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Difference Between Abbreviation and Acronym

acronym_dictionaryAbbreviation vs Acronym
The short form of a word, name or a phrase is called an abbreviation and an acronym. Generally they are formed from the first letter of the basic word. The difference between an abbreviation and an acronym is that an abbreviation is the articulated form of the original word whereas the acronym is a form of new word. For example: UNESCO, Laser, Radar are some of the acronyms whereas UK, USA, CBI are the abbreviations. An acronym Radar means Radio detection and ranging. This is totally a new description of the original word Radar. An abbreviation UK stands for United Kingdom, which is just the description of the old word only. Therefore one can say that all acronyms can be abbreviations, but all abbreviations cannot be acronyms.

An acronym is formed from the first letters of a series of words. For example: AIDS; it is formed from the words Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome whereas, an abbreviation may not include only the first letter from the words. For example: St.; It is formed from the word Saint. Dr.; it is formed from Doctor. Another difference between an abbreviation and acronym is that an acronym is pronounced as a word. For example: NATO, it is formed from the word North Atlantic Treaty Organization, but is pronounced as a new word whereas an abbreviation is pronounced as a separate letter. For example: BBC; British Broadcasting Corporation. It is spoken as B, B, C letter by letter. Similarly I.Q. abbreviated as intelligent quotient and pronounced letter I and letter Q.

Another difference between an abbreviation and an acronym is that an abbreviation contains periods in between for example I.D, Mr., I.Q etc. Whereas an acronym has no periods in between, it is a short description. An abbreviation is just a short compact version of the word whereas an acronym consists of words giving concepts or catchy phrases. For example dept. is the short form of department whereas TEAM denotes together everyone achieves more. An acronym is a combination of different letters denoting different words whereas an abbreviation is a concise form with one word and few letters. Acronyms can be of several types such as letter type; example laser, syllable type; example sysadmin and a hybrid of two; example WaSP, whereas abbreviations consist of short words. It can vary sometimes like ‘sgt’ for sergeant.

1. An acronym is a short form of a word, name or phrase formed from the first letters of the series of words.
2. An abbreviation is also a condensed form of a word and an articulated form of the original word.
3. An acronym is pronounced as a new word signifying some concept.
4. An abbreviation is pronounced as the original word letter by letter.

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  1. This is a very nice explanation.thanks

  2. Thanks a lot,,it is good job,,nothing which is very important than to say thanks

  3. I understand now, gets tricky. I’ve read it two different times. Once when the t.v. was on, and just now in complete silence. I love grammar, writing, and learning how to make the perfect paragraph. I know a alot about grammar, but have alot to learn. Especially
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  4. Your explanation is very resourceful to me.


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