsored ADRs have all the rights of common stockholders.

1956—2003(Hide quotations)

 
 

  ADS n. autograph document signed.

1861   Sotheby & Wilkinson Catal. 1 July Tenison Mss. 50   Colbert, A.L.S. to Cavalier Bernino, 1665—Perrault (the architect of the Louvre), A.D.S. with portrait.
1912   F. K. Walter Abbrev. & Techn. Terms Bk. Catal. 1   A.D.S., Autograph document signed.
1979   J. Y. Simon Papers U. S. Grant VIII. 382   McPherson enclosed a statement of Aug. 10 in which Col. Josiah W. Bissell described the organization of the Engineer Regt. of the West. ADS, ibid.
2000   A. F. Wertheim & B. Bair Papers Will Rogers II. 29 (table)    Descriptive Symbols. AD. Autograph Document. ADS. Autograph Document Signed.

1861—2000(Hide quotations)

 

  ADSL n. Computing and Telecomm. asymmetric (also asynchronous) digital subscriber line (or loop), a technology for the transmission of digital data over standard copper telephone lines which allows the high-speed transmission of signals from the telephone network to an individual subscriber, but a slower rate of transmission from the subscriber to the network; cf. DSL n. at D n. Additions.

1991   Telephony 10 June 28/2   The ADSL concept grew out of Bellcore's developmental work for high-rate digital subscriber line.
2000   Internet Money No. 15. 65/2   Because ADSL uses existing copper cables, the high frequency signals sent down them get degraded as they get further away from their point of origin.
2005   Guardian 3 Mar. (Life section) 21/2   The real speeds of 400kbps to 800kbps are comfortably within the range delivered on phone lines by ADSL.

1991—2005(Hide quotations)

 

  ADT n. Canadian Atlantic Daylight Time.

1949   S. K. Farrington Fishing the Atlantic i. 46   Fishing will start at 7:00 AM ADT daily on a signal from the judge's boat.
1970   Winnipeg Free Press 23 Apr. 13/1   Quebec will be all EDT, while the Maritime provinces, in the Atlantic time zone, will be all ADT.
1994   Harrowsmith Mar. 25/3   Mideclipse will occur at these times across Canada:..1:25 p.m. EDT, 2:50 p.m. ADT.

1949—1994(Hide quotations)

 

  AE n. Photography auto-exposure; automatic exposure.

[1976   Pop. Sci. Oct. 46/1   The Canon AE-1 is a dandy little handful... It has..a blinking ‘M’ in the viewfinder when the camera is in manual mode instead of automatic-exposure mode.]
1977   Film Making June 51 (advt.)    Perfectly exposed cine pictures with Automatic Exposure Control (AE).
1991   Buying Cameras Mar. 13   The centre weighted multi-zone metering in conjunction with the Program AE exposure mode effectively makes this a very accurate ‘point and shoot’ camera.
2007   Stuff July 73/2   The camera detects faces, and adjusts both focus (AF) and exposure (AE) to make the most of them.

1977—2007(Hide quotations)

 

  AEC n. U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, an organization set up in 1946 by the U.S. government to regulate and promote use of atomic energy.

1946   Washington Post 29 Oct. 4/3   Mr. Truman said the Army would continue to operate its present atomic projects during the period of transition to the new AEC.
2003   Western Hist. Q. 34 517/2   The AEC justified the tests as necessary for national security.

1946—2003(Hide quotations)

 

  A.E.F. n. American Expeditionary Forces (cf. BEF n. at B n. Initialisms 1).

1914   Rep. Nat. Acad. Sci. 1913 66   Maj. Edward H. Bowle, headquarters A.E.F. Officers and enlisted men have been ordered abroad for meteorological work in connection with America expeditionary force.
1998   N.Y. Times Bk. Rev. 31 May 52/3   Right after the armistice, some political operatives had quietly canvassed among the doughboys of the A.E.F.

1914—1998(Hide quotations)

 
 

  AER n. annual equivalent rate (of interest).

1998   Independent 16 Sept. (Wednesday Review section)13   As the AER will be published every time a contractual rate of interest appears..it will be easier for savers to compare the returns that they can expect when they leave the interest they earn in their account.
2001   Financial Times 27 Jan. (Money section) 11/3 (advt.)    I now pay no interest on my credit card, and £500 in my current account earns a very nice 5% AER/gross.

1998—2001(Hide quotations)

 

  aet   n. Sport (originally and chiefly Association Football) after extra time.

1971   Times 13 Apr. 7/2   Hertfordshire Senior Cup: Final: St Albans 1, Bishop's Stortford 1 (a.e.t.).
1979   Guardian 12 Dec. 24   Swindon 4, Arsenal 3 (aet).
2003   Irish Independent (Nexis) 30 June   Cahill Cup... Gortnahoe 1-13 Upperchurch 0-13 (aet).

1971—2003(Hide quotations)

 

  AEU n. British (now historical) Amalgamated Engineering Union.

1921   Times 4 Feb. 7/4   It was announced that the A.E.U. had submitted proposals which would be laid before the N.U.R. delegates at their resumed conference in the morning.
a1974   R. Crossman Diaries (1976) II. 497   I spent the morning with the old A.E.U. members who have A.E.U. pensions.
2006   Managem. Today Jan. 60/3   At Amicus, Simpson inherited a post-merger environment in which he was confronted by a legacy of an entire shelf-load of alphabetti spaghetti—AEU and EETPU, which became the AEEU [etc.].

1921—2006(Hide quotations)

 
1919   Aircraft Jrnl. 27 Dec. 7/2   British AF Independence. The constitution of the British air force emphasizes its integrity and independence as a separate fighting unit of the Crown.
1998   Air Force Missileers (2000) 87/3   [He] grew up on a farm in Iowa, attended Iowa State College and joined the AF in March 1959.

1919—1998(Hide quotations)

 
 

  AF n. audio frequency.

1915   Proc. IRE 3 411   The following abbreviations are used:..a.f.—audio frequency.
1944   Pop. Sci. Monthly Aug. 206   The R.F. carrier wave..must be varied in exact accordance with the A.F. impulses that represent speech and music.
1997   Philos. Trans. (Royal Soc.) B. 352 651   Bring the RF signal down to an intermediate frequency (IF) or audio frequency (AF).

1915—1997(Hide quotations)

 

  AF n. Photography autofocus; automatic focusing (also focus).

1974   U.S. Patent 3,798,660 2   Fig. 2 is a diagram showing the automatic focusing control circuit (hereinafter referred to as AF circuit).
1994   Backpacker Oct. 71/1   If you have an autofocus (AF) camera, switch it to manual focusing to save battery drain from the AF motors.
2005   D. Harman Digital Photogr. Handbk. ii. 58/1   If your camera allows control over which auto focus (AF) points you can use, select the central AF point and use it to focus.

1974—2005(Hide quotations)

 

  AFB n. air force base.

1950   Pop. Mech. Dec. 262/2   This correspondent flew as an observer in a recent high-altitude combat demonstration over Andrews AFB.
2004   J. G. Dunne Nothing Lost i. iii. 127   If the toxins in the infection were militant enough, it could put him on a plane back to Travis AFB.

1950—2004(Hide quotations)

 

  AFC n. Air Force Cross.

1919   Whitaker's Almanack 144/1   The Air Force Cross. 1918—A.F.C.—Instituted..for acts of courage or devotion to duty when flying, although not in active operations against the enemy.
1995   E. Wilson Dangerous Sky iii. 26   In February 1970 the AFC was awarded for the first time to a naval officer.

1919—1995(Hide quotations)

 

  AFC n. U.S. American Football Conference; cf. NFC n. at N n. Initialisms 1.

1970   Atlanta Daily World 15 Mar. 6/2   Following Cleveland in the AFC are: Kansas City, Pittsburgh..and San Diego.
1995   Hongkong Standard 26 Aug. 20/2   Kansas City Chiefs... Over the past two seasons, RB Marcus Allen has scored more touchdowns than anyone else in the AFC.
2006   Chicago Tribune (Midwest ed.) 12 Nov. iii. 2/4   He led all AFC defenders with 25 passes defended last season.

1970—2006(Hide quotations)

 

  AFC n. British Association Football club.

1879   Cambr. Rev. 22 Oct. 26/1   For the R.U.F.C. the officers elected are—1st captain, Burnett; 2nd ditto, Payne; secretary Chapman (who is also secretary to the A.F.C.).
2000   M. Herman Purely Belter 98 (stage direct.)    The enormous Stadium of Light. Home of Sunderland AFC.

1879—2000(Hide quotations)

 

  AFC n. Electronics automatic frequency control.

1934   Electronics Dec. 375/3   Mr. Travis stated that automatic frequency control, or AFC, was only a refinement, perhaps, for superheterodynes used in the broadcast band.
1973   Jrnl. Wildlife Managem. 37 416   EKG's may be received by an FM receiver with good automatic frequency control (afc).
2008   T. Petruzzellis Telephone Projects for Evil Genius xii. 94   The AFC or automatic frequency control of the local oscillator is accomplished using the Varicap diode at D10.

1934—2008(Hide quotations)

 

  AFI n. American Film Institute.

1967   Washington Post 6 June a19/2   Establishment of the long-promised American Film Institute was announced... A private, non-profit corporation, the AFI will have its headquarters in Washington.
1992   Amer. Film Jan. 13/1   Says Gary McVey, festival producer for the AFI, ‘American culture has opened up to international cuisine and music so much in the last 20 years, but, ironically, in film they've gone the opposite direction.’
2007   S. Baumann Hollywood Highbrow iii. 75   There has been controversy since the beginning surrounding the degree to which the AFI should focus on scholarly research and publication.

1967—2007(Hide quotations)

 
1983   H. Togoh et al. Proc. Conf. on Crime Countermeasures & Security 84/2   The Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) has been developed to solve these problems. It has two main functions: automatic registration and filing; and, automatic matching of latent fingerprints.
1984   Computerworld 19 Mar. 25/1   The $2.6 million Automated Fingerprint Identification System (Afis)..has already resulted in an arrest for a previously unsolved six-year-old murder case.
2003   S. Paretsky Blacklist (2004) 40   They're running your John Doe's prints through AFIS.

1983—2003(Hide quotations)

 

  AFK adv. colloquial (originally and chiefly in electronic communications) away from (the) keyboard.

[1989   FidoNews 8 May 10   AFK, Away From Keys.]
1990   Re: Smilies collection in rec.humour (Usenet newsgroup) 17 Jan.   AFK = Away From Keyboard.
1990   LPMUD Sugg. Rent-a-Stuff Recap in alt.mud (Usenet newsgroup) 14 May   As I have been AFK for about a week, I couldn't read alt.mud, would someone please mail me any postings concerning my suggestion?
1990   Toronto Star 15 Oct. c3/5   AFK, Away From Keyboard.
2008   T. Boellstorff Coming of Age in Second Life iv. 108   Often Second Life residents went afk for domestic reasons: to fix dinner for their families, dust the furniture, or spend time with an actual-world spouse.

1990—2008(Hide quotations)

 
 

  AFL n. American Federation of Labor.

[1889   Boston Daily Globe 15 Dec. 4/6   We deem it necessary to briefly state the attitude of the A. F. of L. toward that order [sc. the Knights of Labor].]
1890   Conductor & Brakeman Oct. 786/1   From a brief acquaintance with President Gompers we believe the A.F.L. has an able and energetic leader.
1935   Ironwood (Mich.) Daily Globe 28 May 4/8   The effect on wages in private industry would be nil, a circumstance which..presumably does not mitigate against the political correctness of the AFL's position.
2003   C. C. Northrup & E. C. P. Turney Encycl. Tariffs & Trade in U.S. Hist. 14   The AFL merged with the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) in 1955 to form the present-day AFL-CIO.

