Acronym

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An acronym is an abbreviation consisting of initial letters that are read like an ordinary word.

Examples

English radar (pronounced [ˈreɪdɑɹ] ), from radio detection and ranging.

Comments

Acronyms contrast with alphabetisms, which are pronounced with the names of the letters (e.g. CD, HTML).

Polysemy

Sometimes acronym is used for abbreviations more generally, i.e. also for alphabetisms.

Origin

From Greek akro- 'tip' and -oonym- 'name'. The first attestation in the OED is from 1943.

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