acronym

noun
ac·​ro·​nym | \ ˈa-krə-ˌnim How to pronounce acronym (audio) \

Definition of acronym

: a word (such as NATO, radar, or laser) formed from the initial letter or letters of each of the successive parts or major parts of a compound term also : an abbreviation (such as FBI) formed from initial letters : initialism

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Other Words from acronym

acronymic \ ˌa-​krə-​ˈni-​mik How to pronounce acronymic (audio) \ adjective
acronymically \ ˌa-​krə-​ˈni-​mi-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce acronymically (audio) \ adverb

Frequently Asked Questions About acronym

What is the difference between an acronym and an initialism?

Both acronyms and initialisms are made up of the first letter or letters of the words in a phrase. The word acronym typically applies when the resulting thing can be read as a word; for example, radar comes from "radio detection and ranging" and scuba comes from "self-contained underwater breathing apparatus." The word initialism only applies when the resulting thing is read as an abbreviation; for example DIY, which comes from "do it yourself," is pronounced by saying the names of the letters. Note that the word acronym is also sometimes used to mean "initialism."

What is the difference between an acronym and an abbreviation?

An acronym is a kind of abbreviation. Abbreviations can be shortened forms of any kind. For example, appt is an abbreviation of appointment, and ASAP is an abbreviation of as soon as possible. ASAP, however, also qualifies as an acronym because it is made up of the initial letters of the phrase it comes from: as soon as possible.

Is OK an acronym?

OK is technically an acronym. It comes from the phrase "oll korrect," a humorous alteration of "all correct."

Examples of acronym in a Sentence

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization is known by the acronym “NATO.”
Recent Examples on the Web One of them is SPARQ, which is an acronym for a metric that shows how athletic a player is. Tim Bielik, cleveland, "Is AJ Dillon the next Derrick Henry? NFL draft 2020 top SPARQ scores for running backs, receivers," 31 Mar. 2020 Bourbaki countered with a letter stating that B.O.A.S. actually just was an acronym of the last names of the editors of the Reviews. David Gunderman, The Conversation, "Nicolas Bourbaki: The greatest mathematician who never was," 7 Dec. 2019 Trump frequently waved to the crowd at the UFC 244 tournament, headlined by a battle between Nate Diaz and Jorge Masdival for a new belt named BMF, a vulgar acronym. BostonGlobe.com, "Trump frequently waved to the crowd at the UFC 244 tournament, headlined by a battle between Nate Diaz and Jorge Masdival for a new belt named BMF, a vulgar acronym. Masvidal won the fight after the match was stopped and Dwayne ‘‘The Rock’’ Johnson awarded him the championship belt.," 4 Nov. 2019 In the guidance, the CDC refers to the e-cigarette, or vaping, product use associated lung injury by a new acronym, EVALI. Jacqueline Howard, CNN, "Answers in vaping-related lung injury investigation could take months, CDC official says," 11 Oct. 2019 Pritzker said on March 30th, using the acronym for personal protective equipment. Peter Slevin, The New Yorker, "Illinois Confronts a Chaotic White House Approach to the Coronavirus," 4 Apr. 2020 That’s what leads us to SESTA and FOSTA and PIPA and SOPA and all these acronyms that were bad policies. Eric Johnson, Recode, "There should be ‘consequences’ for platforms that don’t remove people like Alex Jones, Senator Ron Wyden says," 22 Aug. 2018 For many adherents of the Financial Independence, Retire Early movement, also known by the acronym FIRE, the economic and stock-market downturns caused by the coronavirus pandemic are the first test of their strategy. Veronica Dagher, WSJ, "As Coronavirus Spreads, FIRE Adherents Still Plan Early Retirement," 4 Apr. 2020 That might be the best word (acronym?) to describe the final seconds of the Ozark season 3, which is really saying something. Shannon Carlin, refinery29.com, "What The Hell Just Happened At The End Of Ozark Season 3?," 31 Mar. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'acronym.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of acronym

1940, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for acronym

probably borrowed from German Akronym, Akronymon, from akr- acr- + -onym, -onymon -onym

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The first known use of acronym was in 1940

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Last Updated

21 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Acronym.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/acronym. Accessed 4 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for acronym

acronym

noun
How to pronounce acronym (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of acronym

: a word formed from the first letters of each one of the words in a phrase

acronym

noun
ac·​ro·​nym | \ ˈa-krə-ˌnim How to pronounce acronym (audio) \

Kids Definition of acronym

: a word formed from the first letter or letters of the words of a compound term The word “radar” is an acronym for “radio detecting and ranging.”

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More from Merriam-Webster on acronym

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with acronym

Spanish Central: Translation of acronym

Nglish: Translation of acronym for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of acronym for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about acronym

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