Grammar What Is the Abbreviation for International? |
The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation

What Is the Abbreviation for International?

Let’s say you want to describe something that involves two or more nations, but you don’t have a lot of character space. How would you abbreviate the word International?

Let’s get to the bottom of that.

Different Ways to Abbreviate International

International is an unusual word in that it appears often in writing but doesn’t have an established standardized abbreviation. In other words, you might see it shortened in different ways.

The most common abbreviations for international are int., intl., and int’l (or Int., Intl., and Int’l if the abbreviation is part of a proper noun).


Rocco Sococco Int. specializes in cushy socks for athletic shoes.

Feline Friends Intl. released its new guidelines for cat diets.

Morgan said the tickets for her int’l tour are on sale.

Each of them could be valid within its particular context. So how should you decide which to use in your writing?

Considering Which Abbreviation of International to Use

Because any of the abbreviations for international could technically be considered correct, how can you choose the right one? You can apply a couple of criteria to guide your decision.

If you are referring to a well-known group, such as Amnesty International, you should follow the organization’s conventions for spelling, abbreviations, and punctuation. These will often be listed on their website or in an accompanying style guide if one is available.

If you’re not referring to a specific organization such as Amnesty International, what does your editor, teacher, or professor prefer for abbreviating international? If a preference has been stated, you can simply stay with that.

Should neither approach lead to an answer, you can decide for yourself which abbreviation you prefer. Which one looks best to you? Because all are correct, you have the room to choose.

At the same time, you should avoid inventing your own abbreviation. When writers start using their own versions such as intrl, it can only lead to more disorder of details, as well as difficulty for readers.

In sum, the ambiguity around the abbreviation of international may sometimes call upon you to make the style call. In deciding, you can choose one of the options we’ve discussed here, ensure it’s proper for the context, and then be consistent with it in your writing.

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