C With a Line Over It: What Does It Mean? (2024)

C With a Line Over It: What Does It Mean? (1)

Have you gotten a prescription or note from a doctor or nurse with a mysterious symbol that looks like "c" on it? What does a c with a line over it mean? Is this some secret doctor code?

We’re here to break it all down for you, and it’s actually simpler than you think! Read this guide to learn all about the meaning behind the c with a line over it medical abbreviation, where the abbreviation comes from, how it’s used, and other important medical abbreviations you should know.

What Does a C With a Line Over It Mean?

The letter "c" with a line over it is a medical abbreviation often used by doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals. The symbol looks like this: c. The c is almost always lower-case.

This symbol actually has a very simple meaning. A c with a line over it just means "with". This abbreviation is often used on patient charts and prescriptions, as well as information or notes written by medical professionals.

Where Did the C With a Line Over It Abbreviation Come From?

Where did the c with a line over it medical abbreviation come from? "With" is a short word, so why don’t doctors just write it out? Doctors and other medical providers use many abbreviations in their work. There are two main reasons for this. First, because doctors and nurses need to do a lot of writing throughout the day (writing prescriptions, filling out patient charts, taking notes, etc.) abbreviations can help them save time, even if the abbreviations are for small words.

Second, abbreviations can make notes or instructions more legible and easy to read. Have you ever heard someone joke about how bad doctors’ handwriting is? It’s a common problem that when a doctor or nurse is scribbling instructions or prescription information, some of their words can be difficult to read. This can cause serious issues if it makes it harder to care for the patient or results in the wrong care being given. Using clear abbreviations can reduce instances of illegible handwriting.

But how did a c with line over it get chosen as the abbreviation for "with"? The symbol c comes from the Latin word cum. While this word is often used as a slang word in modern English, in Latin cum means "with."

Common phrases with this Latin word include graduation honors such as magna cum laude (with great praise) and summa cum laude (with highest praise). That’s where the "c" part comes from, and the line or bar over the top of it was added to differentiate it from the regular alphabet letter.

C With a Line Over It: What Does It Mean? (2)

How Is C With a Line Over It Used?

Now you know that a c with a line over it means "with," but how is it actually used? Basically, anytime you use the word "with" you can just replace it with the symbol!

Here are some examples of ways a doctor or nurse may use this abbreviation.

    • Take medication c water = Take medication with water
    • Recommendation is for surgery c physical therapy to follow = Recommendation is for surgery with physical therapy to follow
    • Refill only c doctor approval = Refill only with doctor approval
    • Symptoms are nausea c vomiting = Symptoms are nausea with vomiting

You’ll most likely see the c symbol used on a prescription you receive, in your patient chart, or in notes or instructions given to you by a doctor or nurse.

What Are Other Common Medical Abbreviations?

Abbreviations are an important and common practice in the medical world. Below is a chart with some other medical abbreviations that are often used. Most of them are related to prescriptions since patients usually see a c with a line over it medical abbreviation on their prescription information.

Some of these abbreviations may be written in all caps, some in all lower-case. Either way they mean the same thing; it’s just the personal preference of the person writing the abbreviations.

Medical AbbreviationMeaning
ā (a with a line over it)Before
ACTake before meal
CCWith food
PCTake after meal
MDDMaximum daily dose that can be taken
p (p with a line over it)After
PRNAs required
QD1 medicine a day
QHSAt bedtime
QODEvery other day
s (s with a line over it)Without


So, what does a c with a line over it mean? A c with line over it medical abbreviation is a common abbreviation used by doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals to take the place of the word "with."

The symbol c comes from the Latin word for "with," which is cum. Abbreviations are useful in the medical world because they make it faster to write instructions and information, and they can also make those notes easier to read.

The c with a line over it symbol can be used any time you’d use the word "with," and you’ll most likely see it on prescription information or your medical chart. Abbreviations are used often in medicine, and you should look up any you don’t know to be sure you understand the information you're given.

What's Next?

Thinking about getting into healthcare administration, but not sure what kind of qualifications you need? Learn more here with our expert guide to getting a healthcare administration degree.

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About the Author

Melody is a writer at PrepScholar.

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C With a Line Over It: What Does It Mean? (2024)


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