The Full form of CE is Common Era. CE is one of the notation systems that are most widely used in calendar era for the world. BCE (Before the Current Era or Before the Common Era) is the era before CE. CE and BCE are alternatives to the Dionysian BC and AD system respectively. The Dionysian era distinguishes eras using AD (Anno Domini, “in [the] year of [the] Lord”) and BC (“before Christ”). Numerically, both of the notation systems are equivalent, “2020 CE” corresponds to “AD 2020” and “400 BCE” corresponds to “400 BC”.

Both of the notations refer to the Gregorian calendar (and its predecessor, the Julian calendar). Gregorian calendar used the year-numbering system which is an international standard for civil calendars and is also used throughout the world today. The term “Common Era” can be found as early as 1708 in English, and became most widely used by Jewish religious scholars in the mid-19th century. In the later 20th century, the use of BCE and CE was popularized in scientific and academic publications as a culturally neutral term.

It is also used by some publishers and authors who wish to emphasize sensitivity to non-Christians by not explicitly referencing Dominus as (“Lord”) and Jesus as “Christ” through use of the abbreviation “AD” and “CE”.