A word (as NATO, radar, or snafu) formed from the initial letter or letters of each of the successive parts or major parts of a compound term.

Used only in situations where you wish to confuse, impress (When you really do not), or if you're just too lazy to say it all. There is a plague on the english language adding complexity where is is not needed.

Recently (Which is a very relative word) A LOT of acronyms have apeared in the tech industry, adding confusion to a lot of un-educated users, for example "My 466 MHz with 128 Meg's of SDRAM running RH Linux 6.1 needs to be fixed, everything from its AGP video card right to its CPU. My CD-RW is broken, however my original CD-ROM works fine. The software end is no better, KDE is evil, as is GNOME. I'm considering swiching to Win98 & LS, however I'd lose my settings for my HTTPd & FTPd...." (It goes on and on.... For example: In Programming: HTML, XHTML, CSS, OBJ, XML, XUL, C, C++, ASM, VB, JS, VBS, VBX, VBA, MOD, LISP, COBOL.... and so on). You (and I as well) should not blame just the tech fields for the acronym dilemma (they are only a part), legal fields, and business fields are also large contributors (Example: AAC, APC, LLC, etc).

Acronyms are a tool to simplify and not confuse, it should be kept that way.
A Contrived Regime Of Nomenclature Yielding Mnemonics.
-- David Given, on alt.folklore.computers (probably not original).
Many folks think that any string of initial letters qualifies as an acronym. Not so.

The result must form a word. Or at least, be pronounceable as a word.

Thus, WTF is not an acronym, but SCSI is. Apple may say SCSI is pronounced 'sexy', but most of the rest of the world says SCSI is pronounced 'scuzzy'.

Very similar to abbr, acronym is an HTML tag that is used to, specify an acronym within an HTML document. This seldom used tag, allows user agents, spell checkers, text-to-speech applications, translation programs, and search engines to utilize and navigate your web pages easier. (Please read the other writeups in this node if you do not know the definition of the word "acronym".)

See also: abbr


While it technically does not have any required HTML attributes, it is fairly useless without the title attribute. The title attribute allows you to specify what the acronym actually stands for. Other attributes include:


To use the acronym tag, simply place opening and closing HTML tags around the letters, and use the title attribute to specify the long description of what each of the letters stand for (it's a good idea to also add the "lang" attribute). For example:

The <acronym lang="en-us" title="North Atlantic Treaty Organisation">NATO</acronym> airplane uses <acronym lang="en-us" title="RAdio Detection And Ranging">RADAR</acronym> to navigate.

On browsers that support this tag, this will typically cause a tooltip to appear containing the title attribute when the mouse is placed over the words "NATO" or "RADAR".

Everything2 Support?

E2 does provide limited support for the acronym tag. In addition to the tag itself, Everything2 allows the use of the "lang" and "title" attributes. It should be noted that there is a bug in how E2 parses the title attribute for some tags (including acronym), so if your title contains spaces, you may only see the first word. Below is how your browser displays the example above here on Everything2:

The NATO airplane uses RADAR to navigate.

If you would like to see how the example above would work without the E2 bug, copy and paste it into your Notelet Nodelet.

Common Browser Implementations*

Most web browsers support this tag, as it has been around for several years and is part of the W3C's HTML 4 specification. In addition to tooltips, Mozilla and Netscape display a dotted line under the acronym. Opera provides a similar implementation. Internet Explorer simply provides a tooltip, but provides no visual clue that there is something special about the word(s).

Previous HTML Tag: abbr
Next HTML Tag: address (next E2 supported HTML tag: b)
See Also: HTML tags and HTML attributes

* Please feel free to send me information about how other browsers implement this tag.

Acronyms are what the engineers of NASA refer to as high bandwidth communication.

Communicating complex terms in acronyms saves time, and therefore bandwidth.

Acronyms are a linguistic feature of modern European languages (English, French, German, etc) in which an abbreviation is formed from the initial letters or syllables of several words and pronounced as a normal word. Acronyms are written in upper case except for those acronyms which entered popular consciousness before the concept of the acronym did (i.e. laser and radar).

Prior to the second world war acronyms were limited to the military, but the close working relationship between the American and British military and scientific establishments incubated during the war led to the use of acronyms spreading from the military and they are now widespread in organizational, scientific and military documentation.

A great site for generating real looking but fake acronyms is: http://brunching.com/toys/toy-acronymer.html
and there is a web page that extracts acronym definitions from other web pages at http://cadia.cs.umass.edu/irug/acro/getacros.html
There's another system (not on line) described here: http://www.cs.waikato.ac.nz/~say1/pubs/tech_report01.ps.gz

There are also backronyms, which are post-hoc acronym meanings for words. recursive acronyms are particularly interesting, but they appear to be only generated in a self-conscious fashion. At the time fo writing the author was unaware of any co-recursive acronyms.

No need to call in the straight dope: I gots your etymology right here:

From the Greek akros, meaning "extreme" and onuma, meaning "name". cf. synonym, antonym, etc. etc.

So, what we're dealing with here is an "extreme name", which I think is kind of nice. Instead of just picking a random name for something, you go to the extreme lengths of trying to make the initials of a descriptive sentence form a pronouncable word. Very much in the spirit of extreme sports.

Sorry to disappoint those of you who were hoping that the word was in itself an acronym. And while we're on the subject, there is no Santa Claus, and fuck is not an acronym of "For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge". Sorry.

Some info gleaned from The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Third Edition. Copyright © 1996, 1992 by Houghton Mifflin Company.

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