August 19, 2022

The acronym (from the Greek ἄκρον, àkron, "extremity" + ὄνομα, ònοma, "name"), or initialism, is a name formed with the initial (or sometimes final) letters or syllables, or more generically with sequences of one or more letters of the single words or certain words of a sentence or denomination, readable as if they were a single word. Verbs and articles are generally excluded from the acronym.



Often acronyms are pronounceable acronyms, such as FIAT or ONU (pronounced "fìat", "ònu"), but not all acronyms are acronyms, as the essential feature of the acronym is readability as a single word in the sequence of letters , syllables or groups of consecutive letters that make up the acronym, which therefore is not always made up only of initial letters: for example, laser (Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation) is both an acronym and an acronym, while radar (RAdio Detection And Ranging) is an acronym but not an acronym. On the other hand, not all acronyms are acronyms: abbreviations consisting of sequences of letters that require the spelling of the entire word letter by letter in order to be pronounced, as in the case of CGIL or BMW (pronounced "ci-gi-elle "," bi-emme-vu "), are not acronyms. In common usage the two terms are however often considered synonyms (in this regard it should be remembered that synonymy does not indicate the perfect coincidence of use and meaning).


The acronym can be constituted either by the initial letters of each word that composes it (CEDAM, acronym of "Casa Editrice Dott. Antonio Milani") or by several initial letters (Polfer, of "Railway Police") or by the initial syllables ( SINDIFER, of "Sindacato Dirigenti Ferrovie [dello Stato]") or from variously chosen consonants and vowels (SINASCEL, of "National Elementary School Syndicate"), precisely so that they can be read as a single word. The acronyms often lack the subdivision points of the component elements, which are instead more frequently used in the abbreviations (CGIL or C.G.I.L., but CONAD, of "Consorzio Nazionale Dettaglianti"). The widespread use of some acronyms has meant that it is no longer perceived their nature of acronym, as in the case of lasers, radar, sonar, ufo, suv, which have become real terms over time. Some acronyms are formed by merging two words, generally eliminating the last or the last syllables of the first word, in such a way that the two original words are quite recognizable and therefore the meaning of the acronym is quite transparent, as in palacongressi (pala [ zzo] + congressi), singer-songwriter (cant [ante] + author) and heliport (eli [cottero] + porto): in this case it is a real system of composition (or formation) of new words (called Macedonian words ), which has developed especially recently, in particular by journalists and advertisers. Other acronyms are obtained by eliminating the last or last syllables of the first word and the first or first syllables of the second word, as in the English words entered in the Italian vocabulary motel (mot [or] + [hot] el), smog (smo [ke] + [fo] g), quasar (quas [i] + [stell] ar) and in the stagflation cast (stag [nation] + [in] flation, on the English stagflation model). These acronyms not only do not contain periods, but are written in lowercase; only in a few cases are they proper names and therefore have a capital letter. A further evolution of acronyms is the fusion of a greater number of words with suppression of syllables in more varied positions, as in postelegraphonic (post [ale] + telegra [fig] + [tele] phonic); also in this case we speak of macedonia words; the process is also called synchrasis.

Other linguistic phenomena

Recursive acronym

A recursive acronym is an acronym that contains itself within its writing in full. There are div