Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I came to this question after I saw a Facebook post about someone who passed away with everyone posting rip as a comment. Wikipedia tells me the following about the abbreviation of RIP:

"Rest in peace" (Latin: Requiescat in pace) is a short epitaph or idiomatic expression wishing eternal rest and peace to someone who has died. The expression typically appears on headstones, often abbreviated as "RIP".

Possibly it is just me, but is it really appropriate to write RIP to express grief? It seems not decent to use an abbreviation in this case—is there not enough time to write it at least out?

Granted, after all the three letters do not root from modern age and internet like LOL, but have a historic background, plus it eases international verbal communication as it is with the word OK.

share|improve this question
    
When carving letters into stones, it makes a huge difference. So, maybe the origin of the use of this abbreviation lies in engraving. –  Dohn Joe Jan 3 '13 at 13:50
2  
Is it appropriate? Yes. However, it would be more courteous and polite to spell it out or even use the latin version. –  spiceyokooko Jan 3 '13 at 13:52
1  
While the sentiment (Rest in Peace) may be appropriate, I am bothered to see it abbreviated to "RIP" in places, like FaceBook that don't limit the number of characters one can use. Personally, (and because this is really subjective, I've voted to close), I would think if a person is moved enough to mention a death, they could use something more heartfelt - or at least, spell out "Rest in Peace" - but that's me. :-) –  Kristina Lopez Jan 3 '13 at 18:48
add comment

closed as primarily opinion-based by MετάEd, TrevorD, Hellion, Andrew Leach, Rory Alsop Aug 30 '13 at 14:44

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

4 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

I wouldn't really consider this an expression of grief. Rather, I'd consider it an abbreviated gesture of respect.

If a close friend or relative dies, I feel grief. I might be shocked, saddened, and moved to tears. I might feel angry about the death. I might feel distracted by the loss. These are all manifestations of grief.

On the other hand, if a celebrity dies – someone I may have heard of, but was never personally acquainted with – I might pause for a moment and think of the contributions that individual made to society at large, or to their profession. In that case, RIP serves as a closing thought, a benediction of sorts. Obviously, RIP stands for "Rest in peace," but in that context, it could be regarded as shorthand for a slightly lengthier, "May he rest in peace."

share|improve this answer
5  
Requiescat is a subjunctive form and, in this context, expresses a wish. –  Barrie England Jan 3 '13 at 15:13
add comment

On headstones, RIP has been the usual form for centuries, given the limitations of stonecarving. It's slightly more respectful in typing to use R.I.P. (e.g. here), but either way is perfectly acceptable. I would never use rip myself, but in the right context it would at least show sympathy.

share|improve this answer
    
Sounds reasonable, but why wouldn't you use it yourself? –  platzhirsch Jan 3 '13 at 14:39
1  
@platzhirsch: the possibility that rip might be the word. RIP is less ambiguous, and R.I.P. quite clear. –  TimLymington Jan 3 '13 at 15:12
add comment

Feeling grief is a personal thing. Different people express their grief different ways. Some like to do it openly, while others might withdraw and do it in private. Some feel grief without mourning, some mourn without feeling grief; some shed tears, some lament, some pray, etc.

When it comes to RIP, it's commonly used on headstones and doesn't really express grief but rather is a sign of respect and sympathy. That said, I have seen the the abbreviation used on various internet forums and social networking websites. In emails and messages it's commonly used after the main message, similar to email signatures.

share|improve this answer
add comment

In my humble opinion, when and wherever possible taking the lazy way out is never the route to go. Therefore, writing either "Rest in peace..." or "Rest In Peace" would be my choice(s).

share|improve this answer
add comment

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.