- a word formed from the initial letters or groups of letters of words in a set phrase or series of words and pronounced as a separate word, as Wac from Women’s Army Corps, OPEC from Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, or loran from long-range navigation.
- a set of initials representing a name, organization, or the like, with each letter pronounced separately; an initialism.
- an acrostic.
verb (used with object)
- to make an acronym of: The committee’s name has been acronymed MIKE.
- a pronounceable name made up of a series of initial letters or parts of words; for example, UNESCO for the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization
word formed from the first letters of a series of words, 1943, American English coinage from acro- + -onym “name” (abstracted from homonym; see name (n.)). But for cabalistic esoterica and acrostic poetry, the practice was practically non-existent before 20c.
A word formed by combining the beginning letters of a name or phrase, as in WASP for white Anglo-Saxon Protestant, or by combining the initial syllables of a series of words, as in radar, which stands for radio detecting and ranging.