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See also: abc, Abc, and A.B.C.



Etymology 1Edit

The first three letters of the Latin alphabet, standing for the whole alphabet

Alternative formsEdit


  • IPA(key): /eɪ biː siː/
  • (file)


ABC (countable and uncountable, plural ABCs or ABC's)

  1. (US, usually plural only, uncountable, countable) The alphabet. [First attested from around (1150 to 1350).][1]
    Do you know your ABC? (U.S.: Do you know your ABCs?)
  2. (obsolete, poetry) A type of poem in which the lines start with the letters of the alphabet in order. [Attested from around (1350 to 1470) until the mid 17th century.][1]
  3. (obsolete) A primer for teaching the Latin alphabet and first elements of reading. [Attested from around (1350 to 1470) until the mid 17th century.][1]
  4. The fundamentals of any subject. [First attested in the mid 16th century.][1]
    the ABC of finance
  5. (poker) A straightforward, uniform playing style, often focusing on betting for value, folding weak hands, and avoiding bluffing.
  6. (Britain, rail transport) A British alphabetized guidebook for trains and their stations.
Derived termsEdit
See alsoEdit

Naming an alphabet after the initial letters is common; compare:

Etymology 2Edit



ABC (countable and uncountable, plural ABCs)

  1. (emergency medicine) Initialism of airway, breathing and circulation: a mnemonic for the systematic approach to the immediate treatment of critically ill or injured patients.
  2. (US) Initialism of alcoholic beverage control.
    • 2011, Richard A. McGowan, “State-Controlled Liquor Stores I: Pennsylvania”, in Privatize This? Assessing the Opportunities and Costs of Privatization, Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, →ISBN, page 89:
      Pennsylvania is one of 18 alcoholic beverage control states, commonly known as “ABC states.” In an ABC state, the state government controls the sale and distribution of various alcoholic beverages, depending on state law.
  3. Initialism of American-born Chinese.
  4. Initialism of Australian-born Chinese.
    • 2004, Wenche Ommundsen, “Cultural Citizenship in Diaspora: A Study of Chinese Australia”, in Robbie B.H. Goh; Shawn Wong, editors, Asian Diasporas: Cultures, Indentity, Representations, Hong Kong University Press, →ISBN, page 79:
      Many argue, with justice, that the differences between the various groups of Chinese-Australians are such that it is impossible to speak in terms of a "cultural identity" common to them all (Ang 2001). On the other hand, the mainstream culture is rarely capable of making such distinctions: in the eyes of most Australians, there is little difference between an ABC (Australian-born Chinese), an ethnic Chinese from Vietnam, or a mainlander.
  5. (business management) Initialism of activity-based costing.
    • 2008, Gary Dessler, Jean Phillips, “Planning and Controlling Now: Controlling”, in Managing Now, Houghton Mifflin Company, →ISBN, page 222:
      Activity-based costing is a powerful control tool. With ABC, the manager can access all departments and monitor the costs associated with any activity he or she wants to control.
  6. (climbing) Initialism of advance base camp.
    • 1999, Harish Kapadia, “Accident and Rescue in the Nanda Devi Sanctuary”, in Across Peaks & Passes in Kumaun Himalaya, New Delhi: Indus Publishing Company, →ISBN, page 69:
      Boga and Subhash with Sherpa Nim Dorje and Kedar Singh left early to open a route to advance base camp. [] They proceeded south along the left bank of the glacier. They could avoid the moraines by climbing the slopes near the bank. It was a long march and they established ABC at 4877 m on a small open rocky ground.
  7. (biochemistry) Initialism of ATP-binding cassette.
    • 2008, Gerd Schmitz, “Sterol Transporters”, in Stefan Offermanns; Walter Rosenthal, editors, Encyclopedia of Molecular Pharmacology, volume 1, 2nd edition, Springer, →ISBN, page 1157:
      ABC-transporters are multispan membrane proteins that mediate the active uptake or efflux of specific substrates across various biological membrane systems. A functional ABC-transporter protein usually consists of two transmembrane domains and two ABCs.
  8. (immunology, medicine) Initialism of antigen-binding capacity.
  9. (medicine) Initialism of aneurysmal bone cyst.
    • 2013, Georges Y. El-Khoury, “Tumors/Miscellaneous: Aneurysmal bone cyst (ABC)”, in D. Lee Bennett; Georges Y. El-Khoury, editors, Pearls and Pitfalls in Musculoskeletal Imaging: Variants and Other Difficult Diagnoses, Cambridge University Press, →ISBN, page 219:
      In the long bones, spine, and flat bones, the majority of aneurysmal bone cysts (ABCs) are eccentrically located whereas in the short tubular bones they are usually central in location. [] About 15% of all giant cell tumors have cystic areas that resemble ABC, and in about one third of all ABCs a pre-existing lesion can be identified.
  10. (medicine) Initialism of adenoid basal carcinoma.
Derived termsEdit
See alsoEdit
  • (airway, breathing and circulation): ABCD, CAB
  • (American-born Chinese): CBC

