Re: HTML 4.0 ACRONYM change, revision 2

Peter Flynn (
29 Sep 1997 14:22:57 +0100

Date: 29 Sep 1997 14:22:57 +0100
From: Peter Flynn <>
In-reply-to: <> (message from
Message-id: <>
Subject: Re: HTML 4.0 ACRONYM change, revision 2

MZ writes:
   The ACRONYM element allows authors to clearly indicate a sequence of
   characters that compose an acronym (e.g., "NATA", "WWW", "FNAC",
   "IRS", etc.). The ability to identify acronyms is useful to spell
   checkers, speech synthesizers, and other user agents and tools.

Be very careful in how you use the word "acronym": there are a lot of
anal-retentives out there who will tell you that IRS is not an acronym
but an initialism, on the spurious grounds that it cannot be
pronounced and is thus not a "word"...based in turn on the equally
spurious grounds that an acronym is a "word" and therefore has to be
pronounceable. Your usage is completely correct.

My acronym server at has taken a lot of
flak for this over the years, but this pronounceability spectre is a
purely local conceit of N American origin.