I have a bibliographical reference:

[Author] [book name]-5th ed.,pp.3-6,ch.3.

What does the "pp" stand for? I don't recognize this abbreviation.

The "pp" refers to a page range, e.g. "pp. 3-6" means page three through page six.

I'm not entirely sure what citation style you're using, but this convention is used in the MLA citation style, as well as some other citation styles that I can't remember off the top of my head.

LiteratureSE user Aethelbald has suggested that:

pp stands for the Latin pari passu meaning side-by-side or at-the-same-rate or on-an-equal-footing... here it means equally and throughout pages 3 thru 6.

Other contributors, however, disagree. Kevin notes that:

Wiktionary also lists "p." as meaning "page," singular, and specifically describes "pp." as the plural of "p." This is obviously not a productive pluralization method

and hobbs adds that:

there are a few cases, in Latin-derived abbreviations, where a plural is made by doubling the last letter. "MS." => "MSS." (manuscript/s), "op." => "opp." (opus/opera). This is one of those, since "page" has its origin in "pagina".

  • Anyone know why exactly it's called "pp"? Does it stand for something? – MCMastery Mar 24 at 16:39
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    @MCMastery at least per Wiktionary, it doesn't seem to have a meaning, just a way to distinguish it from p., to indicate plural – Gallifreyan Mar 24 at 17:48
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    @Gallifreyan: Wiktionary also lists "p." as meaning "page," singular, and specifically describes "pp." as the plural of "p." This is obviously not a productive pluralization method. – Kevin Mar 24 at 17:56
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    @MCMastery there are a few cases, in Latin-derived abbreviations, where a plural is made by doubling the last letter. "MS." => "MSS." (manuscript/s), "op." => "opp." (opus/opera). This is one of those, since "page" has its origin in "pagina". – hobbs Mar 24 at 18:14
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    Do you have a credible source for the claim that "pp" stands for the Latin phrase pari passu? – user14111 Aug 9 at 4:24

pp stands for the Latin pari passu meaning side-by-side or at-the-same-rate or on-an-equal-footing. In this case, Citations has already given the correct answer and I'm just filling in.

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    In that case, you should either edit Citation's post with the relevant information or comment on his post. Not post a new answer. – corsiKa Mar 24 at 19:15
  • That's not exactly intuitive but thanks, I'll bear it in mind. – Aethelbald Mar 24 at 22:34
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    How is "pari passu" relevant to bibliographical references? OK, it's a possible meaning of the abbreviation "pp", but surely not the correct meaning in this context? – Rand al'Thor Mar 25 at 11:10
  • Rand, here it means equally and throughout pages 3 thru 6. – Aethelbald Mar 25 at 17:27
  • I've taken up @corsiKa's suggestion and edited Citation's post to include the information from your answer. It's entirely up to you, but you might now like to delete your answer. I have a feeling you earn a site badge for doing so! :-) – Chappo Aug 8 at 8:00

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