What is Full Form of BC, AD, CE

By Esha Dhawan|Updated : June 22nd, 2022

You must have come across the terms BC, AD and CE quite a few times in history textbooks as they are frequently used abbreviations. These terms are mostly used in the context of history and give an idea of the date and time of an incident. But have you ever wondered what they mean? We are here to solve your query.

BC Full Form

BC is a term from the Julian and Gregorian calendars that stands for ‘Before Christ’ or before the birth of Christ. Such dates were used in scholarly writings of 17th century across different cultures. This concept is unique as it does not pretend to know the birth year of Christ, which is unknown. It only denotes an era centuries before the period of Christ began.

AD Full Form

The term AD stands for ‘Anno Domini’, which means “in the year of the Lord,” and comes from medieval Latin. Simply put, AD represents the period years after the birth of Christ. 

CE full form

The abbreviation CE stands for ‘Common era’ and is commonly used by the Jews and other non-Christian communities to refer to the same system. The phrase ‘common era’ first appeared in 1708 in the English language and soon became popular when used by the Jewish religious experts in the mid-19th century. Many people consider this phrase more inclusive to non-Christian folks. Another term from the Gregorian calendar is BCE which means Before Common Era. 


What are the full forms of BC, AD, and CE?

The full forms of the abbreviations BC, AD, and CE are Before Christ, Anno Domini and Common Era. These terms are a part of a dating system known as the Julian and Gregorian calendars that use the birth of Jesus Christ as a concept of counting years. 

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  • Abbreviations like BC, AD and CE are used as a dating method to denote the period before or after the birth of Jesus Christ. BC full form is Before Christ and it is used to label the era decades before Christ was born.

  • Both AD and BC are used to count the years with respect to the birth of Jesus Christ. The terms are standardised under the ancient Julian and Gregorian calendars and the AD and BC full forms are Anno Domini and Before Christ respectively. While BC denotes the period before the birth of Christ, AD denotes the decades after it. 

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