Proper nounEdit


  1. (television) Initialism of American Broadcasting Company: an American commercial broadcast television network founded in 1943.
  2. (radio, television) Initialism of Australian Broadcasting Corporation. [From 1983.]
  3. (historical, radio) Initialism of Australian Broadcasting Company. [Founded in 1924.]
  4. (historical, radio, television) Initialism of Australian Broadcasting Commission. [Founded in 1932.]
  5. (Japan, radio, television) Initialism of Asahi Broadcasting Corporation.
  6. (finance) Initialism of Agricultural Bank of China.
  7. (publishing) Initialism of Audit Bureau of Circulations.
  8. (Britain, historical) Initialism of Aerated Bread Company; also A.B.C.
  9. (aviation) Initialism of Advance Booking Charter.
  10. (historical, basketball) Initialism of Asian Basketball Confederation.
    • 2013 August 10, Gilas Pilipinas, “Looking back: When PH ruled Asian basketball”, in Rappler:
      The first was the Asian Games, held every 4 years, and the Asian Basketball Confederation (ABC), held every 2 years.
    • 2017 January 15, Ray Roquero, “Hero of '67 ABC”, in Business Mirror:
      The most memorable championship of his life, the 1967 ABC (now Fiba Asia), was also the most dramatic for the Philippines in the entire 1960s.
    • 2017 August 16, “Australia, NZ slug it out for FIBA Asia Cup crown”, in Asia Pacific Report:
      The now FIBA Asia Cup was previously called as the FIBA Asia Championships and the older Asian Basketball Confederation (ABC) Championships.
    • 2018 April 5, Gerry Ramos, Sports Interactive Network Philippines:
      Former PBA players pay final respects to Danny Florencio in his final journey home But Florencio would cement his place in local basketball history as the hero in the Philippines’ dramatic 83-80 win over South Korea for the 1967 Asian Basketball Confederation (ABC) Championship (now known as the FIBA-Asia).
  11. Initialism of Santo André, São Bernardo do Campo and São Caetano do Sul: satellite cities around the city of São Paulo that form the most important industrial area in Brazil.
  12. (US, rail transport) Initialism of Atlanta, Birmingham and Coast Railroad.
  13. Initialism of The American Book Center: an English-language bookstore in Amsterdam founded in 1972.
    • 2009 June 8, Derbhile Dromey, “10 best bookshops in the world”, in Irish Independent:
      The American Book Center in Amsterdam is home to one of the largest collections of English literature in continental Europe. Its rickety shelves, spread over four floors, are crammed with American masterpieces from the likes of Hemmingway and Flannery O’Connor. If non-fiction is more your buzz, there are dozens of lavishly illustrated books on subjects such as art and design. ABC also runs The Treehouse, a series of events designed to nourish literary souls from the roots upwards.
    • 2011 March 7, Caitlin Rung, “Marblehead storyteller Judith Black goes international”, in Boston Globe:
      In addition to sharing American-style storytelling with audiences throughout Finland and France, including a featured presentation at the ELSA conference in Paris this month, Marblehead storyteller Judith Black will be helping to organize and host a story slam at ABC Treehouse, an institution that promotes and supports intercultural exploration in Amsterdam.
    • 2014 January 26, Ana McGinley, “From tea to e-readers: English bookshops in the Netherlands”, in Dutch News:
      The American Book Center – a part of Amsterdam's book scene for 41 years – has embraced the latest in book technology. Lynn Kaplanian Buller has been involved with the ABC almost since its launch in 1972, adding a second store in The Hague in 1976.
See alsoEdit


