Prop, enan, cyp – what do these abbreviations stand for?

Prop, enan, cypio – what do these abbreviations mean? Do they refer only to testosterone?

If you have come across this article, it means that you are at some level of searching/expanding your knowledge regarding steroids. Specifically androgenic/anabolic steroids. It also means that you have come across the terms prop, enan, cypio, and possibly hexa, depot enough times and not enough times, these prefixes have been explained to you.

Keeping the order, these abbreviations in expansion mean:

prop – propionate;

enan – enanthate;

cypio – cypionate;

and further:

hexa – hexahydrobenzylcarbonate

depo – depot

What do these phrases mean?

They refer to the type of so-called ester with which the agent is associated. Esters are chemical compounds obtained by the reaction of acids with alcohols. In the cases of interest to us – the names of the esters are derived from the names of the acids used to obtain them. Hence, the individual names refer to the acids in a way:

propionate – propionic acid

enanthate – enanthic acid

cypionate – cyclopentanoic acid

All of the above acids, in the presence of suitable catalysts and alcohol, with testosterone attached to the reaction, will form compounds with testosterone, which will take names in sum:

name of acid (abbreviation) + testosterone


testosterone propionate

Such an agent has its own well-defined chemical formula:

Testosterone 17β-propanoate

And it is the exact same molecule every time. There is no such thing as a “slightly different prop”, or a “faster prop”; these are usually terms referring respectively to “phenylpropionate”, “testosterone base”, i.e. its phenylpriopeptide form and the “free” form – pure testosterone not bound to any ester.

What about other agents with that name?

The matter is exactly the same as in the case of testosterone – it is still a term for the acid that was the substrate of the reaction that yielded the agent. The only steroids that will not have such a prefix are oral steroids, because due to their form, they do not have to undergo esterification process.

Are the abbreviations related to the agent’s action?

None of the abbreviations directly refer to the action of the agent – or to its length of action, effects, or potency.

However, there is a correlation between the length of the ester and the performance characteristics of a given agent; it can be generally assumed that the shorter the ester of a given agent, the faster its action and the shorter its duration of action.

Due to the specific action and structure of steroids, esters of different agents are not their counterparts in terms of duration of action and half-life, so for example the graph of action and presence in the body of trenbolone enantate will differ significantly from testosterone enantate.

For any one agent, it should be considered in terms of its assigned half-life tables and features of action and not just – selectively – assuming action according to the ester name scheme.