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What Does “CC” Mean in Email Lingo?

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In the world of email communication, “CC” stands for “carbon copy.” Still not sure what that means, how to use it, or why it’s so frequently used in emails? Don’t worry—this blog post will teach you everything you need to know about how to utilize “CC” correctly.

White text over red background reads "What does cc mean in an email?"
Have you ever seen “CC” in an email and wondered what it meant?
CC: Quick Summary

If you notice a CC in an email, that means that the names (or email addresses) that appear after it received a copy of the email.

It may be referenced in the email, but it doesn’t have to be.

  • I cc’d my colleague in case you have any questions while I’m gone.

We use the abbreviation CC, which stands for “carbon copy,” because of how copies were made before the development of photographic copiers.

Maybe you’re wondering what the “CC” you see while writing emails signifies.

Or perhaps you know what it means, but are curious about how we came to use that abbreviation in today’s modern world.

We’re going to quench your curiosity about CC in emails by teaching you what it means, reviewing the context behind it, and showing you the correct way of using CC as a verb.

Let’s begin!

Graphic shows a sheet of paper with banner over it that reads CC.
“CC” means “carbon copy.” But how does that fit into emails? Find out below. 

What Does “CC” Mean in an Email?

In the email world, CC is short for “carbon copy.”

CC informs the main recipient that a copy of the email was also sent to someone else.

You may notice different capitalizations of this abbreviation—CC, Cc, and cc are all acceptable.

The option to CC someone is usually found under the main recipient’s email address. You can add more than one email address to send a copy of the message to multiple people.

Image shows screenshot of email template and where to find the CC option.
The option to “CC” someone is usually found under the main recipient’s email address. 

Some people have taken CC to mean “courtesy copy,” but while this phrasing aligns better with its contemporary usage, it disregards the history behind this acronym, which we’ll elaborate on in the following paragraph.

The History of “CC”

Before photocopiers existed, copies were made by placing a piece of carbon paper between two sheets of paper. Anything that was typed or written on the top page would then be imprinted on the bottom one, which would be referred to as the carbon copy of the original.

It was a convention to include the abbreviation CC before a colon and beneath the writer’s signature to indicate to the primary recipient that carbon copies had been produced and sent to the individuals listed after it .

Using “CC” as a Verb

Now that we know why we use the abbreviation CC in emails, let’s review how to utilize it as a verb.

Can you please CC me on that email?

The past tense and past participle are spelled as cc’d, not cced (according to Merriam-Webster and Oxford Dictionaries).

I cc’d you on the email I sent to Mrs. Goldstein.

I cced you on the email I sent to Mrs. Goldstein.

The gerund and the present participles of CC are cc’ing, not ccing.

I will be cc’ing you on a few important emails that I need you to look over.

I will be ccing you on a few important emails that I need you to look over.

What Does “BCC” Mean?

BCC is an abbreviation for blind carbon copy. It’s a feature that allows you to send a copy of an email to someone without the other recipients knowing. In other words, when you BCC someone, it means their email address is hidden from the other recipients.

Perfect Your Email Etiquette

Using CC correctly is just one of the many components you should be familiar with if you want to enhance your email etiquette.

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