1890—2003(Hide quotations)

 

  AFL n. Australian Football League, the major professional league for Australian Rules football.

1989   Sunday Mail (S. Austral.) 27 Aug. 153   It [sc. the Victoria Football League] already has announced that it will change its name to the AFL next year.
2005   TNT Mag. 7 Mar. 50/2   Pickett was given a six-match ban,..a penalty that was upheld by the AFL's appeals board last week.

1989—2005(Hide quotations)

 

  AFM n. Air Force Medal.

1919   Times 11 Dec. 15/7   Sergeant W. H. Shiers, A.F.M., is also an Adelaide man.
2001   P. Duckers Brit. Gallantry Awards 49   The AFM was rendered obsolete in 1993 when the Air Force Cross was made available to all ranks.

1919—2001(Hide quotations)

 

  AFS n. now historical Auxiliary Fire Service.

1938   Times 16 June 13/4   The training uniform for auxiliary firemen consists of blue dungaree overalls, rubber boots, black webbing belt..and an A.F.S. cap.
2003   N. Moss Nineteen Weeks x. 307   Four-fifths of the firemen were members of the AFS, the Auxilliary Fire Service, who joined up for the war, and they had had little experience of firefighting.

1938—2003(Hide quotations)

 
1982   N.Y. Times 8 Jan. d2/6   The car, called AFV, for alternative-fuel vehicle, will be on display at the Detroit Auto Show later this month and, if built, would be ‘slightly more expensive’ to buy than conventional gasoline-powered cars.
2003   News & Observer (Raleigh, N. Carolina) (Nexis) 16 June a9   Auto manufacturers also produce a whole array of other AFVs that operate on natural gas, propane and electricity.

1982—2003(Hide quotations)

 
 

  AFV n. armoured fighting vehicle.

1927   Times 15 July 11/5   The expression ‘armoured fighting vehicles’ (A.F.V.) has been added to the Army vocabulary. Something of the sort was needed, in order to distinguish vehicles that are self-contained for actual fighting from those which are used to move the other arms of the Service about.
1942   Wardens' Bull. (City of Oxford Civil Defence) No. 53 18 June 3   Vehicles. Very dark dull grey with dark brown disruptive design. A.F.V.'s have black cross outlined in white.
1969   AFV Profiles xiii. 1   The first tracked AFV's to go into military service in Canada since 1918.
2001   G. McKay & G. Nicholas Jungle Tracks i. 5   To be part of the AFV crew requires a certain sense of being ‘at one’ with the machine.

1927—2001(Hide quotations)

 

  AG n. Adjutant General.

1913   W. T. Rogers Dict. Abbrev. 7/1   A.G., Adjutant-General.
1998   I. M. Brown Brit. Logistics on Western Front ii. 48   Had Sir John French not had three consummate professionals as his QMG, AG, and IGC, he might have had a terrible problem on his hands.

1913—1998(Hide quotations)

 

  AG n. Attorney General.

1814   J. Campbell Rep. Cases Nisi Prius III. 501   Garrow, A. G., for the defendant, contended that these facts afforded sufficient evidence.
1841   in F. A. Carrington & J. Payne Rep. Cases Nisi Prius IX. 139   Campbell, A.G., opened the case for the Crown, and in his opening said:—This indictment against John Frost consists of four counts.
1889   A. J. Balfour Let. 11 Apr. (Br. Libr. Add. MSS 49827 f. 845)   My dear A.G.
1992   J. Batten Class of ‘75 ii. 63   Blacklock articled at the Ontario attorney general's office..and he was offered a job... So were four other students. The AG was seriously short of bodies.
2006   U. Smartt Media Law for Journalists ii. 63   The AG sought injunctions against the Guardian, the Observer and the Sunday Times newspapers.

1814—2006(Hide quotations)

 

  AGC n. Electronics automatic gain control.

1933   U.S. Patent 1,905,946 2/1   AGC is an automatic gain control unit.
1978   Pop. Sci. Nov. 107/2   JVC's models have an AGC switch for overly bright or dim scenes; it provides the equivalent of one f-stop compensation.
2005   J. D. Herrington Podcasting Hacks x. 364   AGC can be very useful for untrained recordists, especially nonprofessionals making audio diaries.

1933—2005(Hide quotations)

 

  AGM n. annual general meeting.

1886   J. F. Wilkinson Friendly Soc. Movement ix. 126   The Central Body is known by different titles... In the Manchester Unity the governing body is known as the Annual Movable Committee (A.M.C.); in the Foresters as the High Court (H.C.); in the Rechabites the High Movable Conference (H.M.C.); in the Free Gardeners as the Annual General Meeting (A.G.M.).
1952   Secretaries Jrnl. 2 Aug. 99/2   It is surely not the intention to enable even private companies to hold their A.G.M.'s on paper with the members in various different places.
2006   St James' Parish Mag. (Blackburn) Apr. 3/1   We will meet together at Good Shepherd Church at 5pm for a Bring and Share tea and the AGM followed by our Monthly Service.

1886—2006(Hide quotations)

 

  AGN n. Astronomy active galactic nucleus (or nuclei).

1983   Adv. Space Res. 3 111   Somewhat more than 50% of the..viewing time will be devoted to galactic studies..and the remainder to extragalactic studies (AGN, extragalactic supernovae).
2003   New Scientist 25 Oct. 35/2   Because the density of gas on the edge of an AGN accretion disc is millions of times higher than in a typical interstellar cloud, once formation has begun the star matures rapidly.

1983—2003(Hide quotations)

 

  AGR n. advanced gas-cooled reactor.

1958   Atom No. 21 11/1   We are already carrying out experiments with a zero energy reactor, NERO, to study the nuclear properties of the A.G.R. reactor.
1983   Listener 14 July 6/1   The American reactor will produce five times as much intermediate waste as the AGR.
1996   Earth Matters Autumn (Suppl.) 2/3   When the expected operational costs and liabilities are taken into account, the company's seven Advanced Gas Cooled Reactors (AGRs) are actually worthless.

1958—1996(Hide quotations)

 
 

  AH adv.  [graphic abbreviation of post-classical Latin anno Hegirae (1556 or earlier) < classical Latin annō  , ablative of annus   year (see annals n.) + post-classical Latin Hegirae  , genitive of Hegira  hegira n.] in the year of the Hegira (see hegira n.).

1621   P. Heylyn Microcosmus 321 (table)    A:H.
1788   E. Gibbon Decline & Fall V. lii. 418   The foundations of Bagdad were laid a.h. 145, a.d. 762.
1861   W. Muir Life Mahomet III. xiii. 151   Mahomet marries Haphsa Shában, A.H. III. November A.D. 624.
1940   F. Stark Winter in Arabia iv. 25   It [sc. the wooden minbar] belonged to the year a.h. 693 (1293 a.d.).
2000   Mag. Antiques (Nexis) Mar. 464   These dates, in the Muslim calendar (AH), start with the Hegira, the prophet Muhammad's flight from Mecca to Medina in A.D. 622.

1621—2000(Hide quotations)

 

  AHA n. Chemistry alpha-hydroxy acid.

1955   U.S. Patent 2,721,188 39 (table)    Percent of rosin based on the wt. of the AHA, estolides, and rosin, percent by weight.
1991   USA Weekend (Nexis) 5 Jan. 24   AHAs are natural—found in sour milk, old wine, fruit and sugar cane—and have none of Retin-A's negative side effects.
2008   Men's Health May 158/1   Used once a week with an exfoliator, an AHA can help you flatten out the topography of wrinkled areas.

1955—2008(Hide quotations)

 
 

  AI n. Air Interception; (also) airborne interception.

1945   Electronic Engin. 17 683   With the Battle of Britain by night must be associated the use of A.I. or Air Interception.
1992   A. Hodgkin Chance & Design (1994) ii. xii. 147   When the fighter was suitably placed the observer would be given the order ‘Flash Weapon’ which would tell him to switch on the AI and complete the interception.

1945—1992(Hide quotations)

 
 

  AI n. artificial insemination.

1945   Brit. Med. Jrnl. 13 Jan. 40/1   We ourselves have used, and in certain respects developed, the technique of artificial insemination (A.I.) during the past five years.
1972   Times 7 Dec. 30/2   The major advantage of AI is that a good bull can be used to sire thousands of daughters.
2006   San Francisco Chron. (Nexis) 29 July a 1   Last year..the club registered 2,828 AI-produced litters [of puppies].

1945—2006(Hide quotations)

 

  AI n. artificial intelligence.

1963   M. L. Minsky Mathscope: Pt. I 2   A.I. Memo 61.
1991   Omni Mar. 51/1   Truly reactive creatures far more intelligent than any AI systems that have come before.
2009   Kotaku (Nexis) 28 May   What about video game characters? They're governed by AI.

1963—2009(Hide quotations)

 

  AID n. now historical Aeronautical Inspection Directorate (also Department).

1916   Times 28 July 5/6   Whatever you find belongs to me. It was given to me by the late Colonel Fulton (chief of the Aeronautical Inspection Department) and Mr. Cockburn, one of the present A.I.D. inspectors, can vouch for it.
1998   P. Summerfield Reconstructing Women's Wartime Lives vi. 210   She moved from riveting in an aircraft factory to training and working as a member of the AID, and had plans to join the ATA.

1916—1998(Hide quotations)

 

  AID n.
Brit. /eɪd/
U.S. /eɪd/
U.S. Agency for International Development, established in 1961 to give economic aid to underdeveloped countries.

1961   J. F. Kennedy in N.Y. Times 27 May 2/5   Responsibility..will be assigned to a single agency—the Agency for International Development... The new agency—A.I.D.—will be headed by an administrator of Under Secretary rank.
2003   N. Rush Mortals xiv. 157   He could imagine the AID people saying that this was not what they needed to have shoved down their throats at a memorial service.

1961—2003(Hide quotations)

 
 

  AID n. artificial insemination by donor (or with donated semen).

1945   Brit. Med. Jrnl. 13 Jan. 40/2 (heading)    Male sterility and Other Indications for Artificial Insemination with Donated Semen (A.I.D.).
1979   Jrnl. Amer. Med. Assoc. 23 Mar. 1219/2   Although these cases would be rare,..AID prevents any real safeguard against inadvertent inbreeding.
2008   Guardian (Nexis) 20 May (G2 section) 8   I went on a waiting list to have AID (artificial insemination by donor).

1945—2008(Hide quotations)

 

  AIF n. now historical Australian Imperial Force.

1915   Sydney Morning Herald 6 Mar. 11/2   J. P. Abbot, B.A., Clerical Division, A.I.F.
1940   War Illustr. 16 Feb. 121   The Second A.I.F.—Australian Imperial Force—consisting of men who have volunteered for service either at home or abroad.
2000   Amer. Hist. Rev. 105 1722/2   There was a continuing problem with the discipline of the Australian Imperial Force (AIF).

1915—2000(Hide quotations)

 
 

  AIH n. artificial insemination by husband.

1945   Brit. Med. Jrnl. 13 Jan. 43/1   In a recent series of 30 successive cases A.I.H. was carried out because of low invasive power of the semen.
1968   New Eng. Jrnl. Med. 7 Mar. 552/2   The use of homologous artificial insemination (AIH).
2002   Fordham Urban Law Jrnl. (Nexis) 1 Nov.   AIH accounts for a small proportion of artificial insemination cases.

1945—2002(Hide quotations)

 

  AIM   n. (also Aim) British Stock Market Alternative Investment Market.

1994   Herald (Glasgow) 7 Sept. 15/4   The idea behind AIM is to make entry as easy and cheap as possible while preserving some basic safeguards for investors.
1995   Daily Tel. 2 May 22/1   Aim, the new small companies market.
2007   Independent 29 Nov. (Extra section) 10/5   We absolutely are a commercial, for profit organisation and we wouldn't be able to go into the AIM if we weren't.

