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This question is meant to be a glossary of abbreviations used in electrical engineering.

Some abbreviations are very common and universal, and are therefore acceptable to use on this site. Others are quite localized or pet abbreviations used by individuals without a wide following, so are not acceptable on this site. One purpose of this question is to list all abbreviations so that others have a chance to decode them if encountered, but thru voting also show which ones are acceptable to use in a wide international context or not.

So here are some rules to make this question work:

  1. Each answer must only be for ONE abbreviation.

  2. This will be community wiki, so only ONE answer for each abbreviation. If you want to expand on a description, edit the existing answer for that abbreviation.

  3. This is going to get long, so consistant formatting will help. For each answer (abbreviation), start with just the abbreviation within HTML "h1" and "/h1" tags on a line by itself.

  4. Upvote answers for abbreviations you think would be acceptable to use in a post on this site without any expansion or explanation.

  5. Downvote abbreviations (answers) you think should not be used "bare" on this site. This will be community-wiki, so nobody will loose reputation as a result. In this special case, you are voting on the universality of the abbreviation, not on the quality of the writeup. If you don't like the write up, fix it instead.


INDEX

A - A(2) AC(7) ADC(15) ALU(3) AM(7) ASCII(12) ASIC(6) ASK(1) AWG(7)

B - BCD(5) BJT(16) BLDC(4) BNC(6) BPF(1) BW(3)

C - CAD(5) CAN(7) CC(1) CC-II(-1) CCCS(1) CCD(6) CMOS(16) CMRR(1) COG(0) CPLD(4) CPM(-1) CPU(7) CRO(-1)

D - DAC(15) DC(7) DEMUX(2) DFT(2) DIP(5) DLL(2) DMA(7) DRC(3) DSO(3) DSP(13) DTFT(0) DVD(-10) DVM/DMM(4)

E - ECL(4) EDA(6) EE(7) EEPROM(13) EMC(3) EMS(-7) EOS(0) EPROM(3) ESD(9)

F - F(2) FDNR(-3) FET(17) FFC(2) FFT(6) FIFO/LIFO(7) FM(7) FPGA(9) FSK(1) FSM(4)

G - GBW(5) GIC(-1) GND(16) GPIO(9) GPS(4)

H - H(2) HDTV(-11) HF(4) hFE(2) HPF(2) HVSP(-1) Hz(3)

I - i(-1) I/P(-7) I2S(1) IC(11) IF(4) IFT(1) IGBT(9) IGFET(0) ISP(4) I²C(13)

J - j(-1) JFET(10) JTAG(7)

K - KCL(6) KVL(6)

L - LCD(17) LED(19) LF(3) LPF(4) LSB, MSB(2) LUT(5) LVD(-1) LVDS(5) LVDT(0) LVS(-2)

M - MCU(6) MEMS(6) MIDI(4) MOSFET(17) MPU(-1) ms(2) MUX(6)

N - NEXT(-6) NPN(12) NTSC(0) NVM(0)

O - O/P(-7) OCXO(2) OLED(4) OP-AMP(8) OTA(3)

P - P-P(0) PAL (logic)(2) PAL (television)(0) PC(-1) PCB(17) PCBA(-5) PCM(4) PFM(-2) PIC(0) PID(9) PLL(9) PM(0) , duplicate(0) PNP(14) POR(3) PPM(-1) PSK(5) PUT(-1) PWM(24)

Q - QM(-6) QVGA(0)

R - RADAR(0) RAM(12) RF(5) RFID(6) RGB(4) RJ45(6) ROM(3) RTL (discrete logic)(2) RTL (Verilog)(2)

S - SAW(3) SCR(9) SD,SDHC(0) SDCC(-3) SMA(4) SMPS(9) SMT(5) SNR(5) SOC/SoC(5) SPI(13) SPICE(8) SRAM(6) SRPP(-2) STA(0)

T - TBH(-8) TCXO(2) THD(6) TRF(-1) TTL(10) TVS(4)

U - UART(12) UHF(4) UJT(0) UL(3) USART(4) USB(4)

V - V(2) VCA(1) VCC / VEE / VDD / VSS(14) VCCS(1) VCO(5) VCXO(3) VFD(3) VGA(-2) VHDL(7) VHF(5) VLSI(2) VNL,VFL(-1) VSWR(4)

W - W(2)

X - XO(1) XOR(3) XTAL(5)

Ω - Ω(0)

186 answers - Sun May 11 09:17:28 2014 (CET)

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FDNR

Frequency Dependent Negative Resistor

(An active circuit consisting of two operational amplifiers; primary use in active filters)

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Really!? This is getting ridiculous. Adding these kind of obscure abbreviations is getting absurd. \$\endgroup\$ May 10, 2014 at 13:33
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GIC

Generalized Impedance Converter

(A very versatile active circuit consisting of two operational amplifiers; primarily used in active filters and harmonic oscillators)

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CC-II

Current Conveyor (second generation)

