English edit

 acronym on Wikipedia

Etymology edit

Borrowed from German Akronym, from Ancient Greek ἄκρον (ákron, end, peak) and ὄνυμα (ónuma, name), equivalent to acro- (high; beginning) +‎ -onym (name).[1] Modelled after Homonym and Synonym, first attested in German in the early 1900s[2] and in English in 1940.[1]

Pronunciation edit

  • IPA(key): /ˈæk.ɹə.nɪm/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ækɹənɪm

Noun edit

acronym (plural acronyms)

  1. (linguistics) An abbreviation formed by the initial letters of other words.
    1. Generally such abbreviations, including those pronounced as individual letters (initialisms such as "TNT").
      • 1940, L. Feuchtwanger, translated by W. Muir et al., Paris Gazette, iii, xlvii, p. 518:
        Pee-gee-enn. It's an acronym, that's what it is. That's what they call words made up of initials.
    2. Exclusively such abbreviations when pronounced as a word (as "laser").
      • 2014 September 23, “Choosing a Primary School: A Teacher's Guide for Parents”, in The Guardian:
        Some teachers festoon every spare inch of wall with vocabulary choices or maths techniques to use, which look great at first, but to some children might appear quite daunting. You'll probably see unfamiliar acronyms such as Walt (We Are Learning To). Be sure to ask what they stand for and how they are used in practice.
  2. (linguistics) An abbreviation formed by the beginning letters or syllables of other words (as "Benelux").
    • 1950, Simeon Potter, Our Language, page 163:
      Acronyms or telescoped names like nabisco from National Biscuit Company.

Usage notes edit

The broader sense of acronym inclusive of initialisms (as TNT) is sometimes proscribed,[3] but is the term's original and more common meaning.[1][3] The status of an acronym's pronunciation is not always obvious, as some initialisms have gained interstitial vowels to ease their expression (as /ˈwɪzdəl/ for WSDL)[4] and others are pronounced alternatively as words or initialisms (as /ˈsiːkwəl/ or /ɛskjuːɛl/ for SQL).[5]

Acronyms in all senses may variously be written in all capital letters (as UNESCO or WYSIWYG) or in lower case (as scuba or sitcom), according to the degree to which they have come to be seen as words separate from their derivation (that is, depending on how anacronymic they have become). American style guides tend to favor the use of capital spelling for pronounced acronyms of four letters or fewer (as NATO) whereas British style guides tend to favor standard capitalization of pronounced acronyms as though they were a standard word (Nato). Acronyms formed from beginning syllables are sometimes written in camel case (as EpiPen or CHiPs), although this may be precluded by style guides. Mixed capitalization is also sometimes used when acronyms include words usually left uncapitalized in title case but which have been included for pronunciation or clarity (as VaR (Value at Risk)); in other cases, the standard acronym capitalizes such minor words as well (as TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language)).

Like all abbreviations, acronyms were formerly usually punctuated with full stops or periods to mark the divisions between the original words (as U.S.A. or P.R.C.) but this punctuation is increasingly omitted, particularly in the case of acronyms treated as generic words (as radar and sonar) and in acronyms formed from syllables rather than letters. Folk etymologies frequently imagine acronymic expansions for such common words as fuck, shit, and posh, but the earliest English acronym listed by the OED is a form of abjad in 1793,[6] and their use did not become widespread (throughout the language) until the world wars of the 20th century.

Synonyms edit

Hypernyms edit

Derived terms edit

Translations edit

Verb edit

acronym (third-person singular simple present acronyms, present participle acronyming or acronymming, simple past and past participle acronymed or acronymmed)

  1. To form into an acronym.

See also edit

References edit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "acronym, n.", in the Oxford English Dictionary, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  2. ^ Gerhard Stilz, Studien zur englischen Philologie, Nummer 21, Niemeyer., 1905
  3. 3.0 3.1 acronym”, in Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, Springfield, Mass.: Merriam-Webster, 1996–present.
  4. ^ http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/library/lol/acronym.html
  5. ^ S.Q.L or Sequel: How do you pronounce SQL? http://www.vertabelo.com/blog/notes-from-the-lab/sql-or-sequel. Retrieved on May 19, 2016.
  6. ^ "abjad, n.", in the Oxford English Dictionary, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Further reading edit

Anagrams edit