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Re: Abbreviations and Acronyms

From: Liam Quinn <liam@htmlhelp.com>
Date: Thu, 14 Oct 1999 21:11:15 -0400
Message-ID: <38067F33.17FC6039@htmlhelp.com>
To: marina <marina@reliance.it>
CC: www-html@w3.org
marina wrote:
> 
> Like Dmitri, I am not a native English speaker and believe than the fine
> line between Abbreviations and Acronyms should be specified *precisely*
> according to some rule. My view is that, since "acronym" is a recently
> made-up American word (it is *not* in the Oxford English Dictionary, and
> the Italian version "acronimo" someone suggested is *not* in any Italian
> dictionary), most people in the world are not familiar with it.

As has already been pointed out [1], "acronym" *is* in the Oxford
English Dictionary.  It's in the second edition though, not the old 1928
version.

Here's the full entry from the online Second Edition of the Oxford
English Dictionary:

@fitch[106]% oed acronym                  
acronym ('aekr&schwa.nIm). orig. U.S. [f. ACR(O- + -onym after HOMONYM.]
A word
formed from the initial letters of other words.  Hence as v. trans., to
convert into an acronym (chiefly pass. and as pa. pple.).  Also
acro'nymic a.;
acro'nymically adv.; 'acronyming vbl. sb.; 'acronymize v. trans. 
  1943 Amer. N. & Q. Feb. 167/1 Words made up of the initial letters or
syllables of other words..I have seen..called by the name acronym. 1947
Word
Study 6 (title) Acronym Talk, or `Tomorrow's English'. 1947 Word Study
May 6/2
Some new forms combine the initial syllables (resembling blends) instead
of
initial letters, as in the case of Amvets (American Veterans'
Association)..but they still are in the spirit of acronyming. 1947 Word
Study
7/2 There has definitely been a speed-up in `acronyming'. 1950 S. POTTER
Our
Language 163 Acronyms or telescoped names like nabisco from National
Biscuit
Company. 1954 Britannica Bk. of Yr. 1954 638/1 Typical of acronymic
coinages,
or words based on initials, were..MASH (Mobile Army Surgical
Hospital).1956 R.
WELLS in M. Halle et al. For Roman Jakobson 665 Take the WE counterpart
of the
SE expression to be acronymized (North Atlantic Treaty Organization),
and
select from each word the first one or two or three letters in such a
way that
the selected letters, assembled and regarded as one word, will have a
normal,
pronounceable SE counterpart. 1967 Sci. News 19 Aug. 177/1 The
TacSatCom, as
it is acronymed, is a small-scale system which should be in the field
soon.
1971 Daily Tel. 3 Feb. 12 Has the Establishment realised, inquires an
acronymically-minded reader, that if the Industrial Relations Bill
becomes
law, it will not be only Ireland that is saddled with an IRA? 1972 Sat.
Rev.
(U.S.) 3 June 30 Nitrogen oxide, acronymed NOx, is another of the
plant's
noxious by-products. 1981 Amer. Speech LVI. 65 Byte is a fairly
far-fetched
way of acronymizing binary digit eight. 1981 Maledicta V. 99 Who were
the real
`ethnics', acronymically speaking? 1983 Verbatim Spring 2/2 Paulies play
puck
(ice hockey) or hoop (basketball, also acronymed to b-ball).



[1] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-html/1999Oct/0047.html

-- 
Liam Quinn
A Real Validator for Windows, http://arealvalidator.com
Web Design Group, http://www.htmlhelp.com
Received on Thursday, 14 October 1999 21:09:34 GMT

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