RE: Proper definition for "acronym" (was A vs, an)

Subject: RE: Proper definition for "acronym" (was A vs, an)
From: "Leonard C. Porrello" <Leonard -dot- Porrello -at- SoleraTec -dot- com>
To: "Nancy Allison" <maker -at- verizon -dot- net>, "Downing, David" <DavidDowning -at- users -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 13 Jan 2009 07:48:47 -0800

>From "Daily Writing Tips" (http://www.dailywritingtips.com/):

The word acronym was coined in 1943 by Bell Laboratories to refer to new
words like RADAR that had been created from the initials of the words in
phrases.

Distinctions can be made between initial letter constructions that can
be pronounced as words (RADAR) and those which can be pronounced only as
letters (FBI).

Strictly speaking, RADAR is an "acronym," while FBI is an "initialism."

Unless one is addressing an academic audience, the word acronym may be
used to refer to any word formed from the initials of other words. For
one thing, acronym is a more familiar term than initialism. For another,
many words formed from initials defy easy categorization. Some don't
even have widely agreed-upon names to describe them.

Leonard

-----Original Message-----
From: techwr-l-bounces+leonard -dot- porrello=soleratec -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
[mailto:techwr-l-bounces+leonard -dot- porrello=soleratec -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- c
om] On Behalf Of Nancy Allison
Sent: Tuesday, January 13, 2009 7:16 AM
To: Downing, David
Cc: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: RE: Proper definition for "acronym" (was A vs, an)


Ah, one of my pet obssessions (as in, "Did I dream this? Wasn't this
true once long ago?")

I learned there were three distinct categories of *shortened phrases*,
for lack of a better term:

---Abbreviations: initial letters of a phrase, that do not create a word

or word-like collection of letters. Example: FBI. BLM. CBS. etc., etc.

---Acronyms: initial letters that create a word or word-like thingy:
RADAR, CREEP (my fave), etc., etc.

---I cannot remember! But there WAS one! Maybe it was for the word-like
thingies (RADAR) and acronyms were only for real words (CREEP).


One of these decades I will trawl through a bunch of elderly reference
books and see if I can find that original set of terms. I know there
were three! I know it, I know it! (She said, shaking her blue-veined
fists impotently) . . .

Gawd sometimes I feel so old.
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Follow-Ups:

References:
RE: Proper definition for "acronym" (was A vs, an): From: Nancy Allison

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