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[ak-ruh-nim] /ˈæk rə nɪm/
a word formed from the initial letters or groups of letters of words in a set phrase or series of words and pronounced as a separate word, as Wac from Women's Army Corps, OPEC from Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, or loran from long-range navigation.
a set of initials representing a name, organization, or the like, with each letter pronounced separately; an initialism.
an acrostic.
verb (used with object)
to make an acronym of:
The committee's name has been acronymed MIKE.
Origin of acronym
1940-45; acr- + -onym
Related forms
acronymic, acronymous
[uh-kron-uh-muh s] /əˈkrɒn ə məs/ (Show IPA),
acronymically, adverb
Can be confused
Grammar note Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for acronymous


a pronounceable name made up of a series of initial letters or parts of words; for example, UNESCO for the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization
Derived Forms
acronymic, acronymous (əˈkrɒnɪməs) adjective
Word Origin
C20: from acro- + -onym
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for acronymous



word formed from the first letters of a series of words, 1943, American English coinage from acro- + -onym "name" (abstracted from homonym; see name (n.)). But for cabalistic esoterica and acrostic poetry, the practice was practically non-existent before 20c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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acronymous in Culture
acronym [(ak-ruh-nim)]

A word formed by combining the beginning letters of a name or phrase, as in WASP for white Anglo-Saxon Protestant, or by combining the initial syllables of a series of words, as in radar, which stands for radio detecting and ranging.

Note: Acronyms are often less clumsy than the complete expressions they represent and are easier to write and remember.
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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