acronym


acronym
acronym
1. This term, which was first used in the 1940s, denotes a type of abbreviation made up of a set of initials that are pronounced as a single word, as Nato is (as distinct from BBC). An acronym is generally treated as a word in its own right in other ways, for example in the formation of plurals when appropriate. Examples of familiar acronyms include: Aids (acquired immune deficiency syndrome), Anzac (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps), ASH (Action on Smoking and Health), PIN (personal identification number), SALT (Strategic Arms Limitation Talks), Unesco (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization), and WASP (White Anglo-Saxon Protestant). Some of these, especially the names of organizations, start off as ordinary abbreviations (often with full stops) and develop into acronyms; others (e.g. ASH) are deliberately contrived so as to lend themselves to pronunciation as words and hence acquire acronym status artificially.
2. Examples of acronyms that form ordinary nouns are laser (light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation), radar (radio detection and ranging), and SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats: used in business assessments).
3. In everyday use, acronym is sometimes applied to abbreviations that are properly initialisms, since they are pronounced as separate letters (e.g. EU = European Union, DVD = digital versatile disc).

Modern English usage. 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • acronym — ac‧ro‧nym [ˈækrənɪm] noun [countable] a word made up of the first letters of the name of something such as an organization. For example, NATO is an acronym for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization * * * acronym UK US /ˈækrəʊnɪm/ noun [C] ► an… …   Financial and business terms

  • acronym — (n.) word formed from the first letters of a series of words, 1943, Amer.Eng. coinage from ACRO (Cf. acro ) + onym name (abstracted from homonym; see NAME (Cf. name)). But for cabalistic esoterica and acrostic poetry, the practice was practically …   Etymology dictionary

  • acronym — ► NOUN ▪ a word formed from the initial letters of other words (e.g. laser, Aids). ORIGIN from Greek akron end, tip + onoma name …   English terms dictionary

  • acronym — ☆ acronym [ak′rə nim΄ ] n. [ ACR(O) + ONYM] a word formed from the first (or first few) letters of a series of words, as radar, from ra dio d etecting a nd r anging acronymic adj …   English World dictionary

  • Acronym — Ein Akronym (=Initialwort) (griech. ἀκρωνύμιον, von ἄκρος/ákros, „die Spitze, der Rand“, und ὄνομα/ónoma, „der Name“) ist ein Sonderfall der Abkürzung. Es gibt zwei konkurrierende Definitionen des Begriffs. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Begriffsdefinition …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • acronym — UK [ˈækrənɪm] / US [ˈækrəˌnɪm] noun [countable] Word forms acronym : singular acronym plural acronyms linguistics an abbreviation consisting of letters that form a word. For example, NATO is an acronym for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization …   English dictionary

  • acronym — n. to form an acronym * * * [ ækrənɪm] to form an acronym …   Combinatory dictionary

  • acronym — [[t]æ̱krənɪm[/t]] acronyms N COUNT An acronym is a word composed of the first letters of the words in a phrase, especially when this is used as a name. An example of an acronym is NATO which is made up of the first letters of the North Atlantic… …   English dictionary

  • acronym — / ækrənɪm/ noun a word which is made up from the initials of other words ● The name of the company was especially designed to provide a catchy acronym. ● BASIC is an acronym for Beginner’s All purpose Symbolic Instruction Code …   Marketing dictionary in english

  • acronym — any abbreviation using the initial letters of the words abbreviated. Museum collections of fishes are catalogued with an acronym and a number; these acronyms are listed in Leviton et al. (1985) and Leviton and Gibbs (1988) …   Dictionary of ichthyology


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