The Abbreviation for Department: What Is It and How Is It Used?

If you want to know the abbreviation for the English word department, you’ve come to the right place! Our handy guide will explore the abbreviations for this word, as well as some definitions, history, examples of the word in context, and more.

Let’s jump right in and discuss the correct abbreviations.

There are several ways to abbreviate department.

  •     Dept.
  •     Dpt.
  •     Depts.


The word department is most commonly abbreviated as dept. The plural form of this abbreviation would be depts. In some cases, such as quick note-taking, the period may be removed to spell dept or depts; however, this is not grammatically correct for official documents and essays.

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What Does Department Mean?

According to, this word can be defined as follows: 

“Department [ dih-pahrt-muhnt


  1. a distinct part of anything arranged in divisions; a division of a complex whole or organized system.
  2. one of the principal branches of a governmental organization.
  3. (initial capital letter) one of the principal divisions of the U.S. federal government, headed by a secretary who is a member of the president’s cabinet.
  4. a division of a business enterprise dealing with a particular area of activity.
  5. a section of a retail store selling a particular class or kind of goods.
  6. one of the sections of a school or college dealing with a particular field of knowledge.
  7. one of the large districts into which certain countries, as France, are divided for administrative purposes.
  8. a division of official business, duties, or functions.
  9. a sphere or province of activity, knowledge, or responsibility.
  10. (usually initial capital letter) U.S. Army. (formerly) a large geographical division of the U.S. or its possessions as divided for military and defense purposes.”

Synonyms for Department

  •     branch
  •     bureau
  •     section
  •     unit
  •     segment

The History of the Word

According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, the origin of the word department can be traced back to the 1500’s, when the word meant, “a ceasing, ending, going away, or act of leaving.” It developed from the twelfth century Old French word departement, which meant “division, sharing out, divorce, or parting,” and the late Latin word departire, which meant “to divide.”

The French word department also eventually came to mean “a group of people,” and it was soon adopted by the English in the late 1700’s to refer to the same thing.

When to Use the Abbreviation

Often, this abbreviation deals with businesses or organizations. As a result, you’ll find it used in many business, government, and organizational documents. Also, it’s common to see this abbreviation on signs or plaques for different offices or buildings. For instance, you may see this abbreviation on signage within a fire department.

This abbreviation is not commonly used in general prose, and the word is not ever shortened in speech. One may see this abbreviation in newspapers or other publication headlines, document headlines, or business cards—anyplace where brevity and space are a concern.

Examples of the Word and Abbreviations in Context

  1. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (abbreviated as “HHS”) is tasked with protectong the health of all Americans in the United States.
  2. The advisory committee had a lot to say about the condition of the department, and the outcome was not very good.
  3. As I pulled up to the vague and unassuming warehouse, I notice the plaque beside the door immediately. It read, “Dept. of the National Institute for Mental Health” in big bold letters. 
  4. I thumbed through the pamphlet they gave us to study before our first day on the job in the packaging department. It had a bunch of information that I didn’t understand about everything from our health insurance plan to the consumer price index (CPI).
  5. His business card’s big, bold title read, “Assistant Secretary – Dept. of Human Resources – Grapefruit LLC.” 
  6. The Disabilities Act affected the FBI and its disabled employees substantially in all departments, including the Advisory Council. Civil rights were very important to the bureau, and our chief information officer did his best to explain the law to us.
  7. Economic cooperation is a complicated concept, and few people in my department could define it.
  8. The executive officer of the health services department treated us all to a holiday bonus.
  9. The Department of Labor was swamped with inquiries. The New York strike had gone global, and nobody knew what to do.
  10.  Luckily for Amanda, the Department of Education in her country dedicated grants to promising students who wished to be in college. She found a few grants right on the FAQ page of the national website.
  11. The dept. of financial services was put in place to help full-time employees get benefits such as insurance, bonuses, overtime, etc.
  12. The Department of Agriculture is changing rapidly in our current tech-focused climate. In fact, there are many automation solutions that the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration has officially endorsed for the benefit of workers.
  13. An MOU, or memorandum of understanding, is a kind of agreement between two or more parties, departments, or other entities.
  14. Dept. Memo: File your payment slips with Martha from 12/24-01/04.
  15. Do you work for one of the depts. within the Internal Revenue Service now? If so, how does it compare to your job with the Inspector General?
  16. The Department of Homeland Security was an excellent place to work in Raleigh, North Carolina, and I was excited to start the fiscal year there.