By Judy Vorfeld
What are the Differences Between Abbreviations, Acronyms, and Initialisms?
An ABBREVIATION is a shortened form of a written word or phrase used in place of the whole word. Some authorities consider acronyms and initialisms to be abbreviations.
An ACRONYM is a word (such as radar or snafu or NASDAQ) formed from the initial letter or first few letters of a word or a series of words (example: radar comes from radio detecting and ranging).
Acronyms are pronounced as complete words.
An INITIALISM is an acronym formed from initial letters (NYSE, AFL-CIO, NAACP, IRS, SEC).
Initialisms are prounounced letter by letter.