A schoolmaster I had in the 1950s, who taught Latin together with Religious Instruction and was himself an ordained priest of Anglo-Catholic persuasion, would always insist on writing the abbreviation for saint as S.

Moreover he demanded it from his pupils so that St Paul had to be S.Paul etc. His argument was that he did not want them to be confused with streets. However street is most often abbreviated Str.

This was not his only eccentricity. He had many oddnesses, not least when supervising rugby, when he would often robustly join in the action.

Since I never met anyone, before or since, who abbreviated saint in that way, I am wondering if anyone else ever encountered it?

  • 4
    Paul St. versus St. Paul ... is there much possibility of confusion? – Peter Shor Feb 3 '15 at 19:39
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    I've certainly seen "S." used in Christian writings (but, never, to my recollection, in a "pistle"). But in the US "Street" is almost always abbreviated as "St" (with or without a trailing period). – Hot Licks Feb 3 '15 at 19:53
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    Acronym Finder has street as the word most commonly abbreviated as ST, with saint in only 11th place. Neither is mentioned among the many words S is used to represent. Although Str also has street as the word most commonly thus represented, in my experience, St is far more common. – Edwin Ashworth Feb 3 '15 at 19:57
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    Perhaps the plain S. is the way it is done in Latin. – GEdgar Feb 3 '15 at 19:59
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    He'd have fainted if he'd gone to Bath. There's a St James's St S there. – Edwin Ashworth Feb 3 '15 at 21:37

To answer the question(s) asked by the title:

When you want to abbreviate Saint, write "St." ("S." is uncommon.)
When you want to abbreviate Street, also write "St." ("Str." is uncommon.)

When you see "St.", read it in context.

To answer the question asked at the end:

Yes, I have (probably in Catholic writings).

protected by user140086 Nov 5 '16 at 14:23

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