1994—2007(Hide quotations)

 

  AIM n.
Brit. /eɪm/
U.S. /eɪm/
U.S. American Indian Movement.

1971   Minneapolis Tribune 16 Aug. 12/2   The occupation began..when 25 Indians, most of them members of the American Indian Movement (AIM) broke a window.
2009   Sunday Oregonian (Portland, Oregon) (Nexis) 19 Apr.   Eyre was a beneficiary of the movement: ‘I got a lot of my education through programs that came out of AIM activism,’ he said.

1971—2009(Hide quotations)

 

  AK n.  [ < the initial letters of alte kacker n.] U.S. slang (originally Theatre) (now rare) = alte kacker n.

1911   Variety 16 Sept. 8/2   The organization of vaudeville agents..would vote to discard the appellation of ‘agent’..and become known as ‘theatrical brokers’... Many agents familiarly known as the ‘A. K.'s’ (alter kokers)..would be classed by themselves.
1920   Variety 27 Aug. 7/1 (headline)    Thorek cuts out goat gland optimism. Theatrical surgeon says, goat and monkey N.G. for A.K.
1931   I. Gershwin Entrance of Supreme Court Judges in Compl. Lyrics (1993) 180/2   They're..the A.K.s who give the O.K.s!
1943   A. Halper Only Inch from Glory vi. 73   Nah, I'm an A.K., I'm thirty-five.
1966   I. Faust Steagle 140   It's all the A.K.s lookin' for a handout like my brother Milton.

1911—1966(Hide quotations)

 
 

  AK n.  [ < Russian AK, initialism < avtomat Kalašnikova   Kalashnikov's automatic (see kalashnikov n.)] an automatic kalashnikov rifle; esp. (more fully AK-47) a model of this rifle, first manufactured in 1947.

1963   T. Nelson World's Submachine Guns I. 22   The end result was that the Avtomat Kalashnikov (AK), which is, in the opinion of many students of contemporary small arms design, the finest weapon in its class in the world.
1970   Bull. Concerned Asian Scholars 2 85   All of the 50 or so Cambodian soldiers present are carrying Chinese-made, Soviet designed AK-47 rifles.
1978   T. O'Brien Going after Cacciato xiv. 89   Stink said it didn't sound like an AK, anyway. ‘No crack,’ he said.
1996   E. Afr. Standard (Nairobi) 23 May 1/6   How do you expect a policeman, who is confronted by a criminal brandishing an AK47 rifle, to behave?

1963—1996(Hide quotations)

 

  AKC n. American Kennel Club.

1885   Amer. Kennel Reg. 6 28   No awards will be recognized except those made by members of the A. K. C.
1939   N.Y. Times 23 July x. 3/4   Twenty-six of the country's best-known ring critics will award an array of trophies... A feature will be the A. K. C. obedience trial classes.
2004   Dog World Oct. 24/2   How to integrate these non-registered, non-pedigreed dogs into the AKC gene pool?

1885—2004(Hide quotations)

 

  AL n. Baseball American League; cf. NL n. at N n. Initialisms 1.

1908   Chicago Tribune 9 Feb. ii. 1/4   Jones is quite confident that the White Sox will win the A.L. pennant this year.
1991   M. Pappas in J. Eisenberg From 33rd Street to Camden Yards vii. 63   The AL hadn't caught up with the NL as far as blacks were concerned, and they finally made an effort in the early '60s to start signing more black players.
2009   San Francisco Chron. (Nexis) 30 June d2   On the national front, it's still silly that the All-Star Game and not interleague play determines World Series home-field advantage. The AL usually gets the nod either way.

1908—2009(Hide quotations)

 

  AL n. autograph letter.

1868   Hist. Mag. Nov. 256/2   A. L. (third person) 1. p. 4to.
1967   J. Y. Simon Papers of Ulysses S. Grant I. p. xxxiii   AL Autograph Letter.
2006   R. A. Hill Marcus Garvey & Universal Negro Improvem. Assoc. Papers X. 16   AL, draft copy.

1868—2006(Hide quotations)

 

  ALA phr. (also A.L.A., a.l.a., ala) British (in personal advertisements) all letters answered.

1974   Gay News 28 Mar. 18/1   Gay male, 26, wishes to make new friends... Please write. Photo appreciated. ALA.
1987   Time Out 21 Oct. 119/1   Colin ‘lookalike’ is looking for his Barry. Is it you?.. Photo/phone. a.l.a.
2008   A. Lister Swingers: Female Confidential 7   First Timers Seek Similar—she bi-curious and eager to find out more. ALA.

1974—2008(Hide quotations)

 

  ALP n. Australian Labour Party.

1922   Round Table Mar. 409   The federal conference of the A.L.P., held at Perth in June, 1918.
1973   Nation Rev. (Melbourne) 31 Aug. 1434/1   Will the ALP grow a new set of wings?
2003   Austral. Financial Rev. (Sydney) 20 Oct. 3/1   The Victorian ALP faces months of infighting over renewed allegations of branch stacking in a string of federal seats.

1922—2003(Hide quotations)

 
 

  ALS n. Associate of the Linnean Society.

1793   Mem. Sci. & Arts 1 75   Mr. Thomas Hoy, of Gordon Castle. A. L. S.
1891   Gardeners' Chron. 17 Jan. 76/3   Mycologist, Dr. M. C. Cooke, M.A., A.L.S.
2002   Your Professional Qualification (Times) 43/1   The Linnean Society of London... Associate (ALS): Restricted to persons aged 18–29.

1793—2002(Hide quotations)

 
 

  ALS   n. (also ALs, Als) autograph letter signed.

1851   Puttick & Simpson Catal. 29 July   Autograph Letters 1, Letters autograph and signed are thus marked ‘A.L.s.’
1909   First Editions Amer. Authors: Libr. of F. Maier 191   Laid in is a 2 pp. A.L.S. regarding the forwarding of Stevenson's writings.
1981   V. Klinkenborg et al. Brit. Literary Manuscripts 264/1   Aird, Thomas, 1802–1876. Als (2) 1853, 1858 to Mr Ebsworth.
2006   J. Liberkowski US Presidents: Guide to Authenticating Autographs 10   Autograph Note Signed—basically the same as an ALS but shorter.

1851—2006(Hide quotations)

 

  ALU n. Computing arithmetic and logic(al) unit.

1956   IRE Trans. Electronic Computers 5 220/2   Switching circuits which permit only the addressed character to be transmitted from the memory buffer register to the ALU.
1984   Byte Jan. 135/1   A basic operation of the ALU will be to accept two 16-bit inputs and to produce a 32-bit product.
2001   P. J. Bentley Digital Biol. ii. 38   The ALU follows the rules of addition embedded in its circuitry and calculates the correct answer.

1956—2001(Hide quotations)

 
 

  AM n. Albert Medal.

1918   Times 6 Sept. 3/2   It is notified in Army Orders that officers..who have been awarded the Albert Medal are now entitled to add the distinctive letters ‘A.M.’ after their names.
2005   C. McCreery Order of Canada p. xviii. (table)    British Bravery Decorations. AM Albert Medal. GM George Medal [etc.].

1918—2005(Hide quotations)

 

  AM n. Radio amplitude modulation; cf. F.M. n. at F n. Initialisms 3a.

1939   Fortune Oct. 86/3   In a clumsy attempt to blank out static in its service area an AM station must increase the strength of its signal to thirty or forty times greater than the strength of the noise.
1962   E. Snow Other Side of River (1963) xlvi. 352   The hi-fi set and typewriter have already been stolen and only a worthless AM set remains.
2006   Church Times 17 Nov. 15/2   The transfer of the Daily Service at 9.45 a.m. from AM/FM to Long Wave disenfranchised many of us.

1939—2006(Hide quotations)

 
 

  A.M. adv.  [graphic abbreviation of post-classical Latin anno mundi (11th cent.)] in the year of the world (chiefly preceding a date).

1596   T. Bell Suruey Popery iii. i. 94 (table)    A.M. 3426.
1651   C. Hoole Latine Gram. i. 8   A.M. Anno mundi, In the year of the World.
1784   P. Oliver Script. Lexicon 2   The second son of Adam, who was slain by his brother Cain; supposed to be slain, A.M. 130.
1865   W. A. Baker Day & Hour x. 144   Archbishop Usher..places the nativity in the year A.M. 4000 and the nativity in the year A.M. 4004.
1987   J. T. Fraser Time, Familiar Stranger ii. 93   Putting it all together, today fills in the year 5747 a.m. (Anno Mundi, as calculated in the Jewish and traditional Christian chronology).

1596—1987(Hide quotations)

 

  A.M. n.  [graphic abbreviation of post-classical Latin artium magister (1440 in a British source)] now chiefly U.S. Master of Arts (cf. M.A. n. at M n. Initialisms 2a).

1664   T. Lawrence Mercurius Centralis (title page)   Sent in a Letter to Thomas Brown, M.D. By Tho. Lawrence, A.M.
1684   T. Creech tr. Theocritus Idylliums sig. A2   To His Honoured Friend Arthur Charlet A.M. Fellow of Trinity College in Oxon.
1726   W. Law Absolute Unlawfulness Stage-entertainment (title page)   The absolute unlawfulness of the stage-entertainment fully demonstrated. By William Law, A.M.
1837   Confessions of French Catholic Priest (title page)   Edited by Samuel F. B. Morse, A.M. Professor, &c. &c., in the University of the City of New-York.
1915   C. E. Hughes in Sesquicentennial Brown University 185   The repute of the University was being endangered by the low standard of scholarship required for the degrees of A.M. and A.B.
1995   B. Edmonston & C. Schultze Modernizing U.S. Census 459   She has an A.M. degree in Sociology from the University of Chicago.

1664—1995(Hide quotations)

 

  AM n. British Assembly Member; (the official abbreviation in English for) a member of the Welsh Assembly; cf. MWA n. at M n. Initialisms 3.

1999   EGi Web News Newswire (Nexis) 10 May   [She]..has been elected to the New National Assembly for Wales as the Labour AM (Assembly Member) for Cardiff North.
2006   S. Wales Echo (Nexis) 29 Apr. 1   The Pontypridd AM was at an awards presentation at Tonyrefail Primary School.

1999—2006(Hide quotations)

 
 

  AM n. Member of the Order of Australia.

1976   Titles & Forms of Addr. (ed. 15) 2   A.M... Member of the Order of Australia.
2008   M. D. Prentis Conc. Compan. Aboriginal Hist. 79   He was awarded the AM in 1993.

1976—2008(Hide quotations)

 

  AMA n. American Medical Association.

1849   N.Y. Jrnl. Med. 2 122   Alfred Stille, Henry J. Bowditch, Sec's of A.M.A.
1878   St. Louis Med. & Surg. Jrnl. 35 44   We propose..to present this plan to the next meeting of the A.M.A.
1911   Sunset Sept. 284/1   Now and then the ducks left their pond and waddled pompously across the lawn, as if to let the A.M.A. know that the ‘quacks’ had a right to membership, too.
1959   New Statesman 13 June 833/3   One cannot help wondering whether obstruction by the AMA has played any part in preventing Eckstein's book from being published earlier.
2004   Science 3 Dec. 1649   The AMA had urged the institutional review boards (IRBs) that review trial protocols to require such registration before approval of a drug.

1849—2004(Hide quotations)

 

  AMD n. Medicine age-related (also adult) macular degeneration.

1984   Arch. Ophthalmol. 102 1640/1   Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is one of the four most common causes of severe visual loss in this country.
2006   J. C. Folk & M. E. Wilkinson Protect your Sight i. 1   The risk of AMD sky-rockets with advancing age.

1984—2006(Hide quotations)

 

  AMDG n.  [graphic abbreviation of post-classical Latin ad maiorem Dei gloriam (6th cent.)] to the greater glory of God (esp. as a motto of the Jesuits).

