acronyms list

Acronyms List

Acronyms List Including Popular Abbreviations, Chat, Latin and Wordplay

Generally acronyms are a shorter and convenient way to abbreviate words by taking the first letter of each word to form the acronym. Acronyms are commonly used in text messages, creating memorable names for brands, organizations and by groups of people who regularly use the same phrases – like the military. Acronyms are only useful when everyone understands (or doesn’t need to understand) what they stand for otherwise it’s jargon. ADDucation’s acronyms list includes acronyms which have become so popular the original abbreviation, Latin or wordplay is often forgotten. *An initialism is an acronym where the letters which form the abbreviation are pronounced as letters, for example FYI.

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Acronyms Abbreviation / Stands For / Trivia, Explanations and Origins… Category Initialism* Brand? Used as Word?
3M From the 3 Ms of: Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing Company Wordplay Initialism
A.D. From the Latin anno domini – “in the year of the Lord” Latin Initialism
a.m. From the Latin ante meridiem (“before midday”) Latin Initialism
Adidas From the name of sports gear founder Adi Dassler Wordplay Brand
AEG From the German “Allgemeine Elektricitäts-Gesellschaft“, the literal translation being General Electric Company Abbreviation Initialism Brand
ALDI From the name of founders Albrecht + Discount Wordplay Brand
AMD Advanced Micro Devices Abbreviation Initialism Brand
ARAL From Aromatics and Aliphatics (two gasoline components) Wordplay Brand
ASAP As Soon As Possible Abbreviation Sometimes Sometimes
ASDA Derived abbreviation of Asquith supermarkets and Associated Dairies following their merger in 1965 Abbreviation Brand
Audi Latin translation of the German company founder’s name Horch (hark, as in listen) Latin
AWOL Absent Without Official Leave or Absent Without Leave – commonly used in the military Abbreviation, Acronym
BASE BASE jumping, stands for Building, Antenna, Span, and Earth jumping Abbreviation, Acronym Used as word
BASF From the German company Badische Anilin und Soda Fabriken (Baden Aniline and Soda Factory) Abbreviation Sometimes Brand
BBC British Broadcasting Corporation Abbreviation, Acronym Initialism Brand
BMW Bayerische Motoren Werke (Bavarian Motor Works) Abbreviation, Acronym Initialism Brand
BRIC Brazil, Russia, India, China, a grouping acronym, commonly used in economics: the BRIC countries, aka “Big Four” Abbreviation, Acronym, economics No
CARE CARE packages provided food across Europe after World War II distributed by the Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere Abbreviation, Acronym Used as word
C&A Initials of the clothing shop founders Clemens & August Brenninkmeijer Wordplay Initialism Brand
CV Resumé – from the latin curriculum vitae (“course of life”) Latin Initialism
DIN Deutsche Industrie Norm, the German standards organization which has been mostly replaced by ISO Abbreviation, Acronym
DIY Do It Yourself – Home improvement, more recently trending: GSIGet Someone In Abbreviation, Acronym Initialism
DOA Dead On Arrival OR Dead Or Alive – also a popular TV crime series Abbreviation
E-FIT Isn’t an acronym for photofit but the name of the computer program Electronic Facial Identification Technique which generates composite pictures of police suspects Abbreviation, Acronym Used as word
e.g. From the Latin exempli gratia meaning for example Latin Initialism
ESA European Space Agency Abbreviation Sometimes
ESP Extrasensory Perception in parapsychology, Electronic Stability Program in motoring, 3 character token for Espana (Spain) Abbreviation Initialism
EU The European Union, check out our dedicated list of EU Acronyms and jargon… Abbreviation Initialism
Frequently Asked Question, Frequently Asked Questions Abbreviation Initialism
FYI For Your Information this is an acronyms list! Abbreviation Initialism
GDPR General Data Protection Regulation, 2018 EU data privacy law Abbreviation Initialism
Gestapo Acronym for the Geheime Staatspolizei (which means “secret state police”) formed in Germany in 1933.
Abbreviation, Acronym Used as word
GK General Knowledge, often written in lowercase: gk Abbreviation
H&M Named after the Swedish founders of clothing chain Hennes & Mauritz Abbreviation Initialism Brand
Haribo From the founder’s name Hans Riegel (of) Bonn Abbreviation, Acronym Brand
HP / BHP Horse Power and Brake Horse Power – often used with car engines. HP sauce (Houses of Parliament sauce) is popular in the UK Abbreviation Initialism
HTTP / HTTPS HyperText Transfer Protocol (Secure),  http is a communications protocol to display webpages in web browsers. The https protocol adds encryption for secure server to browser communication – look for the green padlock in your browser. Abbreviation Initialism
i.e. id est – Latin for that is Latin Initialism Brand
IBM International Business Machines Abbreviation, Acronym Initialism
IKEA Founder’s initials Ingvar Kamprad and Elmtaryd Agunnaryd – the place he grew up. Abbreviation, Acronym Brand
INRI Iesus Nazarene Rex Iudaeorum (Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews) Latin
IOC International Olympic Committee Abbreviation, Acronym Initialism
