Acronym Definition & Meaning

An acronym is a word formed from combining parts of a longer compound term or phrase, normally the initial letter or letters. For example, BTW stands for By the Way, and FORTRAN is the chosen parts of the words formula translator. Sometimes the letters combined are pronounced as a word, such as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration being commonly known and pronounced as NASA (nah-suh), and the North American Treaty Organization being known and pronounced as NATO. (nay-tow).

The term acronym is derived from Greek roots. Acr- meaning “height or summit” and -onym meaning “name”. The compound first appeared in Germany as “akronym” in 1921. The english language cites the term first being used in 1940.

Acronym examples

The evolution of email, texting, and instant messaging has spawned a rich set of acronyms for common phrases to allow users to complete messages quicker. Popular acronyms are listed below.

Acronym

Meaning

ASAP

As Soon As Possible

BRB

Be Right Back

DM

Direct Message

FYI

For Your Information

IDK

I Don’t Know

LMK

Let Me Know

LOL

Laugh Out Loud

NBD

No Big Deal

TBH

To Be Honest

WFH

Work From Home

A recursive acronym is an acronym used in the computer and technology industry that references a person, company, or product name in the acronym itself. Oftentimes recursive acronyms are created from the egotistical or humorous nature of the developer. A few examples (both technology and non-technology related are:

  • FARM: Farm Animal Rights Movement
  • WINE: WINE Is Not an Emulator
  • VISA: Visa International Services Association
  • RPM: RPM Package Manager

Abby Dykes
Abby Dykes
Abby Dykes is a newly-graduated writer and editor for websites such as TechnologyAdvice.com, Webopedia.com, and Project-Management.com. When she’s not writing about technology, she enjoys giving too many treats to her dog and coaching part-time at her local gym.

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