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What is an acronym?

We explain what an acronym is, a list of examples of this type of abbreviation and what are its differences with an acronym.

  1. What is an acronym?

An acronym means an abbreviation or set of acronyms that, due to its frequent use, ends up being incorporated as another word, to the point that many people ignore its origin or the exact meaning of the terms it groups together.

For example, the term  laser  comes from the acronym in English: Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission  of Radiation  ( i.e .:  Light  Amplification by Stimulated Emission of  Radiation ), but is ordinarily used as a common word (note even how it accentuates in Spanish).   

Often they are words formed by fragments of two or more words, so they are not usually written in capital letters , as in the case of initials or initials, but in the ordinary sense of a common word. But the meaning of the acronym will be equal to the sum of the meanings of the words or terms that compose it.

Sometimes you can also speak of retro –  acronyms , that is: words of origin and ordinary use, which are reinterpreted as acronyms due to their specific context of use.

Such is the case of the  USA PATRIOT Act  or American Patriotic Law, which after being formulated was understood as an acronym for  Uniting  and  Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate  Tools Required  to  Intercept  and  Obstruct Terrorism  (that is: “Unite and Strengthen United States Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstacle Terrorism ”).    
 

Acronyms  are not too common in the Spanish language , although they do have important historical precedents, such as the emergence of the pronoun  you , whose origin comes from the acronym vs (“your mercy”), contracted in  vust d .

  1. Acronym list

A list of examples of acronyms can be the following:

  • Laser . English:  L ight  A mplification by S timulated E mission  of  R adiation  ( “Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation”).   
  • Unasur . U nion  Na tions  South American.
  • Celarg . C asa de  E studios  The Tinoamerican  R ómulo  G allegos.
  • Emotícono . From English:  Emot ion  +  Icon  (emotion + icon), and then Castilianized.
  • UFO . O bject  V dildo  N or  I dentificado.
  • Radar . From English:  Ra gave  D etection a nd  R anging  (“Radio distance detection and measurement”). 
  • AIDS . S índrome of  I nmuno d efficiency  A dquirida.
  • Led . English:  L ight  E mitting D IODE  ( “Light Emitting Diode”). 
  • Computer . Formed by the junction of  Inform ation autom atic .
  • Unesco . From English:  U nited  N ations  E ducational,  S cientific  and  C ultural  O rganization
     (“United Nations Cultural, Scientific and Educational Organization”).
  • Midi . English:  M usical  I nstruments  D igital  I nterface  ( “Musical Instrument Digital Interface”).
  • CEDEMUN . Ce nter of  De velopment  Mun icipal.
  • DNA  and  RNA . Á acid  D esoxir r ibonucleico and  Á acid  r ibo n ucleico respectively.
  • Concacaf . With federation  C entered to Mericana and  C aribbean of  A ssociations of  F útbol.
  • Conmebol . With federation Suda me ricana de Fút bol .
  • Hi-Fi . From English  Hi gh  Fi delity  (“High fidelity”).
  • Unicef . From English:  U nited N ations C hildren’s E mergency F und  (“United Nations Emergency Fund for Children).    
  1. Differences between acronyms and acronyms

While the acronym consists of grouping the initial letter of various terms to form an abbreviation that is written in uppercase (and often separated by periods), acronyms allow a much freer junction of word fragments, whether initial or not , to form a word whose terms are not separated and whose initial letter is only capitalized.

  • Acronym deed :  Sectur  ( Sec retat de  Tur ismo),  Telmex  ( Tel Efonía  Mex icana) or  CorpoMiranda  (Development Corporation of the Tuy River Basin “Francisco de Miranda”, SA).
  • Writing acronyms:  UN  ( O RGANIZATION  N ations  U ned),  HIV  ( V irus the  I nmunodeficiencia  H Umana) or  CD  (English:  C ompact  D isc , “compact disc”).

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