Two letter month abbreviations
By James Robert Watson, PhD
I was trying to align some months in a column. Their names didn't cooperate so I used their numerical equivalents - 02 for Febuary, etc. But those require some education and don't quite communicate a month - they could be symbols or numbers for any number of things. I wondered why we haven't established a consistent set of 2 letter abbreviations like we have for states. One letter would not work because of June and July, May and March, and April and August. Two makes sense because we are familiar with two letters for the state postal abbreviations.
So I set out to determine the most logical pairing of letters to represent each month. The first letter of the two should be the initial letter of the month - we are already familiar with that, not much education will be required. The second letter could be the second letter of the month, the next most significant letter, or the last letter of the month.
• Two letters - minimum number with clarity and consistent spacing
• Clarity of month
• Not confused with another month (JU - June or July?)
• Not confused with a state (AR, AL, DC, MA, NV, OR)
• Not confused with another word (DR - Doctor, OR - or, AP - Associated Press, MY - my, AT - at)
A list of some options
JA JY JN
FE FB FY
MA MR MH
AP AR AL
JU JN JE
JU JL JY
AU AG AT
SE SP ST SR
OC OT OR
NO NV NR
DE DC DR
Proposed set - two letters
MY My is a word and MA could be March.
NO NO makes sense but also says No!
Proposed set - three letters
• Clarity of communication
• Easy to learn
• Easy to remember
We will learn them fairly easily and be able to communicate more clearly. We learned the postal state abbreviations and those have become quite standard. We can do the same with month abbreviations.
Concept: Starbucks at Battery Park, New York City, October 15, 2005.
Origins of the names of the months
Days of the week
Designers, writers, and editors, should include the day of the week along with the date. More info
Origins of the days of the week
Sunday - Latin dies Solis, "Day of the Sun"
Monday - Latin Lunae dies, "Day of the Moon"
Tuesday - Day of the war god Tiw, translation of the Latin dies Martis, "Day of Mars"
Wednesday - Woden's day, translation of Latin Mercuru dies, Day of Mercury
Thursday - Norse, "Thor's day", Germanic translation of Latin dies Jovis
Friday - "Freya's day"
Saturday - Latin Saturni dies, "Saturn's day
Abbreviations for days of the week
Confusion from TT since two days start with the same letter. R works for Thursday - its the last letter of the God Thor.
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