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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


(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.


, 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.
References in periodicals archive ?
But the Scrabble purists are very unhappy because OK has finally been given the OK, even though it's an initialism - or a capitalised abbreviation of okay - which the rules have never allowed.
If you are wondering to what extent the Scottish game's governing body maintained an interest in such matters, a clue can be found in the organisation's initialism.
DPRK is the initialism of North Korea's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
For months leading up to the vote, National Security Action (which lends itself to an unfortunate initialism) had been quietly mobilizing support around getting the U.S.
So 'whether it's an acronym like SMART [specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely], as in SMART goals, or an initialism [which doesn't create an actual word] like SPP for stock purchase plan, spell out what every term stands for in the first reference, then use the abbreviated form from that point on.'
when a number, symbol, initialism, abbreviation or acronym is used as a component of a compound, then it must be separated from the rest of the compound with a hyphen, e.g.
(26) In 2010, the American NGO Citizens for Global Solutions named it the "Responsibility Not to Veto." (27) The initialism "RN2V" reflects the concept's origins "as an element of R2P.
But it can also be fun to be at the receiving end of an acronym or initialism.
Admittedly, the initialism ISF may carelessly overhomogenize our partners' capabilities; each of the three cohorts had its own distinct personality, and our account will bring some of this to life.
On the other hand, researchers use the term initialism for the popular means of forming new words by taking the initial letters of multiword sequences, which are traditionally divided into two types: acronyms and alphabetisms [Rua, (2002) apud Altakhaineh (2017)].
Happily, we could just say "LIGO." It was even easier because we pronounce it "LIE-go" instead of spelling it out every time, as in "L-I-G-O." We do use initialism for certain terms, for good reason.