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Technically, a word that is formed by combining some parts (usually the first letters) of some other terms. For example, modem is the acronym derived from modulator/demodulator. In everyday speech, the term is also used to refer to initialisms, which are combinations of letters representing a longer phrase. For example, CRT is an initialism for cathode ray tube.The difference is that an acronym is pronounced as if it were a word rather than just a series of individual letters.

Newsgroups, chat rooms, and e-mailhave spawned a rich set of acronyms and initialisms for common phrases. A few of the more common ones are listed below.

Acronym/Initialism Meaning
ASAP As Soon As Possible
BTW By The Way
FWIW For What It's Worth
FYI For Your Information
IMHO In My Humble Opinion
IMO In My Opinion
LOL Laughing Out Loud
ROTFL Rolling On The Floor Laughing
RTFM Read The #&!@ing Manual
TIA Thanks In Advance

Also see the page of text messaging abbreviations in the Quick Reference section of Webopedia.

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