1814   Orthodox Jrnl. May 178/2   To the Editor of the Orthodox Journal. A. M. D. G.
1837   S. F. B. Morse Confessions French Catholic Priest 231   Such is the spirit of those histories; and the Jesuits entitle their works A.M.D.G., viz.—‘Ad majorem Dei gloriam’,—(to the greatest glory of God).
1877   E. S. Dallas Kettner's Bk. of Table 279   Another liqueur, Bénédictine..is consecrated with the letters A.M.D.G. (Ad majorem Dei gloriam).
1965   N. Freeling Criminal Conversat. ii. xiii. 148   We had to write at the top of the page..the Jesuit motto A.M.D.G.
1999   W. W. Meissner To Greater Glory xviii. 312   The motto..has become synonymous with..Jesuits the world over. Hardly a logo or banner..representing the Society does not carry the familiar AMDG.

1814—1999(Hide quotations)

 

  AMG n. Allied Military Government (cf. AMGOT n.).

1943   Amer. Notes & Queries 3 86/2   AMG. Not long after AMGOT (Allied Military Government of Occupied Territories) first appeared in print it was denounced as an unprintable Turkish word. Immediately the War Department shortened the form to AMG (Allied Military Governments).
2004   H. Mitgang Newsmen in Khaki vi. 82   Even before the AMG landed in Sicily, conflicts arose about how to run the defeated Axis nation.

1943—2004(Hide quotations)

 

  AMP n. Biochemistry adenosine monophosphate (adenylic acid).

1943   Jrnl. Biol. Chem. 148 136   2 ADP ⇌ ATP + AMP.
1968   J. H. Burn Lect. Notes Pharmacol. (ed. 9) 65   Cyclic AMP is broken down by phosphodiesterase to the inactive 5-AMP.
2005   C. de Duve Singularities xii. 156   The group has recently described the phosphorylation of AMP to ADP and ATP in a similar system.

1943—2005(Hide quotations)

 

  AMPA n. Biochemistry alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid, an excitatory amino acid which acts as an agonist at a particular class of glutamate receptor; frequently attributive, designating receptors of this class.

1972   Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 261 106   Phosphonoacetic acid was degraded by the Schmidt reaction to CO2 and AMPA.
1998   Sci. Amer. Apr. 22/2   Without GluR2 sub-units, AMPA receptors become calcium permeable and so key players in excitotoxic cell death.
2008   N.Y. Times (Washington Final ed.) 24 Feb. 10/3   Because glutamate is so central to the brain's activity, directly blocking or triggering the NMDA and AMPA receptors can be very dangerous.

1972—2008(Hide quotations)

 

  AMRAAM   n.
Brit. /ˈamram/
U.S. /ˈæmˌræm/
(also Amraam) U.S. Military advanced medium range air-to-air missile.

1979   Wall St. Jrnl. 5 Feb. 10   The Amraam will succeed the Raytheon Sparrow Aim 7 missile as the U.S. medium-range air-combat missile.
2009   Atlantic Monthly Mar. 67/1   A small country can buy a MiG-21 on the world weapons market..and outfit it with ‘launch and leave’ missiles comparable to the AMRAAM.

1979—2009(Hide quotations)

 

  AMS n. Medicine acute mountain sickness.

1969   Federation Proc. 28 1085/1   As a working definition, we consider AMS to be a syndrome or symptom complex which occurs to some degree in all unacclimatized individuals who rapidly ascend to high terrestrial elevations.
2004   Global May 54/2   The secret to beating AMS (acute mountain sickness) is acclimatisation.

1969—2004(Hide quotations)

 

  AMT n. U.S. alternative minimum tax.

1979   Hutchinson (Kansas) News 15 July c3/3   The new AMT exempts the first $20,000 of income, but levies a tax of 10 percent or $2,000 on his total income of $40,000.
2007   Wall St. Jrnl. 16 Feb. a12/1   He wouldn't necessarily object if Democrats passed a ‘revenue neutral’ bill cutting taxes paid under AMT and raising them elsewhere to offset the money that would be lost to the Treasury.

1979—2007(Hide quotations)

 

  amu   n. Physics atomic mass unit.

1954   Science 24 Dec. 1078/2 (table)    Proposed symbols for units..Atomic mass unit..amu..1 amu=931 Mev.
1988   H. A. Klein Sci. Measurem. xx. 207   The amu (physical) is 0.03 percent less than the amu (international).
2008   J. E. House Inorg. Chem. xiii. 423   Naturally occurring boron consists of approximately 20% of 10B and 80% of 11B, leading to an average atomic mass of 10·8 amu.

1954—2008(Hide quotations)

 
 

  AN n. autograph note.

1915   Catal. Literary Treasures Libr. Gen. Brayton Ives No. 788   Monroe (James). A. N. third person, 1p. 12mo, undated.
1963   J. F. Hopkins Papers of Henry Clay IV. 22   AN. MHi-Adams Papers. Addressed: ‘The Honble J. Q. Adams. Present’.
1990   J. J. Benson New Crit. Approaches to Short Stories of E. Hemingway 469 (note)    Ms 716 is an autograph note (AN), JFK.
2006   S. K. Gragert & M. J. Johansson Papers Will Rogers IV. 59 (table)    AN Autograph note.

1915—2006(Hide quotations)

 

  ANC n. African National Congress.

1952   Rand Daily Mail (Johannesburg) 27 Nov. 12   The recommendations were adopted by the conference of the A.N.C. and S.A.I.C., and the course of action followed during the defiance campaign was mainly that prescribed in these recommendations.
1984   Daily Tel. 24 Mar. 16/1   For many years the ANC was a peaceful organisation dedicated to changing South Africa through non-violent means.
2009   N.Y. Rev. Bks. 12 Feb. 28/2   The ANC's spokesperson..told me that the government has built 2.8 million houses since 1994.

1952—2009(Hide quotations)

 

  ANF n. Biochemistry atrial natriuretic factor.

1983   FEBS Lett. 164 286   ANF is localized in the granules of the atrial cardiocytes.
2005   Proc. National Acad. Sci. U.S.A 102 18039/1   The ANF promoter serves as a target of cardiac-specific and stress-dependent gene regulation.

1983—2005(Hide quotations)

 

  ANP n. Biochemistry atrial natriuretic peptide.

1984   Biochem. & Biophysical Res. 124 816   Rat atrial peptide, α-rat ANP.
2008   Boston Globe (Nexis) 21 Apr. c1   As the heart works harder, the body produces more ANP, which helps control the brain's response to stress and anxiety.

1984—2008(Hide quotations)

 
 

  ANS n. autograph note signed.

1864   Priced Catal. of Autographs, Relics & Curiosities 5   A.N.S., Autograph note signed.
1912   F. K. Walter Abbrev. & Techn. Terms Bk. Catal. 1   A.N.S. Autograph note signed.
2001   P. Olleson Lett. Samuel Wesley 33   ANS, 1p. (Private collection of Cynthia Comyn).

1864—2001(Hide quotations)

 

  ANS n. Physiology autonomic (or automatic) nervous system.

1962   T. G. Hiebert Abbrev. Basic Med. Physiol. (ed. 4) i. i. 2   The Automatic Nervous System (ANS).
1978   Science 31 Mar. 1413/3   Other neurons of the parasympathetic portion of the ANS.
2003   P. Ekman Emotions Revealed iv. 63   Different patterns of ANS activity for each of the emotions we have examined.

1962—2003(Hide quotations)

 
 

  ANSI n.
Brit. /ˈansi/
U.S. /ˈænsi/
American National Standards Institute.

1969   Mag. of Standards Oct. 162   It will be appearing from now on as the identifying mark on all American National Standards published by the Institute...ansi.
1981   InfoWorld 19 Oct. 17/1   ANSI sets the standards for light bulbs and innumerable other items whose uniformity most of us take for granted.
2008   D. M. Etter & J. A. Ingber Engin. Probl. Solving with C++ (ed. 2) ii. 45   A total of 128 characters can be represented in the ANSI code.

1969—2008(Hide quotations)

 
 

  AO n. Officer of the Order of Australia.

1976   Titles & Forms of Addr. (ed. 15) 2   A.O... Officer of the Order of Australia.
2008   M. D. Prentis Conc. Compan. Aboriginal Hist. 97   She was awarded an MBE and an AO and was Australian of the Year in 1971.

1976—2008(Hide quotations)

 

  AOB n. any other business (at the end of the agenda for a meeting).

1946   Chem. & Industry 25 May 205/2   Under A.O.B., Dr. Vickers moved a vote of thanks to Mr. E. M. Myers for his services as Hon. Secretary during the past ten years; this was seconded by Prof. H. L. Riley.
1963   W. H. Scott et al. Coal & Confl. iv. 169   The secretary..claimed that if ‘AOB’ was heard earlier, members would leave as soon as it was completed.
2007   Evening Herald (Plymouth) (Nexis) 4 Sept. 4   The board agreed to withdraw AOB from its agenda as the chair's items covers any necessary issues board members need to include.

1946—2007(Hide quotations)

 

  AOC n. (with reference to wine, or some foods) appellation d'origine contrôlée.

1957   L. W. Marrison Wines & Spirits v. 97   Cognac and armagnac are also covered by A.O.C.'s.
1984   Times 4 Oct. 1/5   It is still too early to predict..what the quality of the AOC wines will be like.
2000   S. Fallon & M. Rothschild World Food: France (Lonely Planet Guide) 54   Fourme d'Ambert (AOC) is a very mild cow's milk cheese from Rhône-Alpes.

1957—2000(Hide quotations)

 

  AONB n. area of outstanding natural beauty (cf. S.S.S.I. n. at S n.1 Initialisms 1).

1957   Ann. Rep. Council Preserv. Rural Eng. 1956–7 32/1   The Breckland area of Norfolk and Suffolk has also been considered..for designation as an A.O.N.B. but rejected as unsuitable.
2006   Build It May 125/1   Paul's house is outside a conservation area, AONB and a national park.

1957—2006(Hide quotations)

 
 

  AOSIS   n. (also Aosis) Alliance of Small Island States, a coalition of small island and coastal countries founded in 1990 to lobby for restrictions on carbon dioxide emissions and other (industrial) activities thought to contribute to climate change and consequent rises in sea level.

1990   Nature 15 Nov. 188/1   AOSIS would ‘be extremely firm in the negotiations to come’, pushing for limits on carbon dioxide emissions from the industrialized countries.
1995   Guardian 25 Mar. 4/6   Some countries would disappear altogether. Thirty-six of them have joined in an alliance, AOSIS, and demanded a 20 per cent cut by 2005 in 1990 levels of carbon dioxide emissions.
2009   Cape Argus (Nexis) 19 Aug. 9   An analysis by Aosis of emissions reduction pledges made thus far had revealed that these would achieve just 10 to 16 percent of the required cuts to meet the 2°C target.

1990—2009(Hide quotations)

 
 

  AP n. (also A/P) accounts payable.

[1893   L. L. Williams & F. E. Rogers New Theoret. & Pract. Bk.-keeping 201   Enter in A. P. B.]
1929   S. E. Howard ABC of Accounting viii. 109   Similarly the account A P (Accounts Payable) has been introduced in the general ledger (A) for the many individual accounts with trade creditors.
1994   C. R. Malburg Accounting for New Business ii. 36   The A/P subledger pays each payable when due.
2007   M. S. Schaeffer Controller & CFO's Guide Accts. Payable vii. 107   The customer believes that the time starts when the invoice hits the AP department, whereas the vendor starts counting on the date on the invoice.

1929—2007(Hide quotations)

 

  AP n. North American Education advanced placement, a programme of college-level coursework offered to high school students; frequently attributive.

