What is an acronym?
An acronym is a word formed from the first letters of a name (e.g.
NATO, from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization) or by combining the
first letters of a set of words (radar, from radio detection and
ranging). Adjective: abbreviation. Also referred to as a protogram.
Strictly speaking, according to lexicographer John Ayto, an acronym
denotes "a combination pronounced as a word... and not just as a
sequence of letters" (A Century of New Words, 2007).
An an acronym is an acronym (or other initialism) for which the
expanded form is not commonly known or used, such as OSHA (Occupational
Safety and Health Administration).
From the Greek "point" + "name"
Examples and observations
- Acronyms and Abbreviations "The difference between
acronyms Abbreviations are as follows: Acronyms are real words made
up of the first letter or two of the words in a phrase, and they are
pronounced like other words (cf. snafu, radar, laser, or unesco). In
contrast, abbreviations do not form real words and are therefore
pronounced as strings of letters, for example SOB, IOU, USA, MP, Ip.
- "I have a few lists to refer to throughout the day, but I don't
have an official 'FAT' book yet. Yes, it really says FAT (Federal
Acronym and Terms) book."
- Acronymous Textspeak "Many acronyms written have found
their way into spoken language - just ask your BFF or the staff
member who spelled it all" FYI. ' Lately, so has internet slang. "
- NIMBY NIMBY: from "Not In My Back Yard" - for a person
opposed to something planned near their residence
- FEMA "Re-branding FEMA (Federal Emergency Management
Agency) doesn't solve the problem; it just puts a new acronym on
- The Ancient Roots of Acronymy ' Acronym has ancient
roots, as evidenced by the early Christian use of the Greek word
Ichthys meaning 'fish' as an abbreviation of Iēsous Christos,
Theou Huios, Sōtēr ('Jesus Christ, Son of God, Saviour'). In
English, the first known acronyms (as opposed to plain old
initialisms) appeared in the telegraphic code developed in 1879 by
Walter P. Phillips for the United Press Association yielding SCOTUS
and 'President of' as POT POTUS These abbreviation labels are common
in journalistic and diplomatic circles remained - now FLOTUS is
added, which of course stands for "First Lady of the United States".