Acronyms vs. Abbreviations

James Knight jlk at 3GECKOS.NET
Fri Feb 24 19:01:13 UTC 2006

At 03:11 PM 2/23/2006, Mark wrote:
>---------------------- Information from the mail header
>Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>Poster:       "Mark A. Mandel" <mamandel at LDC.UPENN.EDU>
>Subject:      Re: Acronyms vs. Abbreviations
>Back when I worked at Dragon Systems, I'm pretty sure that one of our=20
>references was a Dictionary of Initialisms and Acronyms. I don't remember=
>who published it.

Gale [Research]. Recently made available to libraries online (i.e.,
free if you're a card holding patron of one).

Acronyms, Initialisms, and Abbreviations Dictionary. Eds. Michael
Reade and Bohdan Romaniuk. Vol. 1. 35th ed. Detroit: Gale, 2005. 4 vols.

 From the preface... (admittedly simplified)

<<< snip >>>
An acronym is composed of the initial letters or parts of a compound
term. It is usually read or spoken as a single word, rather than
letter by letter. Examples include RADAR (Radio Detection and
Ranging) and LASER (Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation).

An initialism is also composed of the initial letters or parts of a
compound term, but is generally verbalized letter by letter, rather
than as a single word. Examples include PO (Post Office) and RPM
(Revolutions per Minute).

An abbreviation is a shortened form of a word or words that does not
follow the formation of either of the above. Examples include APR
(April), PhD (Doctor of Philosophy), BCSTG (Broadcasting), and DR (Doctor).
<<< snip >>>

There is further commentary on proliferation and trends, aimed more
at the casual user, perhaps not appropriate to include here.

If anyone wants to see more, let me know.


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