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Important notice

Good news! We have updated our writing tools. Writing Tips and The Canadian Style have been combined to create a new tool called Writing Tips Plus.

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To begin your search, go to the alphabetical index below and click on the first letter of the word you are searching for.

abbreviations: military abbreviations

In the following tables, the middle column lists the abbreviations used by the Department of National Defence (DND) and the Canadian Forces (CF), and the right-hand column those used in non-DND/CF writing:

Army and Air Force

abbreviations used by the Army and Air Force
Rank DND/CF writing Non-DND/CF writing
General Gen Gen.
Lieutenant-General LGen Lt.-Gen.
Major-General MGen Maj.-Gen.
Brigadier-General BGen Brig.-Gen.
Colonel Col Col.
Lieutenant-Colonel LCol Lt.-Col.
Major Maj Maj.
Captain Capt Capt.
Lieutenant Lt Lieut.
Second Lieutenant 2Lt 2nd Lieut.
Officer Cadet OCdt (not abbreviated)
Chief Warrant Officer CWO (not abbreviated)
Master Warrant Officer   MWO (not abbreviated)
Warrant Officer WO (not abbreviated)
Sergeant Sgt Sgt.
Master Corporal MCpl (not abbreviated)
Corporal Cpl Cpl.
Private Pte Pte.


abbreviations used by the Navy
Rank DND/CF writing Non-DND/CF writing
Admiral Adm (not abbreviated)
Vice-Admiral VAdm (not abbreviated)
Rear-Admiral RAdm (not abbreviated)
Commodore Cmdre (not abbreviated)
Captain(N) Capt(N) Capt.
Commander Cdr Cmdr.
Lieutenant-Commander LCdr Lt.-Cmdr.
Lieutenant(N) Lt(N) Lieut.
Sub-Lieutenant SLt Sub-Lieut.
Acting Sub-Lieutenant A/SLt (not abbreviated)
Naval Cadet NCdt (not abbreviated)
Chief Petty Officer, 1st Class CPO 1 (not abbreviated)
Chief Petty Officer, 2nd Class CPO 2 (not abbreviated)
Petty Officer, 1st Class PO 1 (not abbreviated)
Petty Officer, 2nd Class PO 2 (not abbreviated)
Master Seaman MS M.S.
Leading Seaman LS L.S.
Able Seaman AB A.B.
Ordinary Seaman OS O.S.

In non-DND/CF writing, the plurals of these abbreviated titles are formed by adding s to the principal element, before the period:

  • Gens.
  • Maj.-Gens.
  • Cols.

Note that at the Department of National Defence and within the Canadian Forces, the abbreviations for Retired and retired are Retd and retd (without a period).