Gransnet forums


Acronyms vs Abbreviatons

(5 Posts)
Countryfan Thu 15-Dec-16 08:43:28

What is your understanding of an acronym?

I was always taught that it was an abbreviation which is pronounced as a word and is made up of the first letter of other words, for example, NASA and UNICEF. That being the case, BTW and FYI are not acronyms because they cannot be pronounced as words; they are abbreviations.

I seem to be out of step with others, including Gransnet, which has a forum tab headed 'Acronyms' followed by a list comprised almost entirely of abbreviations.

I would be interested to read if other grandparents have the same understanding and whether they think such things really matter these days.

DaphneBroon Thu 15-Dec-16 08:51:43

No comment on the use of Acronyms on GN but I loved the suggestions by Michael Deacon in today's DT that FO beside Boris Johnson's name on Theresa May's list might equally have indicated a less than polite suggestion or indeed Foreign Secretary, while whenever she reads what he is up to, her exclamations of FFS could be "fantastic foreign secretary " hmm

Try saying NHS or UN though..........hmm

Rinouchka Thu 15-Dec-16 09:07:55

Countryfan, I have the same understanding as you regarding acronyms. Abbreviations are shortened forms of a word,as the name suggests or, indeed, using the first letter of each word to form initials that do not necessarily read as another word. At what point initials began to be referred to as acronyms, I do not know.

Boris Johnson, FO is an abbreviation....albeit an imaginatively multi-interpretative one! Love it, DB.o
And then there are anagrams....

DaphneBroon Thu 15-Dec-16 09:34:18

Oops meant to say FO= Foreign Office
(It's thec way I tell them sad)!

JackyB Thu 15-Dec-16 11:53:46

I agree - and I have mentioned this in Pedants' Corner several times.

I have stopped looking at threads in Pedants' Corner now, though, because by about Post 20, the same niggles come up and all the threads are the same.

Another misnomer - just as acronyms are not acronyms, the Pedants' Corner can't be inhabited by true pedants or they would notice this.