1958   Friends Jrnl. 5 Apr. 215/2   The real advantage which an A.P. student gains by qualifying for one or more sophomore courses in his first year is the time for more advanced work in his chosen field or for courses in other fields which normally could not be fitted into his schedule.
2003   D. A. Cantu & W. J. Warren Teaching Hist. Digital Classroom xvii. 283   In 2001, over 820,000 students took thirty-five AP exams in nineteen subject areas.

1958—2003(Hide quotations)

 
 

  AP n. Associated Press.

1879   Chicago Tribune 4 Mar. 5/4   Now, the A.P. may be a very wicked institution, but a ‘Monopoly’ it is not.
1947   Mem. Evid. Submitted to Royal Comm. on Press i. 14   The full A.P. service is provided to Press Association and a selection of items is distributed to subscribers in this country.
2004   Wall St. Jrnl. (Central ed.) 20 Aug. a8/2   Depending on the service and phone, you'll receive four to six short text messages a day culled from the AP..and a 20- to 25-second audio clip.

1879—2004(Hide quotations)

 
 

  AP n. attachment parenting (see attachment parenting n. at attachment n. Compounds 2b).

1996   Re: New Mailing List about Attachm. Parenting in misc.kids (Usenet newsgroup) 30 July   I no longer feel constrained to do anything recommended by AP advocates if it doesn't fit well with my instincts or my child.
2007   Corkman (Nexis) 11 Oct.   The philosophy of AP encourages responsive contact between parent and child and encourages the practices of breastfeeding, co-sleeping and babywearing.
2016   www.mumsnet.com 19 Aug. (forum post, accessed 12 June 2017)    Read the rules of any FB group you join and comply with them... If you're in an AP group you can't possibly be surprised that they don't support sleep training.

1996—2016(Hide quotations)

 
1953   Athens Messenger (Ohio) 29 Sept. 4/6   Get me a copy of that picture just going out on an APB.
1979   A. Hailey Overload (new ed.) iv. xvii. 382   A man..drove away in a Volkswagen van half an hour before the place was raided. The police have issued an APB for the van.
2005   Independent 23 June 45/4   There is no documented evidence of McDonald's death, and an APB put out on her in America has yielded nothing.

1953—2005(Hide quotations)

 

  APC n. Military armoured personnel carrier.

1954   Newport (Rhode Island) Daily News 2 June 8/3   Immediately behind them waddled a line of APCs, carrying a full infantry platoon behind.
2006   D. J. Blasko Chinese Army 127   As an APC it can carry up to 20 troops; it can also mount or tow anti-tank guns or artillery.

1954—2006(Hide quotations)

 

  APC n. Pharmacology a medicinal preparation containing aspirin, phenacetin (later replaced by paracetamol), and caffeine, used as an analgesic and antipyretic; a dose of this, typically in the form of a powder or tablet.

1930   Chemist & Druggist 27 Dec. 793/1   A.P.C. mixture.—Acetylsalicylic acid... Phenacetin... Caffeine.
1970   G. Jackson Let. 30 Mar. in Soledad Brother (1971) 200   When I ask for medication the M.T.A. gives me an APC or two.
2003   Cairns (Queensland) Post (Nexis) 25 Oct. 37   The powerful APC (aspirin, phenacetin, caffeine) powders were so highly addictive that some women swallowed up to 50 a day.

1930—2003(Hide quotations)

 

  API n. American Petroleum Institute (used esp. with reference to a scale, developed by the Institute, for expressing the relative density of oil).

1922   Circular U.S. Bureau of Standards 13 July 4   The American Petroleum Institute, the Bureau of Mines, and the Bureau of Standards have agreed that a scale based on the modulus 141.5 shall be used in the United States petroleum industry and shall be known as the A. P. I. scale.
1958   Times Rev. Industry June 59/1   Crude oil prices are usually quoted on a scale..the heavier oil commanding..say 2 cents a barrel for each degree A.P.I. more than the lighter.
2001   FHM Feb. 72/3   Make sure that the oil spec (its API or ACEA grade) is at least that recommended by your car's manufacturer.

1922—2001(Hide quotations)

 

  API n. Computing application programming (or program) interface, a set of routines, protocols, and tools designed to allow the development of applications that can utilize or operate in conjunction with a given item of software, set of data, website, etc.See also application programming interface n. at application n. Compounds 2a.

1982   Computerworld 29 Nov. 87   It also includes the Application Program Interface (API), a host facility that allows user-written CICS applications to access Disoss document-related functions.
1996   Linux Jrnl. Dec. 38/1   New features include API apprentice, which reduces complicated API calls down to filling out a dialog box.
2009   Guardian (Nexis) 12 Mar. (Technol. section) 6   Third parties using Twitter's API have developed a huge range of services and applications.

1982—2009(Hide quotations)

 

  APL n.  [initialism < associative programming language, but now often explained as initialism < A Programming Language, the title of a 1962 book by K. E. Iverson (1920–2004), who devised the mathematical notation which was developed into the programming language] Computing a high-level programming language, typically used for mathematical computations.

1966   Proc. AFIPS Conf. 29 677/2   APL was conceived at the General Motors Research Laboratories to satisfy the need for convenient data handling techniques in a high-level language. Standing for associative programming language, it is designed to be embedded in PL/I as an aid to the user dealing with data structures in which associations are expressed.
1984   N.Y. Times 8 Jan. xii. 7/3   He taught himself how to program by sitting at a terminal with a book on APL.
2003   G. Perry Absolute Beginner's Guide to Programming (ed. 3) iii. 58   APL (which stands for A Programming Language) is a highly mathematical programming language developed by IBM.

1966—2003(Hide quotations)

 

  APP n. Biochemistry amyloid precursor protein.

1988   Internat. Jrnl. Developmental Neurosci. 6 387   The precursor of the beta-amyloid peptide (APP)..participates in the formation of neuritic plaques in human brains affected by Alzheimer's disease.
2007   A. de Grey & M. Rae Ending Aging viii. 138   Some people produce unusually large amounts of beta-amyloid because they have inherited mutations that..cause their bodies to produce too much of APP itself.

1988—2007(Hide quotations)

 

  APR n. annual(ized) percentage rate (of interest on money lent on credit).

1972   Pop. Mech. Mar. 79/2   APR is a big help because it gives borrowers a uniform price base to work with while shopping.
2003   Which? July 37/5   Most companies charge you extra for paying by instalments—we show you the annual percentage rate (APR) that they charge.

1972—2003(Hide quotations)

 

  APS n. Photography Advanced Photo or (Photographic) System, a film system in which film of 24 mm width is enclosed in a cartridge for easy loading into a compatible camera, the image produced on the negative being 30·2 × 16·7 mm in size.A distinctive feature of APS is the ability to record information such as shutter speed, aperture setting, or the date the photograph was taken, in addition to the image. A typical APS camera can also record which of the three formats (of differing aspect ratio) supported by the system an image should be printed in.APS is a proprietary name in the United States.

1994   Science 3 Sept. 22/1   All five companies involved..have pledged not to disclose any details about the film, called the advanced photographic system (APS).
2007   Guardian (Nexis) 27 Oct. Suppl. 17   APS (Advanced Photo System) was perhaps film's last stand, with its choice of three formats including a 3:1 panoramic.

1994—2007(Hide quotations)

 

  APT n. advanced passenger train.

1967   Times 12 Sept. 9/5   If the hovertrain looks promising, the A.P.T. looks equally so, and poor old deficit-ridden B.R. should not be kept waiting for the funds.
2001   Mod. Railways Feb. 36/3   This is a live question for Railtrack in Britain, where we have negligible experience from the ill-fated APT, but a major construction programme for Virgin Trains presently under way.

1967—2001(Hide quotations)

 
 

  APU n. auxiliary power unit.

1944   Aero Digest 15 Aug. 92/2 (caption)    The auxiliary power unit is installed in the hull and has an integral fuel tank, bilge pump and generator... A.P.U. engine.
2002   J. W. Hall Blackwater Sound ii. 29   She was thinking of the flare and touchdown, rotating ten degrees nose high, she was thinking of the APU and engine fire handles that she would have to override.

1944—2002(Hide quotations)

 
 

  APY n. annual percentage yield (of interest on deposited funds).

1973   R. L. D. Morse Let. 18 June in FTC Jurisdict. Financial Inst.: Hearings before U.S. Senate Banking Comm. (93rd U.S. Congr., 1st Sess.) 147   Under present conditions all three rates (APY, APR and PPR) are required.
2009   New Yorker 12 Oct. 47 (advt.)    The Annual Percentage Yield (APY) and balance for a Premier Checking Account..is 0.01% APY on balances of $5.00 or more.

1973—2009(Hide quotations)

 
 

  AR n. (also A/R) accounts receivable.

1915   C. Rittenhouse Elem. Acct. 67   Three Ledger folio columns are provided,..headed respectively, A.R. Folio (Accounts Receivable), C.C.D. Folio (Clients' Cash Disbursements), and C.C.S. Folio (Clients' Cash Suspense).
1983   InfoWorld 19 Sept. 35/3   GL-Plus clears the monthly journal, the completely paid A/R and the completely paid A/P.
2007   S. Discenza in S. B. Buchbinder & N. H. Shanks Introd. Health Care Managem. viii. 219   Management of AR becomes exceedingly important in order to collect revenues generated to insure cash flow.

1915—2007(Hide quotations)

 
 

  AR n. Autonomous Region; Autonomous Republic.

1973   G. Moseley Consolidation South China Frontier vii. 157   The Tay Bac ar embraces an area equivalent to three provinces in the mountains between the Red River valley and the Laotian frontier.
1988   M. A. Jazayery & W. Winter Langs. & Culture 689   In the territory of the Georgian SSR are located the Abkhas and Adjar ARs and the South-Ossetian AD.
2005   A. Baschieri et al. Creating Poverty Map for Azerbaijan World Bank Working Paper 10   Poverty rates..are higher in urban areas compared to rural areas, the highest poverty incidence being found in Nakhchivan AR.

1973—2005(Hide quotations)

 

  A.R.A. n. British Associate of the Royal Academy.

1805   Eclectic Rev. June 477/1   Designs for cottages, &c.; by J. Gandy, A. R. A.
2002   W. Baker W. Collins's Libr. 170   The Peaceful Thames, after F. Walker, A. R. A. by C. Waltner.

1805—2002(Hide quotations)

 

  ARC n. Medicine AIDS-related complex.

1984   AIDS Res. 1 211   Homosexual patients with acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) and AIDS-related complex (ARC).
2005   Independent (Nexis) 10 Sept. 20   Her symptoms were those of pneumonia, but blood tests showed she had Aids related complex (ARC), a precursor to Aids.

1984—2005(Hide quotations)

 
 

  ARM n. adjustable-rate mortgage.

1980   Hartford (Connecticut) Courant 29 June 40 (advt.)    To find out more about ARM or any of our other mortgage plans, visit a nearby Society office today.
2009   N.Y. Rev. Bks. 12 Feb. 16/2   Bankers and mortgage brokers promoted..the adjustable rate mortgage, or ARM, in order to lower mortgage payments temporarily to levels that might seem well within the means of lower-income buyers.

1980—2009(Hide quotations)

 

  ARP n. Finance adjustable-rate preferred; cf. preferred n.

1985   Amer. Dental Assoc. News 4 Nov. 7/1   While market conditions will affect the price of the ARP, the interest rate swing has less impact on its value because the security's dividend will be adjusted upward to reflect the change in interest rates.
2002   R. Conrad Power Hungry xi. 241   The best time to buy an ARP is after interest rates have dropped for a time, and the yield is near the bottom of its designated collar.

1985—2002(Hide quotations)

 
 

  ARP n. air raid precautions (see air raid precautions n. at air raid n. Compounds 2).

