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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.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
(Languages) an acronym in which each letter is pronounced separately, rather than the acronym being pronounced as a word
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014
in•i•tial•ism(ɪˈnɪʃ əˌlɪz əm)
an abbreviation or acronym formed from the initial letters of a group of words.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
initialism, 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.
Farlex Trivia Dictionary. © 2012 Farlex, Inc. All rights reserved.