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An abbreviation consisting of the first letter or letters of words in a phrase (for example, IRS for Internal Revenue Service), syllables or components of a word (TNT for trinitrotoluene), or a combination of words and syllables (ESP for extrasensory perception) and pronounced by spelling out the letters one by one rather than as a solid word.


(Languages) an acronym in which each letter is pronounced separately, rather than the acronym being pronounced as a word


(ɪˈnɪʃ əˌlɪz əm)

an abbreviation or acronym formed from the initial letters of a group of words.


, alphabetism, acronym - Initialisms (sometimes called alphabetisms) are formed from the initial letters of a string of words and are pronounced as a sequence of letters, e.g. BYOB, USA, DVD. Acronyms are formed from the initial letters or parts of words in a sequence, but have the distinction of being pronounceable words, e.g. RADAR, SCUBA.
See also related terms for sequence.
References in periodicals archive ?
John Edward Haynes lists the various types of fictitious names as pseudonyms, anonyms, anagrams (transposing letters of the name), phraseonyms (a phrase related to the subject matter), titlenyms (use of a title), and initialism (use of one or more initials, often in combination with dashes or stars).
You can see a fashion disappear in a matter of days," says Joseph Off, managing director of the consortium, which goes by the initialism [[TC].
But when it comes to meetings, ROI--return on investment--is perhaps the most important initialism of all.
When it's pronounced not as a word but letter by letter, it's an initialism, as the periods indicate.
Does the name lend itself to an acronym or initialism that is easy to say, use, and remember?
Echoing the "Oll Korrect" initialism, OK became the rallying cry of the Old Kinderhook Club, a Democratic organization supporting Van Buren during the 1840 campaign.
Those with interest in the f-word may discover more than they ever wanted to know: Pages 830 to 843 display it as interjection, noun, verb, adjective, expletive, adverb, infix (as in abso-effing-lutely), and as phrasemaker, acronym, and initialism.
During your association's major meetings, arrange to have your name, initialism, or acronym spelled out in a skyscraper by blacking out certain lights at night.
The initialism PC is being published more and more nowadays, albeit only one 1990s dictionary defines it.
The initialism HIPC (pronounced hip-ick) stands for "health insurance purchasing cooperative" and is increasingly applied to variations on the Clinton scheme.
which often goes by the unpronounceable initialism RLUIPA but which we call 'the Act' so that the opinion can be understood by normal people.