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V

SI symbol for volt - measure of electric potential, abbreviated as:

mV

Millivolt - one thousandth (10-3) of a volt

µV

Microvolt - one millionth (10-6) of a volt

nV

Nanovolt - one bilionth (10-9) of a volt

kV

Kilovolt - one thousand (103) volts

MV

Megavolt - one million (106) volts

GV

Gigavolt - one billion (109) volts

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  • 5
    \$\begingroup\$ I think that putting the SI units goes too far from the scope of this post. \$\endgroup\$
    – clabacchio
    May 2, 2014 at 7:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ Especially since kV, and nV are in common usage as well, the attempt other definitions with units are making to show the common ranges completely fails here. \$\endgroup\$
    – Ben Voigt
    May 11, 2014 at 20:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ @BenVoigt I agree about kV and added it to my anser I've never actually seen nV, and it doesn't even show up on a Google search so I'm leaving that one out. \$\endgroup\$
    – tcrosley
    May 11, 2014 at 20:41
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @tcrosley: Check the noise density for your favorite low-noise opamp, the datasheet will list it in $$nV / \sqrt{Hz}$$ \$\endgroup\$
    – Ben Voigt
    May 11, 2014 at 21:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ @BenVoigt Thanks for the example. \$\endgroup\$
    – tcrosley
    May 12, 2014 at 2:53
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IMD

Intermodulation Distortion. A type of signal error (distortion) where two or more signals mix in a nonlinear circuit, resulting in new frequency components.

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CRO

Cathode Ray Oscilloscope.

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P1dB

Short for Output power at 1dB compression point. It is typically used when referring to Amplifiers. It is defined as the output power level at which the actual gain achieved deviates from the small signal gain by 1 dB.
All active components have a linear dynamic range. This is the range over which the output power varies linearily with respect to the input power. As the output power increases to near its maximum capability, the device will begin to saturate. The point at which the saturation effects are 1 dB from linear, is defined as the 1 dB compression point.

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UVM

Universal Verification Methodology is a standardised method to verify Digital IP design by IEEE. It is generally conducted with SystemVerilog.

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EMS

Electronic manufacturing services, companies that design, test, manufacture, distribute, and provide return/repair services for electronic components and assemblies for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs)

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Too easy to confuse with electromagnetic spectrum and energy management systems. \$\endgroup\$
    – Mast
    Jan 27 at 13:01
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MPU

Microprocessor or Multi-core processor or Memory protection

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Which part of this is incorrect? \$\endgroup\$
    – Roh
    Apr 30, 2014 at 16:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ Check remarks #4 and #5 about voting on this question in the original question. \$\endgroup\$
    – jippie
    Apr 30, 2014 at 19:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ @jippie Thanks. \$\endgroup\$
    – Roh
    May 1, 2014 at 3:31
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PIC

May stand for 2 types of devices, which are not related to each-other.

  • Peripheral Interface Controller.

  • A family of micro-controllers from Microchip Technology.

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j

Imaginary number. Math uses i but EE uses that letter to represent current.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Fun fact: Physicists use \$j\$ or \$I\$ for current because \$i\$ is the imaginary unit. Adhering to the strange inverse convention in EE is akin to the strange adherence to the imperial units in the US. \$\endgroup\$
    – tobalt
    May 18, 2022 at 7:37
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i

I (or i): steady-state current

Sometimes i stands for instantaneous current.

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PC

Program counter

Often used in microcontrollers when programming in assembly language.

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3
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Unfortunately, this could also be a Personal Computer or a Printed Circuit. \$\endgroup\$
    – gbarry
    May 11, 2014 at 6:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ 1+ Commonly used enough that I think it belongs here \$\endgroup\$
    – user10256
    May 14, 2014 at 20:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ PC stands for many things but I'd argue Program Counter is the most useful one to have on this site. \$\endgroup\$ May 15, 2014 at 1:27
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PM (control systems)

Phase margin (a stability measure for systems with feedback)

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PM (modulation)

Short for "Phase Modulation"

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IP (Digital Design)

Intellectual property is the already developed module in HDL and is ready to be integrated into the system. Some of them are open-source and the other needs to be purchased to use.

For example, MicroBlaze by Xilinx is an IP.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ This definition doesn't feel right to me. Things use IP or constitute IP, but I've never heard it said that something is IP \$\endgroup\$ May 18, 2022 at 22:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ That's the reason why I add (Digital Design) at the end. It is the building block that is ready to use but you need to agree the license term from either the venders or open-source contributors to use it just like normal IPs other than Digital Designs as it can be their weeks of months of work. Like xilinx.com/products/intellectual-property.html or intel.co.uk/content/www/uk/en/products/programmable/…, they all called IP or IP Cores. There are jobs to verify the IP with UVM. So I think IP (Digital Design) is a valid definition of it. \$\endgroup\$
    – ONLYA
    May 19, 2022 at 12:36
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PPM

Pulse Position Modulation.

A modulation scheme widely used in optical communication in which the position of the carrier pulse is changed according to the information.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Also "parts per million" \$\endgroup\$
    – jippie
    May 9, 2014 at 19:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ and parts per million is the more common meaning by far, just think of resistors and references alone. \$\endgroup\$
    – tobalt
    May 18, 2022 at 7:34
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