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 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 this acronyms list. Key: An [1]initialism is an acronym where the letters, which form the abbreviation, are pronounced as letters. For example FYI.

AcronymsAbbreviation / Stands For / Trivia, Explanations and Origins…Category[1]InitialismBrand?Used as a Word?
3M3 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.
AdidasOriginated 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.
AEGFrom the German “Allgemeine Elektricitäts-Gesellschaft“, the literal translation being General Electric Company.Abbreviation.InitialismBrand.
ALDIFrom the name of founders Albrecht + Discount.Wordplay.Brand.
AMDAdvanced Micro Devices.Abbreviation.Initialism.Brand.
AMPASAmerican Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Also known as “the Academy” or “Motion Picture Academy” famous for its annual Academy Awards “The Oscars”.Abbreviation.Initialism.
ARALFrom Aromatics and Aliphatics (two gasoline components).Wordplay.Brand.
ASAPAs Soon As Possible.Abbreviation.Sometimes.Sometimes.
ASDADerived abbreviation of Asquith supermarkets and Associated Dairies following their merger in 1965.Abbreviation.Brand.
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 military.Abbreviation, acronym.
BAFTAThe 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.
BASEBASE jumping, stands for Building, Antenna, Span, and Earth jumping.Abbreviation, acronym.Used as a word.
BASFFrom the German company Badische Anilin und Soda Fabriken (Baden Aniline and Soda Factory).Abbreviation.Sometimes.Brand.
BBCBritish Broadcasting Corporation.Abbreviation, acronym.Initialism.Brand.
BMWBayerische Motoren Werke (Bavarian Motor Works).Abbreviation, acronym.Initialism.Brand.
BRICBrazil, Russia, India, China, a grouping acronym, commonly used in economics: the BRIC countries, aka “Big Four”.Abbreviation, acronym, economics.No.
CARECARE 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&AInitials of the clothing shop founders Clemens & August Brenninkmeijer.Wordplay.Initialism.Brand.
CVResumé – from the latin curriculum vitae (“course of life”).Latin.Initialism.
DINDeutsche Industrie Norm, the German standards organization which has been mostly replaced by ISO.Abbreviation, acronym.
DIYDo It Yourself – Home improvement, more recently trending: GSIGet Someone In.Abbreviation, acronym.Initialism.
DOADead On Arrival OR Dead Or Alive – also a popular TV crime series.Abbreviation.
E-FITIsn’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.
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, acronym.Initialism.Brand.
ESAEuropean Space Agency.Abbreviation.Sometimes.
ESPExtrasensory Perception in parapsychology, Electronic Stability Program in motoring, 3 character token for Espana (Spain).Abbreviation.Initialism.
EUThe 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.
FODMAPFermentable 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.
FYIFor Your Information this is an acronyms list!Abbreviation.Initialism.
GDPRGeneral Data Protection Regulation, 2018 EU data privacy law.Abbreviation.Initialism.
GestapoAcronym for the Geheime Staatspolizei (which means “secret state police”) formed in Germany in 1933.
Abbreviation, acronym.Used as a word.
GKGeneral Knowledge, often written in lowercase: gk.Abbreviation.
H&MNamed after the Swedish founders of clothing chain Hennes & Mauritz.Abbreviation.Initialism.Brand.
HariboFrom the founder’s name Hans Riegel (of) Bonn.Abbreviation, acronym.Brand.
HP / BHPHorse Power and Brake Horse Power – often used with car engines. HP sauce (Houses of Parliament sauce) is popular in the UK.Abbreviation.Initialism.
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.Abbreviation.Initialism. est – Latin for that is.Latin.Initialism.Brand.
IBMInternational Business Machines.Abbreviation, acronym.Initialism.
IBSIrritable Bowel  Syndrome. General term for symptoms including abdominal pain and changes to normal pattern of bowel movements.Abbreviation, acronym.Initialism.
IKEAFounder’s initials Ingvar Kamprad and Elmtaryd Agunnaryd – the place he grew up.Abbreviation, acronym.Brand.
INRIIesus Nazarene Rex Iudaeorum (Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews).Latin.
IOCInternational Olympic Committee.Abbreviation, AcronymInitialism.
ISBNInternational Standard Book Number.Abbreviation, acronym.Initialism.
ISOInternational Organization for Standardization / International Standards Organization.Abbreviation, acronym.
JVCJapan Victor Company.Abbreviation.Initialism.Brand.
LaserLight Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation.Abbreviation, acronym.Used as a word.
LegoAbbreviation of Danish for “play well” (Leg godt).Abbreviation, acronym.Brand.
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 Administration.Abbreviation.Initialism.
N.B.From the Latin nota bene – note well.Latin.Initialism.
NASANational Aeronautics and Space Administration.Abbreviation, acronym.
NIMBYNot In My Back Yard.Abbreviation, acronym.
NSANational Security Agency in the USA.Abbreviation.Initialism.
OEEC Organization for European Economic Cooperation.Abbreviation.Initialism.
OMGText 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.
PDAPersonal 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. scriptum = “after written”.Latin.Initialism.
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. One of the most commonly used abbreviations in our acronyms list.Abbreviation.Initialism.
QantasFrom Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services. Qantas is an Australian airline.Abbreviation, acronym.Brand.
QEDQuod Erat Demonstrandum. Latin for “what was to be proved” by Euclid.Latin.Initialism.
QVCQuality, Value and Convenience. A TV shopping channel.Abbreviation.Initialism.
R.I.P.From the Latin requiescat in pace (rest in peace).Latin.Initialism.
RadarRadio Detection and Ranging (radio location and distance measurement).Abbreviation, acronym.Used as a word.
RAMRandom Access Memory. Memory chips in computers.Abbreviation.
RSVPRépondez s‘il vous plaît (French for please reply). Traditional on party and wedding invitations.French abbreviation and acronym.Initialism.Used as a word.
SCUBASelf-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus.Abbreviation, acronym.
SMSShort 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.
SWATSpecial Weapons and Tactics. Typically specially trained teams within a Police force.Abbreviation, acronym.Used as a word.
TchiboNamed after founder Carl Tchilinghiryan and the German word for beans: “Bohnen” (coffee beans in this case).Wordplay.Brand.
TescoFounder Jack Cohen bought a shipment of tea from a T. E. Stockwell He combined the initials and letters to form TES-CO.Wordplay.Brand.
TLAThree letter acronym for Three Letter Acronyms, there are 2, 4, 5 and longer acronyms but they don’t have acronyms.Abbreviation, acronym.Initialism.
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, acronym.Sometimes.
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).Abbreviation.Initialism.
UNESCOUnited Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization aims to improve education worldwide by building schools, supplying equipment and training teachers.Abbreviation, acronym.Initialism.
UNEPUnited Nations Environment Programme, UN agency to coordinate environmental activities.Abbreviation.Sometimes.
UNFPAUnited 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.
UNICEFUnited Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund aka United Nations Children’s Fund.Abbreviation, acronym.Initialism.
UNSGUnited Nations Secretary-General.Abbreviation.Initialism.
URLUniform Resource Locator more commonly referred to as a “web address”.Abbreviation.Initialism.
VolvoFrom Latin meaning: I roll.Latin.Brand.
VWFrom the German Volkswagen literally meaning people’s car.Wordplay.Initialism.Brand.
WHOWorld 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.
wwwWorld 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.
YKKYoshida 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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