Acronyms

Acronyms are words formed from the initial letters of other words and pronounced as they are spelled, not as separate letters. Examples include:

acronym

full form

AIDS

acquired immune deficiency syndrome

NATO

North Atlantic Treaty Organization

UNESCO

United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization

SIM (card)

subscriber identification module

 

  • Most acronyms can be written as capital letters or with only an initial capital letter.
  • Some acronyms are so established that they are now ‘normal’ words, generally used without conscious awareness of their original full form. These words should be written in lowercase letters. Examples include:

laser

light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation

radar

radio detection and ranging

quango

quasi-autonomous nongovernmental organization

scuba

self-contained underwater breathing apparatus

 


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Grammar and usage