Ever feel like your co-workers—or, worse, your boss—are speaking to you in a different language? No, I’m not talking about your team suddenly deciding to conduct a meeting entirely in French. I’m talking about what often seems to be the language of the business world: acronyms.

While some of us have the guts to ask for clarification when we have no idea what’s being said, others of us cringe at the thought of asking potentially “stupid” questions. Well, to everyone in the latter group: Today’s your lucky day. We’ve rounded up abbreviations for the most commonly used terms that you’re likely to run into at work (or more likely, in an email).

Better yet, they’re categorized by department, so you can prep before a meeting with your finance, technical, or marketing teams. (And because we’re pretty sure that, regardless of your role, you don’t want to be the only one who nods with a confused smile when there’s a RFD because the CTR for your website decreased and a QA test is required by EOD.)

General

  1. BID: Break it down


  2. COB: Close of business


  3. EOD: End of day


  4. EOM: End of message


  5. EOT: End of thread


  6. EOW: End of week


  7. ETA: Estimated time of arrival


  8. FTE: Full-time employee


  9. FWIW: For what it’s worth


  10. IAM: In a meeting


  11. IMO: In my opinion


  12. KISS: Keep it simple stupid


  13. LET: Leaving early today


  14. LMK: Let me know


  15. MoM: Month over month


  16. MTD: Month to date


  17. NIM: No internal message


  18. OOO: Out of office


  19. OT: Off topic


  20. OTP: On the phone


  21. PA: Performance appraisal


  22. POC: Point of contact


  23. PTE: Part-time employee


  24. PTO: Paid time off


  25. NRN: No reply necessary


  26. NSFW: Not safe for work


  27. NWR: Not work related


  28. Re: Referring to


  29. RFD: Request for discussion


  30. SMART: Specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, time-bound


  31. SME: Subject matter expert


  32. TED: Tell me, explain to me, describe to me


  33. TL;DR: Too long, didn’t read


  34. TLTR: Too long to read


  35. TOS: Terms of service


  36. TYT: Take your time


  37. WFH: Work from home


  38. WIIFM: What’s in it for me


  39. WOM: Word of mouth


  40. YTD: Year to date


Finance

  1. ACCT: Account


  2. AP: Accounts payable


  3. AR: Accounts receivable


  4. BS: Balance sheet


  5. CPU: Cost per unit


  6. CR: Credit


  7. DR: Debit


  8. EPS: Earnings per share


  9. FIFO: First in, first out


  10. IPO: Initial public offering


  11. LIFO: Last in, first out


  12. LWOP: Leave without pay


  13. NAV: Net assets value


  14. P-card: Purchase card


  15. ROA: Return on assets


  16. ROE: Return on equity


  17. ROI: Return on investment


  18. P/E: Price to earnings


  19. P&L: Profit and loss


Technical

  1. API: Application program interface


  2. CPU: Central processing unit


  3. CSS: Cascading style sheet


  4. FTP: File transport protocol


  5. HTML: HyperText markup language


  6. HTTP: HyperText transfer protocol


  7. HTTPS: HyperText transfer protocol secure


  8. IM: Instant messaging


  9. IP: Internet protocol


  10. ISP: Internet service provider


  11. OS: Operating system


  12. QA: Quality assurance


  13. UI: User interface


  14. URL: Universal resource locator


  15. UX: User experience


  16. VPN: Virtual private network


  17. RAM: Random-access memory


  18. ROR: Ruby on Rails


  19. RSS: Rich site summary or really simple syndication


  20. WYSIWYG: What you see is what you get


Marketing and Sales

  1. AIDA: Attention, interest, desire, action


  2. B2B: Business to business


  3. B2C: Business to consumer


  4. BR: Bounce rate


  5. CMS: Content management system


  6. CPC: Cost per click


  7. CTA: Call to action


  8. CTR: Click through rate


  9. CR: Conversion rate


  10. CRM: Customer relationship management


  11. DM: Direct message or direct mail


  12. ESP: Email service provider


  13. GA: Google Analytics


  14. KPI: Key performance indicator


  15. PPC: Pay per click


  16. PV: Page view


  17. RFP: Request for proposal


  18. ROS: Run of site


  19. RT: Retweet


  20. SaaS: Software as a service


  21. SEO: Search engine optimization


  22. SM: Social media


  23. SMB: Small to medium business


  24. SWOT: Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats


  25. UV: Unique visitor


Job and Department Titles

  1. BD: Business development


  2. CAO: Chief analytics officer


  3. CDO: Chief data officer


  4. CEO: Chief executive officer


  5. CFO: Chief financial officer


  6. CIO: Chief information officer


  7. CMO: Chief marketing officer


  8. COO: Chief operating officer


  9. CPA: Certified public accountant


  10. CSO: Chief security officer


  11. CSR: Corporate social responsibility


  12. CTO: Chief technology officer


  13. CFP: Certified financial planner


  14. DOE: Depending on experience


  15. GC: General counsel


  16. HR: Human resources


  17. PM: Project manager


  18. PR: Public relations


  19. R&D: Research and development


Photo of keyboard courtesy of Shutterstock.