Serbian Language: 12 Must-know Serbian Abbreviations

Orange sheets of paper on a green board form a chat bubble with three crumpled papers.

Have you ever texted a Serbian friend and found yourself perplexed by those cryptic three-letter words that don’t seem to mean anything? Are those typos? And how weird is the Serbian language? Without a doubt, you’ve bumped into Serbian abbreviations (skraćenice).

Of course, life’s busy, and who has the time to type entire words? Nobody, IMO. But where does that leave you? Texting in Serbian is hard enough as it is. And the fact that Serbs use abbreviations like there’s no tomorrow certainly doesn’t help.

That’s why we compiled a list of the most common Serbian abbreviations, from formal ones to those you might get while texting a friend. Take a look!

Formal Serbian Abbreviations

Here are the most common formal Serbian abbreviations. Since they’re a part of the standard language, you’ll often see them in books and magazines. Of course, you can use them in emails or a business setting. But there’s no reason not to use these abbreviations when texting your friends, as well.

1. itd. (etc.)

Short for: i tako dalje (et cetera)

Itd. is short for — i tako dalje. It means — et cetera —  or — and so on. You can use it in lists when there are more items you didn’t mention. Here’s an example:

  • Kupila sam mleko, sok, hleb, itd.

I bought milk, juice, bread, etc.

2. tj. (i.e.)

Short for: to jest (that is)

Tj. is short for to jest. It’s equivalent to — i.e.—  or — that is — in English. So how can you use it?

There are two slightly different usages. You can use it to specify something in more detail. For example:

  • Zvaću te kasnije, tj. kad budem na pauzi.

I’ll call you later, that is when I’m on my break.

Or you can use it to correct or alter what you said before, like in this example:

  • Vidimo se kod parka, tj. prekoputa parka.

See you at the park, I mean across the street from the park.

3. tzv. (so-called)

Short for: takozvano (so-called)

This one can also be used in two different ways. In the first case, use it to introduce an unfamiliar phrase.

  • Sve više ljudi pati od tzv. sindroma karpalnog tunela.

More and more people suffer from the so-called carpal tunnel syndrome.

You can also use it to show that a word used to describe someone or something is unsuitable or untrue. For example:

  • Moj tzv. prijatelj mi je oteo devojku.

My so-called friend stole my girlfriend.

4. npr. (e.g.)

Short for: Na primer (for example)

As the word suggests, npr. introduces an example.

  • Hoćeš da idemo na pecanje ove nedelje? Npr. u sredu?

Want to go fishing this week? For example, on Wednesday?

A young man looking at his smartphone.
Kad ćemo u bleju? Možemo u petak, npr. ☕

5. br. (no.)

Short for: broj (number)

Use it for any kind of number; phone number, apartment number, you name it. For instance:

  • Daj mi br. onog zgodnog dečka.

Give me the (phone) no. of that handsome guy.

Informal Serbian Abbreviations

On the less formal side, you’ll see these abbreviations in text messages or on the Internet, especially among the younger crowd. Although they are generally accepted and easy to understand, avoid them in formal situations. In other words, use the following abbreviations when texting your pals, but steer clear when emailing your boss.

1. vrv (prob)

Short for: verovatno (probably)

If you’re not sure of something, but it’s probable, vrv is the perfect abbreviation to use. Imagine you have a date, but you’re running late. You can text your date:

  • Vrv ću kasniti malo. Izvini. (I’ll prob be a bit late. Sorry.)

2. odg (reply)

Short for: odgovor, odgovoriti (reply)

Another no-brainer, odg. simply means — to reply.

  • Izvini, nisam stigla da ti odg.

Sorry, I didn’t have time to reply.

Three girls sitting on the sidewalk, using their smartphones.
Još ti nije odg? Vrv nije video poruku 😅

3. ozb (Srsly)

Short for: ozbiljno (seriously)

Ozb is a handy abbreviation to show surprise. If you were supposed to hang out with your BFF, but she texts you to say she caught a cold, you can say: “ozb?”.

  • BFF: Izvini, ne mogu u grad večeras. Prehladila sam se. (Sorry, I can’t go out tonight. I caught a cold.)
  • You: Ozb? Nema veze, odmaraj. (Srsly? No worries, get some rest.)

4. stv (rly)

Short for: stvarno (really)

Stv, much like ozb, can suggest you’re surprised. For example:

  • Friend: Položila sam ispit. (I passed the exam.)
  • You: Stv? Čestitam! (Rly? Congrats!)

Also, you can use it for emphasis:

  • Friend: Izvini, ogrebala sam ti auto. (Sorry, I scratched your car.)
  • You: Stv ne mogu da verujem! (I rly can’t believe it!)

5. Nzm/Nznm (Idk)

Short for: Ne znam (I don’t know)

This phrase is self-explanatory; use it whenever you don’t know something. For example:

  • You: Kad počinje čas srpskog? (When does the Serbian class start?)
  • Friend: Nzm, pitaj nekog drugog. (Idk, ask someone else.)

 

Another example:

  • Your grandma: Kad ćeš da se udaš? (Whan will you get married?)
  • You: Nznm i ne zanima me. (Idk and I don’t care.)

Luckily, Serbian grandmas usually can’t text.

6. Npm (no idea)

Short for: Nemam pojma (I have no idea)

Use this one to express cluelessness or that you have no idea what to do in a particular situation.

  • Npm šta da obučem večeras na dejt.

I have no idea what to wear for tonight’s date.

7. brt (bro)

Short for: brate (brother)

Guys often use brt to refer to each other (similar to — bro —  in English). Even though it’s short for brate (brother), it’s common among close (guy) friends. In other words, most people don’t use it to refer to their actual brother.

  • Brt, ‘oćemo u neku bleju večeras?

Bro, wanna hang out tonight?

However, it can also be a filler word. In that case, you don’t use it to refer to a person but to emphasize your point or express strong emotion, like in this example:

  • Brt, kako sam se umorila.

Jeez, I’m so tired.

A chat between two friends in the Serbian language.
Brt 🙂

Keep Texting in the Serbian Language

Now that you know the essential abbreviations in the Serbian language, those texts won’t look so daunting. Not only will you be able to understand your friends’ messages, but you can also use them to up your texting game. Not to mention you’ll save tons of time. Srsly.

And if you want to spend that time learning real-life Serbian language skills, check out our Online Serbian Language Courses. Choose your level and access the lessons whenever you want!

2 Responses

  1. Thanks for this – it’s really interesting. Please do you know what the abbreviation ‘Ik’ means? It’s from a Serbian text.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *