I'm studying programming, and regular English words are often shortened. For example, "previous" is shortened to "prev", "integer" to "int", "character" to "char" etc.

How do you pronounce the short versions? Is it char like in "charcoal" or char like in "character", sounding like "care"?

Edit: why I think this question is not the same as "how to pronounce programmers' word char", my question was more in the general sense on how to think about those pronunciations, as only the case of "char" is not my only concern.

  • 3
    Possible duplicate of How to pronounce the programmer's abbreviation "char", but the most important takeaway is that there is often no single agreed-upon pronunciation of such abbreviations; different people or organizations may have different conventions, and it is up to you whether to conform or combat.
    – choster
    Nov 9, 2015 at 16:59
  • There is the option of reading out the unabbreviated word. If the actual abbreviation is needed, it could be spelled out. Nov 9, 2015 at 17:15
  • 2
    Just like other English words, they're pronounced in a way you can't figure out from the spelling. Nov 9, 2015 at 18:09
  • "Prev" would be pronounced "previous". "Char" is pronounced "care" or "car" or "char" (as in "charcoal"). "Int" is pronounced "int". "Bool" is pronounced to rhyme with "pool". "JSON" is pronounced either like the name "Jason" or like "jay-Sahn" (though the latter always makes me wince). "Var" is pronounced to rhyme with "jar".
    – Hot Licks
    Nov 9, 2015 at 18:24
  • 1
    Have fun with Hungarian notation.
    – TimR
    Nov 9, 2015 at 18:27

2 Answers 2


I am a computer scientist, and I think that some conventions have a lot to do with the group you're working with. With that being said, here are a few notes on what I have observed:

People tend to pronounce short versions of types:

  • char sounds like car
  • int sounds like int (short "i" vowel sound)
  • bool sounds like it does in at the beginning of the full word boolean.

A few other notes on type pronunciation:

  • There isn't a short version of long.
  • ulong is pronounced "you-long"
  • uint sounds like "you-int"

I would like to note that people may switch up between the long and short versions when speaking. For example, if I'm talking about code with a friend, I might switch between saying int and integer. In formal settings, I personally tend to consistently use the long versions.

In regards to other things that are not types (i.e. a variable named prev for previous), pronunciation may depend on the word and the person. I'd personally pronounce that specific one as prev with a short "e" vowel sound ("eh"). I'm guessing that's how many other people would also pronounce it.

I hope that helps.


In programming, the abbreviation's spelling is of paramount importance. The variable name "prev" may stand for "previous", but that doesn't mean you can use an alternate abbreviation like "prv" in its place. Usually, the pronunciation matches the abbreviation as closely as possible, not the word is abbreviates. For example, "prev" would be pronounced /pri:v/ or /prɛv/.

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