acronyms list

Acronyms List 🧠

Acronyms List 🧠 Includes Popular Abbreviations, Initialisms & 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 to create memorable names for brands, organizations and 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 that the original abbreviation, Latin or wordplay is often forgotten.

  • ADDucation’s acronyms list compiled by Joe Connor, last updated 12 Feb 2021.

ADDucation Tips: Click column headings with arrows to sort the acronyms list alphabetically. Reload page for original sort order. Resize your browser to full screen and/or zoom out to display as many columns as possible. Click the ➕ icon to reveal any hidden columns. Start typing in the Filter table box to find anything inside this acronyms list. Key: An [1]initialism is an acronym where the letters, which form the abbreviation, are pronounced as letters. For example FYI.

Acronyms Abbreviation / Stands For / Trivia, Explanations and Origins… Category [1]Initialism Brand? Used as a Word?
3M 3 Ms origin is: Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing Company. Wordplay. Initialism.
A.D. From Latin anno domini – “in the year of the Lord”. Latin. Initialism.
a.m. From Latin ante meridiem (“before midday”). Latin. Initialism.
Adidas Originated from the name of the Adidas sportswear founder Adi Dassler, the younger brother of Rudolf Dassler who founded the Puma sportswear brand. Adidas is pronounced AH-dee-duss. Test your brand name pronunciations. 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.
AMPAS American Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Also known as “the Academy” or “Motion Picture Academy” famous for its annual Academy Awards “The Oscars”. Abbreviation. Initialism.
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.
BAFTA The British Academy of Film and Television Arts is an arts charity. It holds separate annual awards ceremonies, called “the BAFTAs” for film and TV to reward  best works, of any nationality, in the previous year. Abbreviation, acronym. Initialism. Used as a word.
BASE BASE jumping, stands for Building, Antenna, Span, and Earth jumping. Abbreviation, acronym. Used as a 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 a 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 a word.
e.g. From the Latin exempli gratia meaning for example. Latin. Initialism.
EMI Electric and Musical Industries. Launched 1931 at Abbey Studios and broke up in 2012. EMI Records was the Beatles record label until 1968 when they formed Apple Records. Abbreviation, acronym. Initialism. Brand.
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/s is one of the most popular initialisms in our acronyms list. Widely used in conjunction with Q&A. Abbreviation. Initialism.
FODMAP Fermentable Oligo-, Di-, Mono-saccharides And Polyols. Acronym for short chain carbohydrates which can cause digestive problems and IBS which is also in this acronyms list. 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 a 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.
IBS Irritable Bowel  Syndrome. General term for symptoms including abdominal pain and changes to normal pattern of bowel movements. 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 a 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 in the USA. Abbreviation. Initialism.
OEEC  Organization for European Economic Cooperation. Abbreviation. Initialism.
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.
Q&A Questions and Answers. Q&A format is commonly used in website FAQs. “Question and answer” sessions, between a speaker or panel and an audience remains a popular way to exchange information and opinions. One of the most commonly used abbreviations in our acronyms list. Abbreviation. Initialism.
Qantas From Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services. Qantas is an Australian airline. Abbreviation, acronym. Brand.
QED Quod Erat Demonstrandum. Latin for “what was to be proved” by Euclid. Latin. Initialism.
QVC Quality, Value and Convenience. A TV shopping channel. 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 a word.
RAM Random Access Memory. Memory chips in computers. Abbreviation.
RSVP Répondez s‘il vous plaît (French for please reply). Traditional on party and wedding invitations. French abbreviation and acronym. Initialism. Used as a 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 which means “The Senate and People of Rome.” Latin. Initialism.
SWAT Special Weapons and Tactics. Typically specially trained teams within a Police force. Abbreviation, acronym. Used as a 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 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 World Wide Web. Prefix for website addresses (see also URL) which is often implied, or no longer needed, to reach a website. Oddly saying “double u, double u, double u” takes longer to pronounce than “world wide web”. 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 is a dictionary style website devoted to obscure and specialized acronyms, abbreviations and urban slang.

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