Acronym vs Abbreviation

Abbreviation refers to any shortened or contracted form of a word or phrase. Abbreviations can include initialisms, acronyms, contractions as well as some other abbreviated word forms. An acronym is an abbreviation where a new word is formed from the first letters of a series of words. All acronyms are abbreviations, but not every abbreviation is an acronym. This is the main difference between acronym and abbreviation. We will look at more differences between abbreviations and abbreviations in this article.

What is an acronym

An acronym is made from the first letters of a series of words. Acronym is often treated as a separate word. The main characteristic of an acronym is that it can be pronounced as if it were a separate word. Acronyms contain both vowels and consonants as vowels facilitate the pronunciation of the word.

For example, we refer to AIDS (Acquired Immuno-Deficiency Syndrome) as a single word, not individual letters. (/eɪdz/) Acronyms are usually written in capital letters. However, some acronyms have been in use for so long that they are accepted as common words. Words like (scuba – self-contained underwater breathing apparatus) and laser (light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation) are examples of such cases.

Some other examples of acronyms include,

NAT – North Atlantic Treaty Organization

RAM – Random Access Memory

FIFA – Fédération Internationale de Football Association (International Football Association)

OPEC -Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries

Lol, laugh out loud

UNICEF – The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund

RIP – Rest in Peace

SIM – Subscriber-identificatiemodule

In addition, not all abbreviations are formed by the initial letters; some abbreviations also contain non-initial letters. For example, the word radar is the shortened form of radio detection and range.

What is an abbreviation

Abbreviations are abbreviated forms of words or phrases. An abbreviation consists of a group of letters of the original word or phrase itself. A word can be abbreviated by using many techniques. Acronym, initialism and contractions are some of these methods.

An acronym is made from the first letters of a series of words. It is pronounced as a separate word.


An initialism is also made from the first letters of a series of words. The letters are pronounced separately.


A contraction is a shortened form of a word made by omitting certain sounds and letters.

Ex: Won’t, Isn’t, I have

In addition, abbreviations also include shortened forms such as Mr., Dr., Rev., Prof., St., etc.

Difference Between Acronym and Abbreviation


Acronym is a type of abbreviation where a new word is formed from the first letters of a series of words.

Abbreviation refers to any shortened or contracted form of a word or phrase.


Acronym is pronounced as a separate word.

Some abbreviations are not pronounced as new words.


All acronyms are abbreviations.

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