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.)

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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

See Also

Take a test on acronyms Overview of abbreviations (includes initialisms) Using full stops (periods) in abbreviations