ISBN International Standard Book Number Abbreviation, Acronym Initialism
ISO International Organization for Standardization / International Standards Organization Abbreviation, Acronym
JVC Japan Victor Company Abbreviation Initialism Brand
Laser Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation Abbreviation, Acronym Used as word
Lego Abbreviation of Danish for “play well” (Leg godt) Abbreviation, Acronym Brand
LHC Large Hadron Collider (27 km long particle accelerator at CERN in Geneva) Abbreviation
LOL Text speak chat acronym of “Laughing Out Loud” or less commonly “Lots Of Love” Chat
MBA Master of Business Administration Abbreviation Initialism
N.B. From the Latin nota bene – note well Latin Initialism
NASA National Aeronautics and Space Administration Abbreviation, Acronym
NIMBY Not In My Back Yard Abbreviation, Acronym
NSA National Security Agency Abbreviation Initialism
OEEC  Organization for European Economic Cooperation Abbreviation Initialiasm
OMG Text speak chat acronym of Oh My God, used to express disbelief, surprise or excitement Chat Initialism
OHCHR Office of the High Commissioner Human Rights Abbreviation Initialism
PDA Personal Digital Assistant, that has fallen into disuse since cellphones/mobiles became commonplace Abbreviation Initialism
p.m. From the Latin post meridiem (“after midday”) Latin Initialism
P.S. post scriptum = “after written” Latin Initialism
Qantas From Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services Abbreviation, Acronym Brand
QED Quod Erat Demonstrandum = what was to be proved (by Euclid) Latin Initialism
QVC Quality, Value and Convenience Abbreviation Initialism
R.I.P. From the Latin requiescat in pace (rest in peace) Latin Initialism
Radar Radio Detection and Ranging (radio location and distance measurement) Abbreviation, Acronym Used as word
RAM Random Access Memory (computer memory) Abbreviation
RSVP Répondez s‘il vous plaît (French for please reply). Traditional on party and wedding invitations French abbreviation and acronym Initialism Used as word
SCUBA Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus Abbreviation, Acronym
SMS Short Message Service – Text messages via mobile/cell phones Abbreviation, Acronym Initialism
S.P.Q.R. Senatus Populusque Romanum (inscription on Roman coats of arms: The Senate and People of Rome) Latin Initialism
SWAT Special Weapons and Tactics. Typically specially trained teams within a Pollice force Abbreviation, Acronym Used as word
Tchibo Named after founder Carl Tchilinghiryan and the German word for beans: “Bohnen” (coffee beans in this case) Wordplay Brand
Tesco Founder Jack Cohen bought a shipment of tea from a T. E. Stockwell He combined the initials and letters to form TES-CO Wordplay Brand
TLA Three letter acronym for Three Letter Acronyms, there are 2, 4, 5 and longer acronyms but they don’t have acronyms Abbreviation, Acronym Initialism
UFO Unidentified Flying Object, Edward J. Ruppelt came up with this acronym which he pronounced “Yoo-fo” to to replace “flying saucers”. Oddly (for an acronym) most people still  pronounce it  “U-F-O” Abbreviation, Acronym Sometimes
UN United Nations, formed by 51 nations on 24th October 1945, after World War II, to help maintain world peace. Effectively replaced the earlier League of Nations (LN) Abbreviation Initialism
UNESCO United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization aims to improve education worldwide by building schools, supplying equipment and training teachers Abbreviation, Acronym Initialism
UNEP United Nations Environment Programme, UN agency to coordinate environmental activities Abbreviation Sometimes
UNFPA United Nations Population Fund, UN agency to help ensure every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person’s potential is fulfilled Abbreviation
UNICEF United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund aka United Nations Children’s Fund Abbreviation, Acronym Initialism
UNSG United Nations Secretary-General Abbreviation Initialism
URL Uniform Resource Locator more commonly referred to as a “web address” Abbreviation Initialism
Volvo From Latin meaning I roll Latin Brand
VW From the German Volkswagen literally meaning people’s car Wordplay Initialism Brand
WHO World Health Organization, a UN specialized agency for international public health dedicated to the attainment by all people of the highest possible level of health Abbreviation, Acronym Initialism
www Word Wide Web – prefix for website addresses (URLs) which is often implied, or no longer needed, to reach a website Abbreviation, Acronym, Internet Initialism
YKK Yoshida Kogyo Kabushikikaisha (Yoshida Company Limited) – check out the make of your zip fasteners! (zips, zippers) Abbreviation, Acronym Initialism Brand

ADDucation Famous Quotes About Acronyms:

The World Wide Web is the only thing I know of whose shortened form takes three times longer to say than what it’s short for” –  Douglas Adams in The Independent on Sunday, 1999

ADDucation’s acronyms list covers the basics but dictionary style websites like are devoted to obscure and specialized acronyms, abbreviations and urban slang.

ADDucation Acronyms List Related Pages

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