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What is (or are?) the suggested abbreviation(s) for the United States of America in Spanish? I've seen:

  • E.E.U.U.
  • EE.UU.
  • EEUU
  • EUA
  • USA

(And only the last two actually makes any sense to me!)

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I've seen EUA in Catalan, so it's possible that some native Catalan speakers would carry it over into Castilian. –  Peter Taylor Dec 9 '11 at 21:14
    
USA Can't possibly make sense because United States of America is english, not spanish. –  Petruza Dec 31 '11 at 2:40
    
Petruza: Spanish borrows many words, phrases, and abbreviations from English. –  Flimzy Dec 31 '11 at 7:52
    
@Flimzy: The original poster asked for an acronym in spanish. For an acronym to belong to the spanish language it has to have initials of spanish words. U.S.A. is not spanish language, it's english, and the original poster asked for spanish, and actually the whole site is about spanish. –  Petruza May 18 '12 at 20:44
    
@Petruza: I am the original poster :) Even so, it's not unheard of for a language to use acronyms of foreign words. So I think it's fair to ask. –  Flimzy May 18 '12 at 21:05
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3 Answers 3

up vote 22 down vote accepted

In spanish there is a rule for plurals of nouns that involve countries or organizations.

That means that when the word is plural there must be a double initial or a repetition of itself. This means the following:

Estados unidos = EEUU

Now,

EE = Estados, E = Estado (same with UU)

E.E.U.U. is incorrect because it gives the interpretation that the name is a four worded noun.

The correct forms are the following:

EE.UU. (Estados (EE) Unidos (UU) )

EEUU (Estados Unidos)

The initials in english (USA) are not accepted in reference to the US.

The rule of the Double initial follows the overall rules of writing of abreviatures in spanish: (According to Rincón Castellano)

Plural de las abreviaturas

Según sea su método de obtención, las abreviaturas forman el plural de los modos siguientes:

a) Si se obtuvieron por truncamiento, se añade una -s final: págs. por páginas. Constituye una excepción el plural de las abreviaturas cent. (centavo, centésimo) y cént. (céntimo), que es cts. y no *cents. ni *cénts. En caso de truncamiento máximo, esto es, en abreviaturas formadas por una sola letra, el plural se expresa duplicando dicha letra: ss. por siguientes, vv. por versos, FF. AA. por Fuerzas Armadas, EE. UU. por Estados Unidos.

b) Si se obtuvieron por contracción, se aplican las reglas generales de formación del plural, ya que la abreviatura mantiene las últimas letras de la palabra abreviada. De este modo, se añade al final de la abreviatura la marca de plural que corresponda según su terminación: -s para las terminadas en vocal y -es para las terminadas en consonante: dptos. o deptos. por departamentos, admones. por administraciones. Como excepción, Vd. y Ud. (usted) forman su plural en -s: Vds., Uds. (ustedes). También constituye una excepción el plural de la abreviatura pta., que es pts. (pesetas), aunque se usa frecuentemente la forma regular ptas. El plural de las abreviaturas con letras voladas debe representarse con este mismo tipo de letras: n.os por números, af.mos por afectísimos.

And here are the rules for plurals of initials: (According to Rincón del Castellano.)

Plural de las siglas

Aunque las siglas pueden pluralizarse en la pronunciación ([oenejés] = 'organizaciones no gubernamentales'), en la escritura, el plural de las siglas es invariable, no modifican su forma cuando designan un referente múltiple sino que la indicación de pluralidad se hace mediante las palabras que las introducen: unas ONG, los ISBN, dos PC.

Por ello es recomendable en la escritura introducir siempre la sigla plural con un determinante: Representantes de [algunas, varias] ONG se reunieron en Madrid. Debe evitarse el uso, tomado del inglés, de realizar el plural de las siglas añadiendo una s minúscula, precedida o no de apóstrofo: *PC' s, * ONGs.

The rule that applies here is the plural for abreviatures since EEUU is an abreviation.

Now EUA is not permitted and not widely understood in the Hispanic world. EEUU and EE.UU. is more common than the other forms.

EEUUA is acceptable and as per comments not widely used. I for one have never seen it, and I have lived in Colombia and Ecuador. I don't know about Mexico or Argentina. In Spain they use EE.UU.

Further reading: RAE

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4  
+1 I didn't know about this rule, I mean: double initials for plural nouns... :D –  Alenanno Nov 30 '11 at 23:59
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Is EE.UU. considered more correct than EUA? Is EEUUA acceptable? –  Flimzy Dec 1 '11 at 0:34
    
@Flimzy I've never seen EEUUA before. But there are Google results searching for EEUUA :S. –  dusan Dec 1 '11 at 1:27
    
I learned about this many years ago trying to figure out why Russia was URRSS :) –  belisarius Dec 1 '11 at 1:36
    
@Flimzy EEUUA is acceptable but scarcely used. EUA is not acceptable (it lacks the repetition for plurals) –  belisarius Dec 1 '11 at 1:38
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The way I see it, there is only but one single Spanish speaking country who shares a border with the U.S. and that is Mexico. Just like Americans abbreviate our country with U.S. for short Mexico by the same turn has taken it's cue from Americans and abbreviated the U.S. as E.U., Estados Unidos.

If you are feeling bent out of shape because the word America is left out, then just think about the fact that there is North America, Central America, and also South America. Those three afore-mentioned comprise The afore-mentioned three are known as simply "The Americas" and do not distinguish U.S.A. as the only "America" in the world! Think how offended either South America or Central America feel about thinking USA has exclusive rights to the word America, in fact, in order of habitation, the E.U. is last in line.

South and Central have a longer track record in terms of inhabitants. Therefore, in being heir to all, coming from a Native/America/Mexican/American/Scottish/American, E.U. is the proper term.

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I don't see how this answers the question. Can you maybe flesh out an answer a little more? And maybe go a little lighter on what I suspect could be easily taken as off-topic ranting? :) –  Flimzy Dec 1 '11 at 0:42
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@Flimzy: Roman is indeed answering the question. He said clearly that he thinks E.U. is the proper term. And his opinions are not off-topic ranting: he gives his own reasons for his answer. –  Nicolás Dec 1 '11 at 1:09
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@Nicolás: Perhaps it does provide a minimal answer, but not an authoritative one. And at minimum, the commentary at the end about "Think how offended either South America or Central America feel about thinking USA has exclusive rights to the word America" is off topic. –  Flimzy Dec 1 '11 at 1:26
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@Flimzy: It sounds like Roman is describing the most common abbreviation in Mexican Spanish, and describing why - and if the reasons include sentiments like this, then how could they be off-topic? And given where he's from, I'd tend to say he has some authority on the matter. –  Jefromi Dec 1 '11 at 3:12
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I also know only EEUU and EUA from my experiences in Mexico, I've never seen EU before. –  hippietrail Dec 1 '11 at 8:44
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I always though of the rule of doubling the initials for plural as a little cumbersome, but it's just the way it is.
I've seen it also for Derechos Humanos = DDHH (Human Rights) and Fuerzas Armadas = FFAA (Armed Forces)

At least in Argentina, EEUU is the most used, and I've seen it with all the combinations of dots you listed.
Occasionally I see EUA, but far less common.

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RRHH, Human resources / Recursos Humanos –  user983248 May 16 '12 at 13:36
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