Re: What is CC ?? - Steven J. Coker
Subject: Re: What is CC ??
From: Steven J. Coker
Date: February 08, 1999

Lynn S Teague wrote:
> When taking typing many many years ago, I was told that cc means "courtesy
> copy."

The term "courtesy copy" as a meaning for cc is of recent origin. When office
copy machines started becoming widespread in the 1960's the use of carbon copies
began to decrease.  When wordprocessors and Personal Computers came on the
scene, carbon paper became rarely used.  But, the use of the term cc has

In the 1800's and earlier, making a copy of a written document took considerable
effort.  It wasn't like running them off on a copier.  People seldom made
"courtesy copies" of documents.  They made copies only for serious needs which
warranted the effort, and expense, required.

The term cc was used mostly in typewritten materials. It was also used for
handwritten documents, but not as often.  It indicated that a copy of the
document was made using carbon paper and that the carbon copy was sent to the
people listed.  Customs often outlive their original context.  While for almost
a century the term stood for Carbon Copy, that meaning no longer makes sense now
that carbon paper isn't used.  So, the new meaning of "courtesy copy" has been
adopted. It is interesting that in this case the abbreviation existed before the
term that it abbreviates.  

When I took typing in 1966-67 the term still meant carbon copy.  I use it now in
email and office documents without any use of carbon paper.  Therefore, to make
it have meaning, we say it stands for courtesy copy.  Of course it might make
more sense if we simply changed the abbreviation to something else like cp for
"copy provided" or cf for "copy furnished" or ct for "copy to" or maybe just
wrote the word copy.  


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