Acronyms in Math

You probably use a lot of acronyms when you write a proof, let it be in an exam or a lecture. And let’s face it. Some of them are very popular and easy to understand:

  • WLOG: Without Loss Of Generality
  • TFAE: The Following Are Equivalent

You have probably seen QED in some texts and even used it, perhaps. But do you know its meaning? Some people joke that it means Quite Easily Done! Actually, it means Quod Erat Demonstrandum, which in Latin, loosely means “that which was to be demonstrated”.

Then, of course, there are the millions of acronyms, such as RTP, TST, ETP, which all mean “to show that”, “enough to show that”, etc.

One acronym I read today in West’s Introduction to Graph Theory is TONCAS. It means The Obvious Necessary Conditions Are Sufficient!


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