Showing posts from October, 2013

WNW: Abbreviations, Acronyms, Initialisms, & Monograms

Weeks (months?) ago, I pasted a note from Twitter to remind myself to do this post. I'm pretty sure the suggestion came from TJ Bronley, and here I am, finally getting around to answering his request.

For this week's Word Nerd Wednesday: What is the difference between acronyms, monograms, and abbreviations?

(I'm adding initialisms to the list; you'll see why.)

First off, let's look at what an abbreviation is.

An abbreviation is simply a shortening of a word or phrase using components of that word or phrase. Some abbreviations use a period at the end, but not all require one.

Examples of abbreviations:
Quart = qtMinute = minDoctor = Dr.Mister = Mr.Et cetera = etc.International Police = Interpol*AM, PMBC, AD
The last two on that list are so common that we've almost forgotten what they stand for (ante meridiem/post meridiem, meaning before and after noon, and Before Christ/Anno Domini, meaning in the year of our Lord).

Here are some modern abbreviations that develope…