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What Are Acronyms? (with Examples)

What Are Acronyms? (with Examples)

An acronym is an abbreviation spoken like a word. For example:
  • NATO
  • (North Atlantic Treaty Organization)
  • NAAFI
  • (Navy, Army and Air Force Institutes)
  • Laser
  • (Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation) (Note: Some acronyms are so common, they are often treated like normal words and are written in lowercase letters.)

Be Careful with the Word "Acronym"

An abbreviation not spoken like a word (i.e., you read out its individual letters) is not an acronym. The following are not acronyms:
  • BBC
  • (British Broadcasting Corporation)
  • LRS
  • (Linear Recursive Sequence)
  • M.O.T.
  • (Ministry of Transport)
  • e.g.
  • (Latin: exempli gratia)
These are initialism abbreviations as opposed to acronyms.

acronym

Interactive Test
 
 

Beware

Be Careful Not to Use the Term Acronym When You Mean Abbreviation

Remember, an acronym is an abbreviation spoken like a word.

Therefore, BBC is not an acronym, but GOLD is.  (GOLD stands for Go On Laugh Daily.  It's a digital TV channel).