acronyms list

Acronyms List

Acronyms List Including Popular Abbreviations, Initialisms 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 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. *An initialism is an acronym where the letters which form the abbreviation are pronounced as letters, for example FYI.

ADDucation Tips: Click column headings with arrows to sort the acronyms list alphabetically. Click the + icon to show any hidden columns. Set your browser to full screen and zoom out to display as many columns as possible. Start typing in the Filter table box to find anything inside the table of this acronyms list.

AcronymsAbbreviation / Stands For / Trivia, Explanations and Origins…CategoryInitialism*Brand?Used as Word?
3M3 Ms origin is: Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing CompanyWordplayInitialism
A.D.From Latin anno domini – “in the year of the Lord”LatinInitialism
a.m.From Latin ante meridiem (“before midday”)LatinInitialism
AdidasOriginated from the name of the Adidas sportswear founder Adi Dassler, the younger brother of Rudolf Dassler who founded the Puma sportswear brand.WordplayBrand
AEGFrom the German “Allgemeine Elektricitäts-Gesellschaft“, the literal translation being General Electric CompanyAbbreviationInitialismBrand
ALDIFrom the name of founders Albrecht + DiscountWordplayBrand
AMDAdvanced Micro DevicesAbbreviationInitialismBrand
ARALFrom Aromatics and Aliphatics (two gasoline components)WordplayBrand
ASAPAs Soon As PossibleAbbreviationSometimesSometimes
ASDADerived abbreviation of Asquith supermarkets and Associated Dairies following their merger in 1965AbbreviationBrand
AudiLatin translation of the German company founder’s name Horch (hark, as in listen)Latin
AWOLAbsent Without Official Leave or Absent Without Leave – commonly used in the militaryAbbreviation, Acronym
BASEBASE jumping, stands for Building, Antenna, Span, and Earth jumpingAbbreviation, AcronymUsed as word
BASFFrom the German company Badische Anilin und Soda Fabriken (Baden Aniline and Soda Factory)AbbreviationSometimesBrand
BBCBritish Broadcasting CorporationAbbreviation, AcronymInitialismBrand
BMWBayerische Motoren Werke (Bavarian Motor Works)Abbreviation, AcronymInitialismBrand
BRICBrazil, Russia, India, China, a grouping acronym, commonly used in economics: the BRIC countries, aka “Big Four”Abbreviation, Acronym, economicsNo
CARECARE packages provided food across Europe after World War II distributed by the Cooperative for Assistance and Relief EverywhereAbbreviation, AcronymUsed as word
C&AInitials of the clothing shop founders Clemens & August BrenninkmeijerWordplayInitialismBrand
CVResumé – from the latin curriculum vitae (“course of life”)LatinInitialism
DINDeutsche Industrie Norm, the German standards organization which has been mostly replaced by ISOAbbreviation, Acronym
DIYDo It Yourself – Home improvement, more recently trending: GSIGet Someone InAbbreviation, AcronymInitialism
DOADead On Arrival OR Dead Or Alive – also a popular TV crime seriesAbbreviation
E-FITIsn’t an acronym for photofit but the name of the computer program Electronic Facial Identification Technique which generates composite pictures of police suspectsAbbreviation, AcronymUsed as word
e.g.From the Latin exempli gratia meaning for exampleLatinInitialism
EMIElectric 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, AcronymInitialismBrand
ESAEuropean Space AgencyAbbreviationSometimes
ESPExtrasensory Perception in parapsychology, Electronic Stability Program in motoring, 3 character token for Espana (Spain)AbbreviationInitialism
EUThe European Union, check out our dedicated list of EU Acronyms and jargon…AbbreviationInitialism
Frequently Asked Question/s is one of the most popular acronyms in use today and is often used in conjunction with Q&AAbbreviationInitialism
FYIFor Your Information this is an acronyms list!AbbreviationInitialism
GDPRGeneral Data Protection Regulation, 2018 EU data privacy lawAbbreviationInitialism
GestapoAcronym for the Geheime Staatspolizei (which means “secret state police”) formed in Germany in 1933.
Abbreviation, AcronymUsed as word
GKGeneral Knowledge, often written in lowercase: gkAbbreviation
H&MNamed after the Swedish founders of clothing chain Hennes & MauritzAbbreviationInitialismBrand
HariboFrom the founder’s name Hans Riegel (of) BonnAbbreviation, AcronymBrand
HP / BHPHorse Power and Brake Horse Power – often used with car engines. HP sauce (Houses of Parliament sauce) is popular in the UKAbbreviationInitialism
HTTP / HTTPSHyperText 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.AbbreviationInitialism est – Latin for that isLatinInitialismBrand
IBMInternational Business MachinesAbbreviation, AcronymInitialism
IKEAFounder’s initials Ingvar Kamprad and Elmtaryd Agunnaryd – the place he grew up.Abbreviation, AcronymBrand
