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An acronym is a word or name formed as an abbreviation from the initial components in a phrase or a word, usually individual letters (as in NATO or laser) and sometimes syllables (as in Benelux).There are no universal standards of the multiple names for such abbreviations and of their orthographic styling.is available.) The second reason for the key feature is its pedagogical value in educational works such as textbooks.It gives students a way to review the meanings of the acronyms introduced in a chapter after they have done the line-by-line reading, and also a way to quiz themselves on the meanings (by covering up the expansion column and recalling the expansions from memory, then checking their answers by uncovering.) In addition, this feature enables readers possessing knowledge of the abbreviations not to have to encounter expansions (redundant to such readers).By 1943, the term acronym had been used in English to recognize abbreviations (and contractions of phrases) that were pronounced as words. In this view, the modern practice is just as legitimate as those in "proper" English of the current generation of speakers, such as the abbreviation of corporation names in places with limited writing space (e.g., ticker tape, newspaper column inches).In English, acronyms pronounced as words may be a 20th-century phenomenon. In formal writing for a broad audience, the expansion is typically given at the first occurrence of the acronym within a given text, for the benefit of those readers who do not know what it stands for.Linguist David Wilton in Word Myths: Debunking Linguistic Urban Legends claims that "forming words from acronyms is a distinctly twentieth- (and now twenty-first-) century phenomenon. The capitalization of the original term is independent of it being acronymized, being lowercase for a common noun such as frequently asked questions (FAQ) but uppercase for a proper noun such as the United Nations (UN) (as explained at Case Casing of expansions).There is only one known pre-twentieth-century [English] word with an acronymic origin and it was in vogue for only a short time in 1886. In addition to expansion at first use, some publications also have a key listing all acronyms used therein and what their expansions are. The first is that if they are not reading the entire publication sequentially (which is a common mode of reading), then they may encounter an acronym without having seen its expansion.
There is no special term for abbreviations whose pronunciation involves the combination of letter names and words or word-like pronunciations of strings of letters, such as JPEG .The general reason for this is convenience and succinctness for specialists, although it has led some to obfuscate the meaning either intentionally, to deter those without such domain-specific knowledge, or unintentionally, by creating an acronym that already existed.The medical literature has been struggling to control the proliferation of acronyms as their use has evolved from aiding communication to hindering it.Whereas an abbreviation may be any type of shortened form, such as words with the middle omitted (for example, Rd for road or Dr for Doctor), an acronym is a word formed from the first letter or first few letters of each word in a phrase (such as sonar, created from "A number of commentators ...believe that acronyms can be differentiated from other abbreviations in being pronounceable as words.