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 English Vocabulary for ESL learners 


ABBREVIATIONS, ACRONYMS and INITIALISMS

Examples of abbreviations, acronyms and initialisms with their meaning.


ABBREVIATIONS

Abbreviations are shortened forms of a written word, phrase or name used in place of the whole, for example:  ‘Dr.’ for Doctor, ‘Mr.’ for Mister, ‘gym’ for gymnastics, 'Tim' for Timothy, p.s. for post script. Abbreviations are found in almost every area of life.
Acronyms and initialisms are also abbreviations.

ACRONYMS

An acronym is created from the initial letters of a long name or phrase, and pronounced as a word, for example, NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization).
Since are acronyms are treated as words and pronounced as words, there are no full stops between the letters.

INITIALISMS

An initialism is a sort of acronym where a long phrase is abbreviated to its initial letters but the letters are pronounced individually, for example, FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation).
In British English, full stops are not usually used between each letter (FBI rather than F.B.I.)
In American English, it is a question of style. The use of full stops (or periods) is more common in American English. (F.B.I. rather than FBI)

Examples of abbreviations:
ABBREVIATIONS MEANING
A.D. Anno Domini
ad advertisement
adj. adjective
adv. adverb
a.m.  ante meridiem (before noon)
app application
B.C. Before Christ
e.g. exampli gratia (for example)
etc etcetera (and other things; and so on)
flu influenza (an illness)
i.e. id est (that is)
in. inch(es)
lb(s). pound(s) (from the Roman 'libra')
n.b. nota bene (note well; take notice)
oz ounce(s)
pl. plural
p.m. post meridiem (after noon)
p.s. post scriptum (written after)
p.t.o. please turn over
rhino rhinoceros
St. Saint or Street

Examples of acronyms:

ACRONYMS MEANING
AIDS Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome
LASER Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation
NAFTA North American Free Trade Agreement
NASA National Aeronautical and Space Administration
NAFTA North American Free Trade Agreement
NASA National Aeronautical and Space Administration
OPEC Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries
PIN Personal Identification Number
RAM Random Access Memory
ROM Read Only Memory
Radar Radio detecting and ranging
Scuba Self-contained underwater breathing apparatus
UNICEF United Nations Children's Fund
WASP White Anglo Saxon Protestant
WYSIWYG What You See Is What You Get


Examples of initialisms:
INITIALISMS MEANING
AC Air Conditioning
CD Compact Disk
CCTV Closed-Circuit Television
CV Curriculum Vitae (resume)
DVD Digital Video Disk
EAP English for Academic Purposes
EFL English as a Foreign Language
EFL English as a Second Language
ELT English Language Teaching
EU European Union
FAQ Frequently Asked Questioins
FBI Federal Bureau of Investigation
FM Frequency Modulation
GMT Greenwich Mean Time
HTTP Hypertext Transfer Protocol
HTML Hypertext Markup Language
IQ Intelligence Quotient
ISBN International Standard Book Number
JPEG Joint Photographic Experts Group
NBA National Basketball Association
PC Personal computer
RIP Rest in Peace (from the Latin, "Requiescat In Pace")
RSVP Repondez S'il Vous Plait (from French, meaning: 'please respond')
UN United Nations
UK United Kingdom
USA United States of America


See also: Business abbreviations

back to Vocabulary



Please note that British English spelling is used on this website.

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