INRIIesus Nazarene Rex Iudaeorum (Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews)Latin
IOCInternational Olympic CommitteeAbbreviation, AcronymInitialism
ISBNInternational Standard Book NumberAbbreviation, AcronymInitialism
ISOInternational Organization for Standardization / International Standards OrganizationAbbreviation, Acronym
JVCJapan Victor CompanyAbbreviationInitialismBrand
LaserLight Amplification by Stimulated Emission of RadiationAbbreviation, AcronymUsed as word
LegoAbbreviation of Danish for “play well” (Leg godt)Abbreviation, AcronymBrand
LHCLarge Hadron Collider (27 km long particle accelerator at CERN in Geneva)Abbreviation
LOLText speak chat acronym of “Laughing Out Loud” or less commonly “Lots Of Love”Chat
MBAMaster of Business AdministrationAbbreviationInitialism
N.B.From the Latin nota bene – note wellLatinInitialism
NASANational Aeronautics and Space AdministrationAbbreviation, Acronym
NIMBYNot In My Back YardAbbreviation, Acronym
NSANational Security AgencyAbbreviationInitialism
OEEC Organization for European Economic CooperationAbbreviationInitialism
OMGText speak chat acronym of Oh My God, used to express disbelief, surprise or excitementChatInitialism
OHCHR Office of the High Commissioner Human RightsAbbreviationInitialism
PDAPersonal Digital Assistant, that has fallen into disuse since cellphones/mobiles became commonplaceAbbreviationInitialism
p.m.From the Latin post meridiem (“after midday”)LatinInitialism scriptum = “after written”LatinInitialism
Q&AQuestions 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.AbbreviationInitialism
QantasFrom Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial ServicesAbbreviation, AcronymBrand
QEDQuod Erat Demonstrandum = what was to be proved (by Euclid)LatinInitialism
QVCQuality, Value and ConvenienceAbbreviationInitialism
R.I.P.From the Latin requiescat in pace (rest in peace)LatinInitialism
RadarRadio Detection and Ranging (radio location and distance measurement)Abbreviation, AcronymUsed as word
RAMRandom Access Memory (computer memory)Abbreviation
RSVPRépondez s‘il vous plaît (French for please reply). Traditional on party and wedding invitationsFrench abbreviation and acronymInitialismUsed as word
SCUBASelf-Contained Underwater Breathing ApparatusAbbreviation, Acronym
SMSShort Message Service – Text messages via mobile/cell phonesAbbreviation, AcronymInitialism
S.P.Q.R.Senatus Populusque Romanum (inscription on Roman coats of arms: The Senate and People of Rome)LatinInitialism
SWATSpecial Weapons and Tactics. Typically specially trained teams within a Pollice forceAbbreviation, AcronymUsed as word
TchiboNamed after founder Carl Tchilinghiryan and the German word for beans: “Bohnen” (coffee beans in this case)WordplayBrand
TescoFounder Jack Cohen bought a shipment of tea from a T. E. Stockwell He combined the initials and letters to form TES-COWordplayBrand
TLAThree letter acronym for Three Letter Acronyms, there are 2, 4, 5 and longer acronyms but they don’t have acronymsAbbreviation, AcronymInitialism
UFOUnidentified 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, AcronymSometimes
UNUnited 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)AbbreviationInitialism
UNESCOUnited Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization aims to improve education worldwide by building schools, supplying equipment and training teachersAbbreviation, AcronymInitialism
UNEPUnited Nations Environment Programme, UN agency to coordinate environmental activitiesAbbreviationSometimes
UNFPAUnited Nations Population Fund, UN agency to help ensure every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person’s potential is fulfilledAbbreviation
UNICEFUnited Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund aka United Nations Children’s FundAbbreviation, AcronymInitialism
UNSGUnited Nations Secretary-GeneralAbbreviationInitialism
URLUniform Resource Locator more commonly referred to as a “web address”AbbreviationInitialism
VolvoFrom Latin meaning I rollLatinBrand
VWFrom the German Volkswagen literally meaning people’s carWordplayInitialismBrand
WHOWorld Health Organization, a UN specialized agency for international public health dedicated to the attainment by all people of the highest possible level of healthAbbreviation, AcronymInitialism
wwwWord Wide Web – prefix for website addresses (URLs) which is often implied, or no longer needed, to reach a websiteAbbreviation, Acronym, InternetInitialism
YKKYoshida Kogyo Kabushikikaisha (Yoshida Company Limited) – check out the make of your zip fasteners! (zips, zippers)Abbreviation, AcronymInitialismBrand

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.

ADDucation Acronyms List Related Pages

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