An acronym is defined as a word that is formed from the abbreviation of several words. It is a widely used literary and linguistic form. An example of an acronym would be RENFE (National Network of Spanish Railways), we can also highlight NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization).
Acronyms are usually written in capital letters, but their use is also allowed in lowercase letters except in the case of names that, due to their meaning, must be written with the first letter in capital letters. An example would be Unicef (United Nations Children s Emergency Fund or International Emergency Fund of the United Nations for Children).
The acronym must be differentiated from the abbreviation. An abbreviation can be any kind of short form. An example of this construction would be for example Dr = Doctor; this abbreviation is formed by the first and last letter of the word. An acronym however is a word formed from the first letter or letters of each word in a Phrase.
One can also distinguish between the word "acronym" and "acronym" although this distinction has created some controversy. Some experts are of the opinion that it depends on whether the abbreviation is pronounced as a word or as a succession of individual letters.
The acronym is a linguistic construction that has existed since ancient times. The Romans used acronyms in their writings to save time and materials. The Hebrews also used this type of formation in the Middle Ages. The Greeks made use of these constructions in their biblical manuscripts and the church has used the INRI inscription (in Latin Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum) on the crucifix for centuries, but it has been in the 20th century when its use has spread the most.
During the 19th century, this type of linguistic construction began to be widely used in the business world of Europe and America. It was very common to shorten company names in places or documents where space was limited.
Today, advances in science and technology and the increasing rate of literacy make the use of this type of abbreviation more and more evident even for the armed forces and government agencies.
Today the use of acronyms has become even more popular with the appearance of short messages (SMS) with the aim of adapting the messages to the space of 160 characters of the SMS.