Dictionary.com Word FAQs
What are the different types of abbreviation?
Abbreviations are commonly formed by omission of letters from one or more parts of the whole: doz, dz (dozen). Sometimes abbreviations are created by substitution or other alteration in the part or parts retained: oz (ounce), Xmas (Christmas). A plural abbreviation may be formed by doubling initial letters: mss (manuscripts), pp (pages). An acronym is an abbreviation formed from the initial letters of the various word elements and read as a single word: AIDS, NATO. An initialism is an abbreviation formed from the initial letters of its various word elements, but it is read as a series of letters: ATM, BBC. A contraction refers to a type of abbreviation that includes the first and last letters of a full word: amt., Mr. Sometimes the terms apheresis, aphesis, and clipping are used to describe different types of abbreviation. Apheresis is the dropping of a first syllable or syllables from a word: bus (omnibus), phone (telephone). Aphesis is the dropping of an unstressed vowel from the beginning of a word: 'cause (because), 'cept (except). A clipped form indicates the dropping of an end of a word: deli (delicatessen), fan (fanatic). A blend or portmanteau word is made from two or more other words: brunch. Signs and symbols are sometimes referred to as abbreviations. Abbreviations are often classified into three types: 1) letter-based (AA), 2) syllable-based (con.), and hybrid (Ph.D., B. Com.).