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Obviously, when I go to Google this or search virtually anywhere I get a list of state abbreviations.

But I'm curious, what would the proper way be to abbreviate the actual word state?

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You wouldn't abbreviate it. – JLG Oct 18 '12 at 22:15
@JLG cf. answers below. – Kris Oct 19 '12 at 5:12
Why do you think there is one? And why do you think there is a "proper" one? – Colin Fine Feb 17 '13 at 22:15
@ColinFine Why does it matter? It was a label for a user input field in a program where I was limited to using 2 letters... several months ago. I am a programmer, not an English professor. Hence the question. – mburn Feb 18 '13 at 15:33
In general there isn't a conventional (let alone a 'proper') way to abbreviate an arbitrary word. Your question implied that you thought there was. – Colin Fine Feb 18 '13 at 17:19
up vote 4 down vote accepted

I would recommend either "ST" or "St", without a period (to avoid confusion with the abbreviation for "street"). I live in Washington (the state, not the city), and "Washington St" wouldn't strike me as odd if I read it in a magazine or newspaper. It doesn't look like there's a very rigidly defined standard on this.

But then, NBC seems to like "Washington St."

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But isn't a period required in order to indicate that it is an abbreviation? My Oxford Dictionary of Abbreviations lists "st." as an accepted abbreviation for "state". – w3d Oct 18 '12 at 22:45
Why is that not Washington Street? – Henry Oct 18 '12 at 22:52
@Henry: Well, it could be. Abbreviations can sometimes introduce ambiguity. – w3d Oct 18 '12 at 22:55
NY, NY being the classic example. – Merk Oct 19 '12 at 1:54
I've lived in WA too - Have never encountered Washington St, except when referring to a street. It's just WA, no "st". If you wanted to abbrev might as well go all the way. – Blessed Geek Oct 19 '12 at 7:22

In the US, the word state is generally not abbreviated. When used as parts of acronyms, it is simply referenced as S

NYS (New York State)
LSU (Louisiana State University)
SUNY (State University of New York)

Use of ST or St with or without periods is likely to result in confusion with street.

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I think your examples are inappropriate/ not relevant: 'State' not as part of an abbreviation, but on its own. – Kris Oct 19 '12 at 5:13
@Kris In what context would you use state as an abbreviation on its own? The only use I can think of is on a form or chart, and in those contexts, three extra letters is a small price to avoid confusion. Maybe in a column to the right of CITY, ST might be acceptable, but probably not elsewhere. – bib Oct 19 '12 at 18:56

I've seen mailing addresses use "St Hwy" to mean "State Highway"

Consider this possibility...

10152 St Hwy 76


609 South St

"St" can mean State or Street

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