ABC (not comparable)

  1. (weaponry) Initialism of atomic, biological and chemical: the three main categories of weapons of mass destruction.
  2. (slang, of a piece of chewing gum) Initialism of already been chewed.
    • 2010, Leverda Watkins, Pinnacle of Faith, Xlibris, →ISBN, page 165:
      She'd chew the gum until she was finished with it for the day and store it in a tiny box in the refrigerator until she wanted another chew. If I accidentally threw out her gum, she was able to find someone else's ABC gum (already been chewed).
  3. (medicine, of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma) Initialism of activated B-cell-like.
See alsoEdit
  • (atomic, biological and chemical): NBC, CBRN
  • (activated B-cell-like): GCB



  1. (wine) Initialism of anything but Chardonnay: a backlash against Chardonnay wine, seen as ubiquitous.
    • 1997 March, Ron Loutherback, “Beyond the Label: The ABCs of white wine”, in Orange Coast, volume 23, number 3, page 168:
      He thought he was up-to-date on all the latest wine lingo until a longtime wine writer returned his sample request card with a bold, hand-written note on it that stated, “Send me all samples—ABC!” ¶ “ABC” threw my friend for a loop. When he called me, I translated the cryptic phrase—ABC is winespeak for “Anything But Chardonnay.”
  2. (medicine) Initialism of abstinence, be faithful, use a condom: a sex education policy developed in response to the epidemic of HIV/AIDS in Africa.
    • 2014, Daniel Jordan Smith, “Introduction”, in AIDS Doesn't Show Its Face: Inequality, Morality, and Social Change in Nigeria, Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, →ISBN, page 15:
      A final example of the iatrogenic effects of international public interventions is the impact on condom use that resulted from the “ABC” (Abstinence, Be Faithful, Use Condoms) approach to AIDS prevention, which has dominated programmatic efforts in Nigeria since about 2000. The President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), created under US President George W. Bush's administration, promoted a conservative approach to AIDS prevention through its ABC messages, which were (1) abstinence is the only true prevention; (2) if one is in a sexual relationship, stay faithful to one partner; and (3) if one can't do either, use condoms.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Lesley Brown (editor), The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, 5th edition (Oxford University Press, 2003 [1933], →ISBN), page 3



Proper nounEdit


  1. Associació Bíblica de Catalunya, a Catalonian bible club


Alternative formsEdit


  • IPA(key): /abeseː/, [æb̥eˈseːˀ]


ABC c (singular definite ABC'en, plural indefinite ABC'er)

  1. ABC (a primer for teaching the Latin alphabet and first elements of reading; the rudiments of any subject)


Further readingEdit


Alternative formsEdit


ABC n (genitive ABC)

  1. ABC, alphabet
    • 1868, Friedrich Schmitt, Neues System zur Erlernung der deutschen Aussprache nebst neuer Eintheilung des ABC, München, book title:
      Neues System zur Erlernung der deutschen Aussprache nebst neuer Eintheilung des ABC

Derived termsEdit



  1. (weaponry) NBC. Initialism of "Atomare, Biologische und Chemische"



ABC m (plural ABCs)

  1. Alternative form of á-bê-cê



ABC (plural ABCs)

  1. Alternative form of aw-bay-say