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Abbreviations in general use

A

A.M.
(Latin Ante Meridiem) "Ante" translates to "before", Meridiem translates to "meridian" which refers to an imaginary line running from the southern horizon, passing directly overhead then ending at the northern horizon thus dividing the sky in to two halves. When the sun is in the eastern half of the sky it was be said to be "Ante Meridiem", or before the meridian, or in modern terms "before noon".
AD.
(Latin, Anno Domini) translates to "in the year of our Lord". It is used to represent the number of years since the birth of Christ. For example; 2011 AD or Annon Domini 2011 means "in the year of our Lord 2011" which is intended to mean 2011 years since the birth of Christ. However, the AD/BC calendaring system was based on a sixth-century estimate for the year in which Jesus was conceived or born. This year numbering system was devised by the monk Dionysius Exiguus in the year 525 to replace the Diocletian years because he did not wish to continue the memory of a tyrant who persecuted Christians. He attempted to number years from an event he referred to as the Incarnation of Jesus. Scholars today generally agree that he miscalculated the year of Christ's birth with most scholars placing the event in what would today be numbered 4 BC.

a

alpha.
alphabetical; alphabetically

B

BC.
(Before Christ) . It is used to represent the number of years before the birth of Christ. For example; 2011 BC is intended to mean 2011 years prior to the birth of Christ. However, the AD/BC calendaring system was based on a sixth-century estimate for the year in which Jesus was conceived or born. This year numbering system was devised by the monk Dionysius Exiguus in the year 525 to replace the Diocletian years because he did not wish to continue the memory of a tyrant who persecuted Christians. He attempted to number years from an event he referred to as the Incarnation of Jesus. Scholars today generally agree that he miscalculated the year of Christ's birth with most scholars placing the event in what would today be numbered 4 BC or perhaps a few years earlier.
BCE
Before the Common Era, Before the Christian Era, Before the Current Era, indicating the number of years before the birth of Christ

C

CE
Common Era,Christian Era,Current Era, indicating the number of years since the birth of Christ

P

P.M.
(Latin Post Meridiem) "Post" translates to "Post" which means "after". Meridiem translates to "meridian" which refers to an imaginary line running from the southern horizon, passing directly overhead then ending at the northern horizon thus dividing the sky in to two halves. When the sun is in the western half of the sky it was be said to be "Post Meridiem", or "after the meridian", or in mordern terms "after noon".

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