Funny how we think we know something, and it’s not what we think. One of the changes I had to make to the report was to add ‘n/a’ to the Abbreviations list, “… for ‘not available’,” said our contact.
If she said it was ‘not available’, then that’s what I would put… but I was a little surprised. I always took it to mean ‘no account’. I looked it up, and sure enough, the nearest free dictionaries said it meant ‘not available’ or ‘not applicable’.
As it happens, I can remember why I was convinced it meant ‘no account’ – my father told me. I would have been filling in an application form or something, and he was advising. He said “put n/a…. no account.”
He wasn’t an ignorant man, and I couldn’t believe that it wouldn’t mean that to some people anyway, so I added it to my search term. It started popping up alongside the word ‘banking’. Ah. Yes, that figures… I’m my father’s daughter.