April 12, 2017

Abbreviation, acronym, initialism


Abbreviation is the shortened form of a word or a phrase which can be used in place of that particular word or phrase.

Examples are: Lt for lieutenant, Hon for Honorable, Dr for doctor and St for Saint.

In British English full stops are not placed at the end of abbreviations that contain the first and last letters of the full expression. Examples are: Lt and St

In American English, full stops are placed after the abbreviations. Example: Dr., St. and Mr.

An abbreviation is usually pronounced like the original word or phrase, i.e. abbreviations don’t have the pronunciations of their own:  Lt is pronounced as ‘lieutenant’ and ‘Hon’ as ‘Honorable’. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. For example, the abbreviation “e.g.” is pronounced as “For Example” against its full form which is “exempli gratia.”


An acronym is a word formed from the initial letters of the original words in a phrase. For examples: UNICEF, AIDS and RAM . An acronym is usually pronounced as a word and it carries the same meaning as the original phrase.

UNICEF for United Nations Children’s Education Fund

AIDS for Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome

RAM for Random Access Memory

LASER for Light Amplification by the Stimulated Emission of Radiation

NATO for North Atlantic Treaty Organization


An initialism is a word formed from the initial letters of the original words in a phrase. It is constructed in the same way as an acronym but cannot be pronounced as a word. Examples are:

ATM for Automated Teller Machine

DVD for Digital Versatile Disk

LCD for Liquid Crystal Display

BBC for British Broadcasting Corporation

UNO for United Nations Organization.

FAQ for Frequently Asked Questions

Abbreviation, acronym, initialism Quiz

Question #1: The acronym MRI stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging. True or False?

Correct Answer : True

Question #2: Is Dr. an abbreviation?

Correct Answer : Yes

Question #3: What kind of abbreviation is the NCAA?

Correct Answer : Initialism

Question #4: Is a nickname an abbreviation?

Correct Answer : Yes

Question #5: Can an initialism also be known as an acronym?

Correct Answer : No

Question #6: Out of the following words, which is an acronym?

Correct Answer : Radar

Question #7: What two countries are referenced in the acronym ANZAC?

Correct Answer : Australia and New Zealand

Question #8: Graphic artists and printers often refer to the colour model known as CMYK. The name of what colour is NOT found in this acronym?

Correct Answer :  Blue

Question #9: The famed Walt Disney dreamed of a utopian city that he entitled EPCOT. What “E” word completes the acronym of ________________ Prototype Community Of Tomorrow?

Correct Answer :  Experimental

Question #10:  What word is common to both the acronyms LASER and LED?

Correct Answer :  Light

Interesting Quizzes