Accipiter v Accipiter

To: "'Rob Geraghty'" <>, <>
Subject: Accipiter v Accipiter
From: "Paul Dodd" <>
Date: Tue, 9 Jun 2009 18:02:07 +1000
For a little bit of fun I thought I'd contribute to this debate...

Initially I thought that the distinction between "v" and "vs" as
abbreviations was that legal practitioners tended to use "v" and
sportspeople and others used "vs". Checking through the various documents
from solicitors in the various cases that I've been involved in over the
years (as a business owner, not a criminal!), in cases where my company has
been the plaintiff, the documents are addressed as ...... (plaintiff) v.
...... (defendant) - where v. is the abbreviation for "versus", obviously.
Curiously when my company is the defendant, the documents are addressed as
...... (defendant) a.t.s. ...... (plaintiff) - where a.t.s. is an
abbreviation of "at the suit of" - an English expression!

I then searched my mind for the Latin that I learnt at school many years
ago. And in almost every case the common convention for the abbreviation of
Latin expressions is the initial letter of each word followed by a period.
For example:

e.g. exempli gratia (for example)
i.e. id est (that is)
q.e.d quod erat demonstrandum (which was to be shown or demonstrated)
A.D. Anno Domini (in the Year of the Lord)

Modern usage tends to omit the periods between the letters, and often the
period at the end.

So what about "etc"? This is actually a concatenation of a Latin word "et"
(meaning "and") and the abbreviation for another Latin word "cetera"
(meaning "other unspecified things"). Over the years "et" and "c." have
merged into "etc." or "etc".

For the religious Christian-minded, another well-known Latin abbreviation is
"INRI" - Iesus Nazarenus, Rex Iudaeorum (Jesus of Nazareth, King of the
Jews). Curiously, this phrase is often written without periods.

Other Latin phrases are used today without abbreviation including "ad hoc",
"ab initio", "ad infinitum", "annus horribilis", and so on.

The only odd phrase I could find was "ad lib", which is a shortened form of
"ad libitum" (at one's pleasure). A little more research indicated this
phrase was always "ad libitum" until either 1919 or 1925 in America,
depending on the reference one believes, when the phrase "adlib" was coined,
as one word.

So, in short, the "proper" abbreviation of "versus" is "v." with "vs" being
a much more recent adoption.

-----Original Message-----
 On Behalf Of Rob Geraghty
Sent: Tuesday, 9 June 2009 9:18 AM
Subject: Accipiter v Accipiter

Just a point of pedantry not related to birding - can anyone tell me when it
became common to concatenate "versus" to "v" rather than "vs"?  I am
guessing it's something advertisers began to make headlines narrower, a bit
like the new habit of leaving out the words "hundred" and "thousand" in
advertising to make 17,990 sound smaller.

This is not a criticism of anyone on the list.  I'm honestly curious if
anyone noticed when this use of "v" began.


PS Ob-birding: miserable weekend for birding in Canberra. Cold, windy, and
the birds had very sensibly looked elsewhere for shelter. :(
Rob Geraghty


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