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
acronymicplay \ˌa-krə-ˈni-mik\ adjective
acronymicallyplay \-mi-k(ə-)lē\ adverb
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Examples of acronym in a Sentence
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization is known by the acronym “NATO.”
Recent Examples of acronym from the Web
Johnson took part in the historic 1969 Stonewall Riots and went on with fellow activist Sylvia Rivera to form the trans-rights organization, STAR, an acronym for Street Transvestites Action Revolutionaries, in 1970.
Rivera was a member of FALN, a Spanish acronym for Armed Forces of National Liberation, a group that claimed responsibility for over 100 bombings in New York City, Chicago, and other cities in the 1970s and 1980s.
The name Moe's is actually an acronym for Musicians, Outlaws and Entertainers.
U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement, known by its acronym as ICE, already has focused on the town, stopping two vans loaded with workers in February and taking several people away.
US Customs and Immigration Enforcement, known by its acronym as ICE, already has focused on the town, stopping two vans loaded with workers in February and taking several people away.
True to government form, the new Medicare number already has an acronym: MBI, which stands for Medicare Beneficiary Identifier.
BDSM is an acronym that stands for any or all of the following: bondage and discipline; dominance and submission; sadism and masochism.
White shuttle-vans with the IDA logo – an infinity-sign in a triangle with the IDA acronym – pull up periodically, disgorging small scholarly groups of tweed- jacketed military-academic spooks.
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.
What's the difference between an abbreviation and an acronym?
Some people are unsure of whether to call ASAP or appt abbreviations or acronyms. Both abbreviation and acronym are used to refer to a shortened form, but an acronym is a shortened form of a phrase and is usually made up of the initial letters of that phrase. For example, NATO comes from “North Atlantic Treaty Organization,” and ASAP comes from “as soon as possible.” Abbreviations, on the other hand, can be shortened forms of words or phrases, and need not necessarily be made up of the initial letters of either. ASAP and appt (for appointment) are both considered abbreviations, but only ASAP is an acronym. Acronyms are a type of abbreviation.
What is the difference between the words acronym and initialism?
Acronym is a fairly recent word, dating from the 1940s, although acronyms existed long before we gave them that name. The term was preceded in English by the word initialism, meaning an abbreviation formed from the initial letters of a phrase, and which has been in use since the late 19th century.
Some people feel strongly that acronym should only be used for terms like NATO, which is pronounced as a single word, and that initialism should be used if the individual letters are all pronounced distinctly, as with FBI. Our research shows that acronym is commonly used to refer to both types of abbreviations.
Did You Know?
Acronym was created by combining acr- ("beginning") with -onym, ("name" or "word"). You may recognize -onym in other familiar English words such as pseudonym and synonym. English speakers borrowed -onym directly from the Greek (it derives from onyma, the Greek word for "name"). Acr- is also from Greek, but it made a side trip through Middle French on its way to English.
Origin and Etymology of acronym
acr- + -onym name, word
First Known Use: 1940
ACRONYM Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of acronym for English Language Learners
: a word formed from the first letters of each one of the words in a phrase
ACRONYM Defined for Kids
Definition of acronym for Students
: 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.”
Seen and Heard
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