No, not the infantile word for urination, the abbreviation when you’re signing something on someone else’s behalf.

They say you learn something new every day. That was certainly true for me this morning. I always assumed that ‘pp’ stood for ‘pro per’, or on ‘behalf of, through’ as it is in Latin. It also used to irk me that you’d see the pp next to the person’s signature, rather than on the line of the person they were signing on behalf of. ‘pp John Smith…Jane Smith, Director of Policy’ wasn’t right, or so I reasoned, should be ‘John Smith….pp Jane Smith, Director of Policy.’

Well, blow me down. I looked it up this morning. It stands for per procurationem, meaning through the agency (of), or by delegation if you like. Furthermore, it turns out it can be shortened to per pro, not pro per, so doubly wrong. If that’s not enough, the pp belongs on the line of the delegated person too. Sheesh!

I took small comfort from the fact that the pp can also appear on the bottom line, but not much comfort.

Well, stap me vitals, as they used to say. That was the second thing I learned this morning, as I wrote this post. I always thought the phrase was ‘stack me/my vitals’…apparently I’m not alone in feeling confused (read the comments).