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Acronyms - Use of Acronyms

Jim Wynne

Staff member
NOUN: A word formed from the initial letters of a name, such as WAC for Women's Army Corps, or by combining initial letters or parts of a series of words, such as radar for radio detecting and ranging.

(Emphasis added)
From the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition.

Frequently misused to describe any abbreviation or initialism. "Acronym" properly refers to a word. "Scuba" (Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus) is an acronym; "SPC" is not.
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A long time ago, a client of mine had a book full of acronyms. It was called the "Acronym Survival Kit" - "ASK"

"If you don't know what one is, just ASK"

Jim Wynne

Staff member
This is an old post, and since 2005, the definition of "acronym" has generally expanded to include constructions that were formerly identified as initialisms. This is a loss for the language, and it came about mainly due to people wanting to use impressive-sounding words without finding out what they actually mean.


We have a process to deviate from approved process..and a method of determining at what level the deviation must be approved (General Manager, Division Manager, or Division COO). What we do is use a matrix to determine the risk based on a number of factors; the matrix provide a number...the DARN Number (DARN = Deviation Approval Rank Number). We used DARN as we couldn't come up with an acronym for DAMN!


Quite Involved in Discussions
I cant stand acronyms. They serve no useful purpose at all.

American company's are polluted with them and they are now polluting Australia with them.

One day; someone will die because they did not know what an acronym meant. Mark my words on this.

I can only conclude that senior management must regard whole words as prohibitively expensive to speak and write. I can find no other explanation for it.
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