1935   Times 27 Aug. 11/3   The accumulation of stocks of respirators and protective clothing for the A.R.P. services.
1977   E. R. Dodds Missing Persons xiv. 134   Shortly afterwards I joined the A.R.P. service myself and spent long nights in the Oxford control room.
2003   S. Mawer Fall (2004) xxii. 366   Nothing. Bombed out... So I asked around, in the local pub, the corner shop, the ARP post, that kind of thing.

1935—2003(Hide quotations)

 

  ARPS n. Finance adjustable-rate preferred stock (or share).

1982   Amer. Banker 22 Nov. 11/2   The investment bankers say the adjustable-rate preferred, called ARPS, is the cheapest form of permanant [sic] capital for banks.
1986   Atlantic Reporter 2nd Ser. 501 1237/1   The minority holders of common stock were to receive .50 share of a new adjustable rate preferred share (‘ARPS’) in place of each share of Crocker common stock held.
2001   M. Constas & J. K. Shim Investm. Sourcebk. vi. 178   Adjustable-rate Preferred Stock (ARPS)..is preferred stock with a floating dividend rate that resets each quarter.

1982—2001(Hide quotations)

 

  ARV n. and adj. Medicine and Virol.  (a) adj. antiretroviral;  (b) n. an antiretroviral drug; antiretroviral therapy.

1994   Jrnl. Infectious Dis. 170 1286/1 (caption)    Relative risk (RR) with antiretroviral therapy (ARV) alone.
2006   S. Afr. Times 15 Nov. 11/2   Our members have seen first hand what a difference ARV drugs makes to these children who prior to receiving ARV would have had a very short life span.
2007   Vanity Fair (N.Y.) July 158   First introduced in 1987, anti-retroviral drugs—ARVs for short—block H.I.V'.s assault on the body's immune system.

1994—2007(Hide quotations)

 

  AS n. British Education (originally) Advanced Supplementary, a former General Certificate of Education qualification regarded as a complement to the A level; (now chiefly) Advanced Subsidiary, the first half of an A level which is divided into two components, also constituting an independent qualification (see A2 n.); frequently attributive, esp. in AS level.

1984   Times 2 May 3/1   The advanced supplementary, or AS level, will require two years of study, cover at least half the ground of an A level, and be worth half an A level to employers and..admission tutors.
1988   Guardian 19 Jan. 13/7   There are interviews with students who are taking CPVE, BTEC, ‘A’ and AS courses.
1997   Daily Tel. 12 Feb. 11/1   The introduction of a new AS qualification to bring flexibility to sixth-form studies.
2001   Independent 26 July (‘Go Higher’ Suppl.) II/4   All new exams take time to bed, but the new AS has had more than its fair share of problems.
2002   P. Hodkinson & M. Bloomer in K. Evans et al. Working to Learn ii. 37   Can I change one of my As to an AS?
2005   Daily Tel. 14 Sept. 25/4   I..have a choice between continuing with general studies, in which I gained an A at AS-level, or taking an AS-level in critical thinking.

1984—2005(Hide quotations)

 
 

  A.S. n. and adj. Anglo-Saxon.

1799   Trans. Amer. Philos. Soc. 4 481   AS. Anglo Saxon.
1881   C. P. Mason Eng. Gram. (ed. 25) 36   The genitive in A.S. was monan.
1901   Northern Counties Mag. May 122   These are survivals of the A.S. neuter plurals.
1992   A. L. Klinck Old Eng. Elegies (2001) 116   There is no evidence that the verbs could be used in these senses in the A-S period.

1799—1992(Hide quotations)

 

  A.S. n. North American Education Associate in (also of) Science.

1942   W. C. Eells Associate’s Degree & Graduation Pract. in Junior Colleges iii. 35   Associate in Science... A.S.
2006   S. H. Stafford Community College iii. 36   An AS degree in computer science could help you gain an entry-level job in the field, or go on to a four-year institution and become a software programmer.

1942—2006(Hide quotations)

 
1962   New Society 13 Dec. 5/2   If the ASA rules that advertisements should not resemble editorial matter it may well be discouraging the more informative kind of advertising which many people welcome.
2008   B. Goldacre Bad Sci. viii. 142   An advertising campaign which was ultimately terminated by the ASA since it breached their codes on truthfulness and substantiation.

1962—2008(Hide quotations)

 

  ASA n. (also with pronunciation
Brit. /ˈeɪsə/
U.S. /ˈeɪzə/
) American Standards Association (used esp. with reference to a standard scale for rating photographic film speed).

1928   AERA 19 450/2   The change in name to 'American Standards Association' is a noteworthy improvement... It gives a balanced, pronounceable combination of initials, A.S.A., which has a decided advantage in practical use.
1976   Early Music 4 451/1   All films have a speed number on the carton—an ASA number—which indicates how sensitive the film is to light.
2003   Nat. New Eng. Summer 17   Expose Velvia (ASA 50 pushed one stop to ASA 100) with sufficient depth of field.

1928—2003(Hide quotations)

 

  ASB n. Alternative Service Book.

1978   Church Times 14 July 4/4   To exclude the psalms from the ASB would be to hasten their [sc. hymns'] decline.
1997   Cathedral Music Winter 14/1   One commentator said, when the ASB was introduced, that the Church of England was stumbling into a ‘great act of forgetting’.

1978—1997(Hide quotations)

 

  A.S.C. n. Army Service Corps; (also) a member of this organization.

1871   G. J. Wolseley Soldier's Pocket-bk. (ed. 2) (p. xi. List of abbrevs.)   A.S.C.—Army Service Corps.
1893   W. J. Clarke N.M.P. 14   The N.C.O.'s of the A.S.C. erected a store close to the camp and a fort was afterwards constructed round these stores.
1916   Somme-Times 31 July in Wipers Times: Compl. Series (2006) 119/2   I climbed up the rope of a sausage and joined two A.S.C.'s who were also watching the proceedings.
1941   W. Fortescue Trampled Lilies xxviii. 267   She continued to cope throughout the day, marshalling her men like a General of the A.S.C.
2006   Wipers Times: Compl. Series Gloss. 358   A.S.C., Army Service Corps. Also known at ‘Ally Sloper's Cavalry,’ after a children's comic character, and as the Army Safety Corps.

1871—2006(Hide quotations)

 
 

  ASD n. autism (or autistic) spectrum disorder.

1987   Proc. First Internat. Symp. Specific Speech & Lang. Disorders Children 28   ASD children were likely to have oromotor deficits.
2000   Proc. National Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 97 8734/1   This difference is less detectable among high-functioning adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
2012   N.Y. Mag. 5 Nov. 89/1   Many with ASD, and the families who care for them, suffer terribly.

1987—2012(Hide quotations)

 

  ASH n.
Brit. //
U.S. /æʃ/
Action on Smoking and Health.

1968   Christian Sci. Monitor 30 Jan. 5/1   Most recently there is the formation of the brand new Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) to act as a legal arm of the antismoking forces.
1983   Listener 30 June 36/1   After talking to ASH..I use the word ‘lethal’ advisedly.
2008   Evening Standard (Nexis) 28 Nov. 6   Until yesterday, Ash campaigners were convinced they had strong support for the proposals being in an NHS Bill in next week's Queen's Speech.

1968—2008(Hide quotations)

 

  ASIC   n. (also Asic) Computing (also with pronunciation
Brit. /ˈasɪk/
U.S. /ˈæsɪk/
) application-specific integrated circuit, an integrated circuit designed for one or more specific functions, rather than for general use.

1983   Computerworld 15 Aug. 97/1   Shipments of application-specific integrated circuits (Asic) will grow at a compounded annual rate of 25% through 1990.
1990   Computer Buyer's Guide & Handbk. vii. 37/2   Arche is currently designing five custom ASIC chips, each a half-inch square.
2006   Computer Weekly 31 Jan. 36/4   The faster transmission rates make dedicated Asics necessary.

1983—2006(Hide quotations)

 
 

  asl   n. above sea level.

1954   Geogr. Jrnl. 120 469   Block of carboniferous limestone country (1000 to 1300 feet a.s.l.) immediately west-northwest of the village of Ystradfellte.
2005   Quaternary Res. 63 56/2   Silt beds below about 18 m asl are nearly barren.

1954—2005(Hide quotations)

 

  ASL n. American Sign Language.

1965   W. C. Stokoe et al. Dict. Amer. Sign Lang. 293   Some ‘signs’ for numbers in ASL are simply configurations shown as letters are.
2002   N.Y. Rev. Bks. 7 Nov. 37 (advt.)    Kristin Mulrooney studies the reason in ASL behind the difference in how men and women fingerspell.

1965—2002(Hide quotations)

 
 

  ASM n. air-to-surface missile.

1950   J. C. Fahey Ships & Aircraft U.S. Fleet (ed. 6) 24   Guided Missiles (M)..Air-to-Surface Missile..[Class] ASM.
2004   Aviation Week & Space Technol. (Nexis) 8 Nov. 57   As with other areas of its guided-weapons inventory, China is bound to be building up its own capability to produce tactical ASMs.

1950—2004(Hide quotations)

 

  ASM n. Theatre assistant stage manager.

1918   R. Pertwee Old Card 1919 iii. 54   A frantic assistant stage-manager deserted the prompt corner and grasped Freddie Manning by the arm... ‘Shall I ring down?’ queried the A.S.M.
1949   K. S. Allen A.B.C. of Stagecraft for Amateurs iv. 30   The A.S.M. often combines the duties of a stage-hand with that of ‘props’ or stage-carpenter, or for any useful purpose around the stage.
2005   D. Nicholls Understudy 24   He received consolatory nods and never-minds from Debs from Wardrobe, Chrissy the ASM, Sam the lightning guy.

1918—2005(Hide quotations)

 

  ASW n. Military anti-submarine warfare.

1944   N.Y. Times 13 Feb. (Magazine section) 11/4   The ASW officer is the sound wizard who works the detection devices.
1959   P. Frank Alas, Babylon vi. 118   ‘ASW?’ ‘Anti-submarine warfare. I'll interpret.’
2004   Flight Deck Spring 8   The aircraft were stripped of their ASW equipment.

1944—2004(Hide quotations)

 

  ASP n. Computing application service provider.

1998   PR Newswire (Nexis) 1 July   New report defines role of application service providers (ASPs).
2007   Dominion Post (Wellington, N.Z.) (Nexis) 14 May (Business section) 10   After failing to take off five or six years ago, ASPs are starting to come back into favour with investors.

1998—2007(Hide quotations)

 

  A.S.R.S. n. (also A/S.R.S.) rare Air-Sea Rescue Service.

1942   J. A. Hammerton ABC of RAF (new ed.) 74   Abbreviations of Titles and Terms employed by the R.A.F... A/SRS. Air Sea Rescue Service.
1945   Times 8 Aug. 2/2   One of A.S.R.S.'s busiest periods for United States rescues was in July, 1943.

1942—1945(Hide quotations)

 

  ASSR n. now historical Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic.

1926   Russ. Rev. 4 41/2   The Bashkir A.S.S.R. with Ufa as its capital city.
1998   A. Dalby Dict. Langs. 425/2   First is Khalkha, the national language of modern Mongolia, which is very close to Menggu,..and also close to Buryat, of the Buryat ASSR to the north.

1926—1998(Hide quotations)

 

  AST n. Canadian Atlantic Standard Time.

1933   Radio News Sept. 184/2   The hours of transmission are from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Atlantic Standard Time, daily, and from 6 to 11 p.m., AST.
2010   Tel.-Jrnl. (New Brunswick) (Nexis) 12 Feb. d1   One of the men's quarter-final games is slated to begin at 11 p.m. (AST).

1933—2010(Hide quotations)

 
 

  ASTM n. American Society for Testing and Materials.

