PFA – Meaning, Origin and Usage

If you receive an email with ‘PFA’ in the message body? You better check it for attachments. This post unpacks the meaning and origin of this acronym.


The acronym ‘PFA’ has two meanings. The first and most common use of the acronym pertains to professional business writing. In this case, PFA stands for ‘Please find Attached.’ It refers to an email attachment and includes Excel spreadsheets, Word documents, PDFs, and other attached documents relevant to the email communication. Typically, the attachment is for the recipient’s eyes only.

The second most common use of ‘PFA’ is to describe the Navy’s ‘Physical Readiness Test.’ The Navy uses this assessment for all branches, including SEALs, SWCC, Navy Divers, EODs, and other Special Operations Forces. The test involves a range of physical exercises, including running and calisthenics.

Example Usage

“Hi Mike, PFA is our annual report for the company financial statements. Please review them, and we’ll be in touch to discuss the coming year’s budget with you on Friday.”

“Hi, Kim, PFA the invoice for the work we did on the renovation last week. You’ll find the banking details in the invoice footer. Please make payment within 48 hours. Thanks for your business.”

“The navy PFA is brutal. It’s almost as bad as the SEAL training during hell week. You just have to suck it up and push through, don’t focus on the pain.’

“There is no way that guy is passing the PFA. He’s like 300 pounds. How did them even let him apply for the navy?”

“The Navy PFA was the single hardest experience of my life. I’ve never felt that drained after exercise. They really push you to your limits.”


The acronym ‘PFA’ has unknown origins. Language experts believe the professional use of the term comes from the advent of email and its spread through the business world in the late 1990s and early 2000s. No information is available on who coined the term or its first use in business communications.

The Navy PFA or Physical Readiness Test is much older than the advent of email, and it’s been a standard acronym for the test since its inception in the 1930s. Recently, the Navy changed the parameters of its PFA test to make it more inclusive for women, much to the amusement of other nations, like Russia, that doesn’t allow women to apply for military service.

The first mention of ‘PFA’ in the Urban dictionary concerning business writing was on November 29, 2004.

Phrases Similar to PFA

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Phrases Opposite to PFA

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What is the Correct Saying?

  • PFA.
  • Please Find Attached.
  • Physical Fitness Assessment.

Ways People May Say PFA Incorrectly

The acronym ‘PFA’ has several meanings. However, the most common use of the term is as an abbreviation of ‘Please Find Attached,’ or ‘Physical Fitness Assessment.”

Acceptable Ways to Phrase PFA

You can use the acronym ‘PFA’ in professional email communications. You’ll use it to tell the recipient that there is an attachment to the email. The phrase applies exclusively to emails, not text or written communications. The term has no use in social interactions or text messaging applications between friends.

For instance, you could type an email to your boss, attach the weekly report, and say ‘PFA’ my weekly report. The expression ‘PFA’ also describes the ‘Physical Fitness Assessment’ used by the Navy to measure the fitness level of new recruits.

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