1906   Cement Age Dec. 479   The aging of Portland cement... By H. Spencer Conover, A.S.T.M.
1954   Chem. & Engin. News 5 Apr. 1386/3   ‘Kerosene’ is commoner than ‘kerosine’. The ASTM and ASA have preferred ‘kerosine’, probably in order to make it consistent with ‘gasoline’.
2006   Lexington (Kentucky) Herald Leader (Nexis) 26 Sept. (Sports section) c7   I think instead of a waiver it would be better to look at these other tests and see if it would be easier to adopt those standards in addition to the ASTM.

1906—2006(Hide quotations)

 

  ASTMS n. now historical (also with pronunciation
Brit. /ˈastəmz/
U.S. /ˈæstəmz/
) Association of Scientific, Technical, and Managerial Staffs.

1967   in J. Hughes & H. Pollins Trade Unions in Great Brit. (1973) xliii. 200   A new body—the Association of Scientific, Technical and Managerial Staffs—would be established. The Executive Council of the ASTMS would consist of six members each from the Executives of the present unions.
1979   C. Jenkins & B. Sherman White-collar Unionism ii. 31   ASTMS..has over 440,000 members and is a general union.
2006   Managem. Today Jan. 60/3   ASTMS and Tass, which became MSF, and now Unifi (formerly Bifu).

1967—2006(Hide quotations)

 
 

  ASV n. air(craft) to surface vessel.

1944   Radar System Fundamentals (U.S. War Dept. Techn. Man. 11–467) 364   A.S.V.
1966   D. Taylor Introd. Radar iii. 40   The actual performance obtained with this form of A.S.V. equipment depended on aircraft height, state of sea (because of sea returns), operator's experience, etc.
2002   T. G. Mahnken Uncovering Ways of War v. 154   They also developed Air-to-Surface-Vessel (ASV) radar sets to allow aircraft to detect ships at sea.

1944—2002(Hide quotations)

 
 

  ASV n. American Standard Version.

1905   Christian Observer 12 July 7/3   Scholars who know the many excellencies of this ‘A.S.V.’ can advocate its conservative use in the study, the family, the Bible class.
2001   Jrnl. Biblical Lit. 120 525   The NASB and NRSV translate as ‘when the wine had gone out of Nabal’, closely following the AV and ASV.

1905—2001(Hide quotations)

 

  AT n. Medicine ataxia telangiectasia.

1966   Lancet 26 Nov. 1193   The association between A.T. and malignancy, particularly lymphoreticular malignancy, appears firmly established.
2009   Daily Record (Glasgow) (Nexis) 6 Apr.   AT, which is also known as Boder-Sedgwick syndrome, is so rare that it only affects three in one million people worldwide.

1966—2009(Hide quotations)

 

  ATA n. Air Transport Auxiliary.

1939   Flight 36 373/2   Air Transport Auxiliary. A.T.A. was originally formed by British Airways for..assisting the regular airline people to maintain communications during..bombing attacks on this country.
1984   Times 17 July 29/3   This first of two programmes covers the period when the ATA was formed.
2008   Daily Tel. 5 May 23/1   One of a handful of ‘Atagirls’, women who served during the war as ATA (Air Transport Auxiliary) pilots.

1939—2008(Hide quotations)

 

  AT&T n. (also AT & T, AT and T) U.S. American Telephone and Telegraph Company.

1898   Rep. Joint Sel. Comm. Charities Columbia ii. 363   A. T. & T. pay stations, metallic.
1908   G. R. Johnston Some Comments on 1907 Ann. Rep. Amer. Telephone & Telegr. Company 5   The A.T. & T. general statements in the first paragraph quoted may be met by general denial.
1965   J. A. Michener Source (1966) 884   Until the day when A.T. and T. drops to forty and you have an economic crisis.
2009   Economist (Nexis) 6 June   Joel Engel..whom Mr Cooper called at AT&T's Bell Laboratories that day, says he does not remember taking the call.

1898—2009(Hide quotations)

 

  ATB n. Cycling (originally U.S.) all-terrain bike.

1983   Sports Illustr. 27 June 12/2   The new bikes have their own name, ATB, for All-Terrain-Bike.
2008   D. Stokes & W. Lomax Marketing vi. 173/1   By 2000, ATBs accounted for over two-thirds of all bicycle sales in the UK.

1983—2008(Hide quotations)

 
 

  ATC n. air traffic control (also controller).

1946   Fortune Aug. 192/2   A pilot, bringing a ship into a major airport recently, checked with traffic control... Control told him: ‘Cleared to descend to 1,500 feet.’ He rogered, descended, checked in again at 1,500 feet. This time ATC ordered: ‘Descend to 5,000 feet.’
1952   Aeronautics June 71/3   From the ATC point of view, a landing by a Comet with one engine out of action would receive the same priority as one for any other aeroplane.
2004   M. Ruppert Crossing Rubicon xx. 377   [He] was the ATC handling both Flight 93, departing from Newark, and Flight 175 from Boston.

1946—2004(Hide quotations)

 
 

  ATC n. Air Training Corps.

1941   Flight 39 57/2   The birth of the A.T.C.
2007   K. Barnes Rough Passage I. i. xi. 105   I was poorly co-ordinated on the drill square and thought that the ATC, and..the RAF for my national service, would suit me better.

1941—2007(Hide quotations)

 
 

  ATC n. Automatic Train Control.

1928   Pop. Sci. Monthly Oct. 34/2   He'd potter around an engine that was being equipped with about twelve hundred dollars worth of ATC accessories.
1958   Engineering 14 Mar. 336/1   Before the Second World War..in general, the Great Western Railway had A.T.C. and the other British railways did not.
2003   E. Albrechtsen & P. Hokstad in T. Bedford & P. H. A. J. M. van Gelder Safety & Reliability 26   If train A passes the exit signal, the ATC should stop the train from leaving the station.

1928—2003(Hide quotations)

 
 

  ATE n. automated test equipment.

1976   N.Y. Times 4 Apr. f17/4 (advt.)    Digital computer maintenance experience including airborne digital processors, and/or minicomputers associated with automated test equipment (ATE).
2003   M. Levin & T. T. Kalal Improving Product Reliability Foreword p. xix   As our business grew, the technology necessary to design ATE became increasingly complex.

1976—2003(Hide quotations)

 

  ATF n. U.S. Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (Bureau), a law enforcement agency within the United States Justice Department responsible (since 1968) for enforcing laws and regulations relating to firearms, alcohol, tobacco, explosives, and arson (made an independent bureau within the Treasury Department in 1972, and moved to the Justice Department in 2003).

1969   Los Angeles Times 1 Dec. i. 21/1   ATF and U.S. customs agents are working with the Air Force's office of special investigations in the probe.
1981   Cook's Mag. Sept. 16/3   The ATF decided to identify California wines ‘distinguished by unique characteristics such as climate, soil, and elevation’.
2002   Washington Post (Home ed.) 10 Oct. a33/2   New federal enforcement tools..would beef up the ability of ATF to crack down on gun trafficking.

1969—2002(Hide quotations)

 

  ATM n. Computing asynchronous transfer mode.

1987   Computer Networks & ISDN Syst. 14 340/1   Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) is a promising new multiplexing and switching concept based on asynchronous ‘on demand’ use of short fixed size time slots, called cells.
1997   Byte Oct. 58/1   Once the unsinkable Titanic of high-speed networking, asynchronous transfer mode (ATM) looks like it might have a hole in its hull.
2005   Financial Mail (S. Afr.) (Nexis) 4 Nov. 82   The cost of ATM, sometimes referred to as cell relay technology, was prohibitive next to technologies such as IP over Ethernet.

1987—2005(Hide quotations)

 

  ATM n. originally U.S. automatic (also automated) teller machine (see automatic teller n. at automatic adj. and n. Compounds).

1975   Changing Times Oct. 6/2   An ATM requires a much smaller investment than construction of a full-fledged branch office.
1989   Life Autumn 49 (advt.)    Need cash at midnight? Hit the ATM.
2009   Wall St. Jrnl. 20 Apr. r4/4   Some mobile-banking services offer lists of ATM locations and maps on their Web sites.

1975—2009(Hide quotations)

 

  ATM adv. colloquial (chiefly in electronic communications) at the moment.

1992   Backup PC to Server Tape Device in vsmnet.networks.desktop.pathworks (Usenet newsgroup) 9 Jan.   The app works on most pc's but buzz's [sic] (bugs minor ATM) out on some!.. Only works ATM (at the moment) on DECNet-ULTRIX machines.
2001   Sun 24 Apr. (Sun BT Offer Suppl.) 3/1   ATM: At The Moment.
2012   G. Szekely & J. A. Bucknam Art Teaching iv. 214/2   Calling all parents: FYI IDK how, but we r in need of black yarn again! Ud think the kids are eating it :) LOL! That's all Atm Gtg Ttyl!

1992—2012(Hide quotations)

 

  ATOL n.
Brit. /ˈatɒl/
U.S. /ˈæˌtɔl/
British Air Travel Organizer's Licence (also Licensing).

1973   Observer 13 May (Review section) 38/4 (advt.)    Cooks faraway holidays C.A.A. ATOL 265ABC.
1981   S. J. Burkart & S. Medlik Tourism (ed. 2) xviii. 188   The four air travel organizers' licenses (ATOL).
2007   Eve July 67/1   The house was my main investment, though I also had to find money for an ATOL bond, the travel industry's customer compensation scheme.

1973—2007(Hide quotations)

 

  ATP n. Tennis Association of Tennis Professionals, the governing body organizing the main men's professional tour.A proprietary name.

1973   N.Y. Times 8 June 36/4   The A.T.P. represents all of the leading tennis players.
2013   Radio Times (South/West ed.) 2 Nov. 89/3   Tennis... The season-ending ATP World Tour finals begin..with the first of five days in this round-robin stage.

1973—2013(Hide quotations)

 
 

  A.T.S. n. animal tub-sized (see animal n. Compounds 2).

?1912   Printing Papers (Spalding & Hodge) ii. 1   Animal Tub-sized, or A.T.S., is a term employed to denote the more costly method of passing the manufactured sheet through a bath or ‘tub’ of animal size.
2005   R. J. Prytherch Harrod's Librarians' Gloss. & Ref. Bk. (ed. 10) 703   Tub-sized paper (abbreviated ‘T.S.’) is strong and has a high resistance to moisture. Also called ‘Animal Tub-Sized’ (abbreviated ‘A.T.S.’).

?1912—2005(Hide quotations)

 

  ATV n. all-terrain vehicle.

1969   Pop. Sci. Jan. 78/2   Latest all-terrain vehicle (ATV) is the sippy Attex, a six-wheeled amphibian for wilderness penetrators.
2005   High Country News 30 May 4/1   Each year more Jeeps, ATVs, giant-tired rock crawlers and dirt bikes traverse once-remote desert trails around Moab.

1969—2005(Hide quotations)

 

  ATV n. British (now historical) Associated Television, a British television company broadcasting between 1955 and 1981.

1955   Billboard 29 Oct. 7/5   ATV, which until three weeks ago was called Associated Broadcasting, now has a co-production arrangements with the Birmingham contractor.
1981   Ann. Reg. 1980 428   By far the greatest impact made by a single television programme in 1980 resulted from the screening..of ATV's Death of a Princess.
2009   Guardian (Nexis) 24 Mar. 37   Essex was made a Fellow of the Royal Television Society in 1975. When ATV was restructured as Central Television seven years later..he retired.

1955—2009(Hide quotations)

 

  AU n. (also ÅU) Physics Ångström (or Ångström's) unit; cf. sense 17.

1894   Astron. & Astrophysics 13 373   The table and drawing show with a slit-width of 10 Angström's units all five maxima, but each is displaced 5 A. U. towards the violet.
1929   Jrnl. Sci. Instruments 6 2   An actinometer which was sensitive in the region 2950–3900 å.u.
2006   D. Jubb Jubbs Cell Rejuvenation i. 32   The color red is 8000 AU.

1894—2006(Hide quotations)

 

  AU n. Astronomy astronomical unit.

1910   Outlook 16 July 568   We find Mercury about .4 of an astronomical unit (A. U.) from the sun.
1984   Aviation Week & Space Technol. 2 Jan. 48/3   Halley will be..0·97 AU from Earth at the time of the Giotto encounter.
2009   Lewiston (Idaho) Morning Tribune (Nexis) 15 Jan.   Uranus orbits the sun at an average distance of 19.2 AU.

1910—2009(Hide quotations)

 
 

  A.U.C. adv.  [graphic abbreviation of classical Latin annō urbis conditae in the year of the foundation of the city (of Rome) ( < annō  , ablative of annus   year (see annals n.) + urbis   genitive of urbs   city, city of Rome (see urban adj.) + conditae  , feminine genitive singular of past participle of condere   to found, establish: see condite adj.2) or in some cases perhaps of classical Latin ab urbe conditā  ab urbe condita adv.] in the year of the city (of Rome) having been founded.

1728   J. Morgan Compl. Hist. Algiers I. 14   This Epocha is express'd by these three Capitals, A.U.C. signifying Anno Urbis Conditæ and begins 752 years before the Christian Æra.
1785   J. Robertson Ess. Punctuation 163   A.U.C. Anno Urbis Conditæ, in the year after the building of Rome.
1824   J. L. Blake Hist. Reader (ed. 2) 74   Fifteen thousand were slain, and 24,000 surrendered themselves prisoner to the victor, A.U.C. 705, B.C. 49.
1874   H. R. Reynolds John the Baptist App. 531   There was a genuine Co-principate of Tiberius and Augustus before the middle of 765 a.u.c.
1906   A. Sloman Gram. Classical Lat. 309   To turn a date b.c. to a date a.u.c. subtract the date b.c. from 754.
1992   A. Zameenzad in M. Bradbury & J. Cooke New Writing 102   June 650∗ AUC it was, the month of Sassia's first wedding; the second year, I think, of the consulship of Marius.

1728—1992(Hide quotations)

 

  AUEW n. British (now historical) Amalgamated Union of Engineering Workers.

1971   Times 9 Nov. 19/7   The 1.4 m member AUEW—the most important craft union in the country.
2000   B. Bousquet in C. Newland & K. Sesay IC3 114   When I asked Terry Duffy of the AUEW, he also gave us 100 per cent support, whereas the leader of the miners' union, Arthur Scargill, refused.

1971—2000(Hide quotations)

 
1965   New Statesman 6 Aug. 174/1   His colleagues would happily settle for the single-member-constituency AV system.
2005   Independent 1 July 32/6   This proposes using the alternative vote (AV), which under many analyses is less proportional than first-past-the-post.

1965—2005(Hide quotations)

 
 

  AV n. (also A/V) audio/video; frequently attributive.Sometimes difficult to distinguish from uses with the sense ‘audio-visual’ (cf. audio-visual adj. and n.).

[1951   Billboard 23 June 14/1   The A-V firm is affiliated with Audio-Video Recording and Audio-Video Products companies here.]
1978   Billboard 18 Feb. 50/4   The Beta or VHS systems also widely used in the A/V market.
2006   Esquire Feb. 97/2   You will need to connect the red and white audio cables through the AV sockets to add sound.

1978—2006(Hide quotations)

 
 

  AV adj. (also A-V) audio-visual.Sometimes difficult to distinguish from uses with the sense ‘audio/video’.

1970   Billboard 1 Aug. 14/2   BASF offers reel-to-reel and cassette tapes in the A-V educational market.
2010   Straits Times (Singapore) (Nexis) 13 Jan.   The much-talked about convergence between PCs and audio-visual (AV) equipment is a task that is becoming fuss-free.

1970—2010(Hide quotations)

 

  A.V. n. (also AV) Authorized Version (of the Bible) (frequently with the).

1845   J. Kitto Cycl. Biblical Lit. I. 117/2   The oak is, in fact, less frequently mentioned in the original than in the A.V., where it occurs so often as to suggest that the oak is as conspicuous and as common in Palestine as in this country.
1868   B. F. Westcott Gen. View Hist. Eng. Bible iii. 334   In the later (Irish) editions of the ‘Rhemes and Doway’ Bible and New Testament there are considerable alterations, and the text is far nearer to that in the A.V.
1982   G. Hammond Making of Eng. Bible 237   The same phrase occurs twice in Genesis... Tyndale renders both as ‘speak kindly’. The AV follows his rendering.
2006   L. Branch Rituals of Spontaneity 256 (note)    Campbell has asserted that in his early works Bunyan used..the Geneva Bible..and even the AV.

1845—2006(Hide quotations)

 
 

  AVC n. automatic volume control.

1931   Brit. Patent 357,134 1/2   The devices AVC and VL are used throughout to indicate automatic volume control device and volume limiter respectively.
1980   H. S. Bennett On Becoming Rock Musician iv. 195   The AVC, or automatic volume control, circuit found in car radios.
2006   Rotarian Apr. 22/1 (advt.)    Automatic Volume Control. (AVC) Selectively compresses loud bursts of volume that are annoying when watching a program.

1931—2006(Hide quotations)

 

  AVH n. now historical the Hungarian secret police, from 1949 to 1956; cf. AVO n.  [ < Hungarian ÁVH, initialism < the initial letters of either Államvédelmi Hatóság (short for Belügyminisztérium Államvédelmi Hatósága, lit. ‘state security authority of the Ministry of the Interior’ (1949)) or Államvédelmi Hivatal, lit. ‘state security office’, an alternative name of the same organization.]

1953   N.Y. Times 29 Mar. §vi. 9/3   The structure of terror in Hungary consists of..a pyramid with the Allam Vedelmi Hasotag (State Security Authority, or secret police), at the apex. A.V.H., which has 50,000 men and women in its force, is..the party's harsh punitive arm.
1973   R. Hayes Hungarian Game xxiii. 145   Neither AVH nor KGB had a watch on Mityas' house. He'd become such a non-person that not even they worried about whom he saw.
2006   P. Kenez Hungary from Nazis to Soviets iv. 94   Five years later Ries was tortured to death in an AVH prison.

1953—2006(Hide quotations)

 

  AVI n. Computing Audio Video Interleave (or Interleaved), a file format for the storage of digital video and audio sequences.

1991   InfoWorld 21 Oct. s100/3   Microsoft is developing an interim software-only solution for motion video with sound called Audio Visual Interleave (AVI).
2006   Maximum PC May 47/1   If you're having difficulty playing a particular AVI file, it could be because the file itself is damaged or incomplete.

1991—2006(Hide quotations)

 
 

  AVM n. Air Vice-Marshal.

1922   G. Bell Let. 8 Oct. (1927) II. xxii. 652   The King went straight to the heart of things, asking the A.V.M. what he could do to protect us from attack.
1981   P. White Let. 14 Nov. (1994) xiv. 551   I twisted Boycott's tail a bit by asking what had become of his friend Parselle (a Wing-Co, later AVM when I was in the ME).
2009   A. Brookes Vulcan Units of Cold War vi. 53   AVM Nigel Baldwin..flew four tours as a Vulcan pilot.

1922—2009(Hide quotations)

 

  AVO n. now historical the Hungarian secret police, before 1949cf. AVH n.  [ < Hungarian ÁVO, initialism < the initial letters of Államvédelmi Osztály (short for Magyar Államrendőrség Államvédelmi Osztálya, lit. ‘state security department of the Hungarian state police’ (1946)).]

1951   White Bk. Aggressive Activities towards Yugoslavia (Yugoslav Min. Foreign Affairs) v. 132   Hostile elements are sent to Yugoslavia to carry out acts of espionage, terrorist activities and sabotage... This has been proved by public trials against the spies of the Hungarian A.V.O.
2002   A. Phillips Prague ii. xi. 161   Two unpleasant members of the AVO secret police came to the press and the Party man..called Imre up..and explained the accusations against him as the two AVO men took turns kicking him.

1951—2002(Hide quotations)

 

  AWB n.  [ < Afrikaans AWB, initialism < the initial letters of Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging] South African the Afrikaner Resistance Movement, a far-right paramilitary Afrikaner organization, established in 1973.

1974   Eastern Province Herald (Port Elizabeth) 17 Oct. 18   The leader of the AWB is Mr Eugene Terreblanche, an ex-policeman.
2005   S. Frankental & O. B. Sichone S. Afr.'s Diverse Peoples vii. 212   As..apartheid withered away..the AWB swore that they would fight to preserve the Afrikaner nation.

1974—2005(Hide quotations)

 

  AWD   n. (also awd) Motoring all-wheel drive; cf. 4WD n.

1959   Roads & Streets Apr. 60/2   All-wheel-drive helped rigs keep going in slippery clay during very rainy summer... For example, one Dodge power wagon (a.w.d.) served as a welding truck.
1984   Motor Trend July 129/1   Is all-wheel drive (awd) yet another marketing gimmick, or is it a valuable feature every consumer needs in personal transportation?
2004   Car & Driver July 36/3   Working in concert with the stability-control system (VSA), the AWD makes handling foolproof.

1959—2004(Hide quotations)

 

  AWM n. (also A.W.M.) Politics (originally and chiefly U.S.) = angry white male n., angry white man n. at angry adj. Compounds 2.

1994   Pittsburgh (Pa.) Post-Gaz. 14 Nov. (Lifestyle section) d1/6   I have brought the official poster boy of the Angry White Male with me today... He'll be accepting other AWM applications as soon as he finishes passing out cyanide capsules to all the cowering liberals who haven't bought his books.
2001   Vanity Fair (N.Y.) Aug. 72/2   The public turned against A.W.M.'s after Republican freshmen on the Hill overplayed their hand with the government shutdown of 1995.
2006   N. Sagan Everfree (2008) 162   Do you think I'm an AWM?.. And if I am, does that make me racist?

1994—2006(Hide quotations)

 

  AWS n. British Railways automatic warning system, a system which provides audible indications of upcoming signals.

1961   Electr. Jrnl. July 48/2   A third of the total route mileage of the main trunk routes has now had A.W.S. installed.
1992   S. Hall BR Signalling Handbk. 63/2   AWS equipment is often not provided at large stations where speeds are low, even though the approach lines are equipped. The start of the AWS gap is indicated by a circular white sign showing ‘AWS’ with a red cross.

1961—1992(Hide quotations)

 

  AWU n. Australian Workers' Union.

1904   Shearer (Sydney) 15 Oct. 8/5   The A.W.U. organisers are having rough rows to hoe at nearly all sheds in Victoria.
1983   Financial Times 25 Nov. 6/1   Mr. Frank Mitchell, federal secretary of the..Australian Workers' Union (AWU), issued an immediate rebuff to Mr. Dolan, saying work would proceed.
2009   Weekend Austral. (Nexis) 6 June 27   The AWU wants to see successful resource companies in this country, not poorly led corporations.

1904—2009(Hide quotations)

 
 

  AYM n. (plural unchanged or with -s) = angry young man n. at angry adj. Compounds 2.

1958   Life 26 May 149/1   While the AYM are literary conservatives, they are attracted in their political thinking toward radical solutions.
1958   Spectator 11 July 67/2   A vigorous but implausible book about an AYM, strictly lower-class.
2000   A. Calcutt Brit Cult 29/2   Although neither of them liked being tagged as AYMs..their early work seems to merit the label.

1958—2000(Hide quotations)

 

  AZT n. Pharmacology azidothymidine.

1985   United Press Internat. (Nexis) 2 Oct.   Reports on experiments with the drug azidothymidine, or AZT, were given at a four-day conference sponsored by the American Society of Microbiology.
2008   Cape Argus (Nexis) 1 Feb. 6   HIV-positive pregnant women are to be given AZT from 28 weeks until they go into labour.

1985—2008(Hide quotations)