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Abbreviations & Acronyms

Note 83 – Abbreviations v Acronyms

For the background to my writing challenge, please read my first blog by clicking the following link – If you would prefer to dive straight into note 83, then please read on…


The word abbreviation comes from Latin word brevis which means short.  The Pocket Writer’s handbook by Martin Mander & Stephen Curtis defines an abbreviation as “a shortened form of a word, phrase, or title, used for convenience and to save space”.  It is worth noting here that it doesn’t make up an actual word when shortened.  Here are some examples of abbreviations:

  • Abbrev (abbreviation)
  • UK (United Kingdom)
  • US (United States)
  • NHS (National Health Service)
  • Dr (Doctor)


An acronymn is a shortened form of a word or phrase that does make up a word (also see note 75).  The Pocket Writer’s handbook defines an acronym as “a type of abbreviation that is made up of the initial letters of words and is pronounced as one word”.  Examples are as follows:

  • NASA (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation)
  • SOX (Sarbanes-Oxley act)
  • Laser (light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation)

(cited on an acronym finder with more than a million human-edited definitions)

My thoughts: A few work colleagues and I were having a debate about this topic at work the other day, trying to decide if an acronym actually had to spell out a work, hence the need for this blog.

That’s it for today.  Thank you to all my subscribers – I really appreciate you taking the time out of your day to read my blogs.  Also , welcome to any new readers.

I’m going to a party in London tonight  to celebrate the end of a big project that quite a lot of us have been working on at work.  Let’s hope I haven’t got a sore head for tomorrow’s blog! 

Until tomorrow…


This blog:

My other blog:

My website: (includes the introduction to my book)

Twitter: @madeirasandra and @tipsandluxuries

Reference list:

The Pocket Writer’s Handbook by Martin Mander & Stephen Curtis (Penguin Reference Library)


About Sandra Madeira

I am a full-time working mum with a passion for writing and inspiring others. Subjects I tend to blog about are life skills, parenting, decluttering, worklife balance, etc. At the moment I am on a decluttering mission creating space in my house, garden and mind. I have challenged myself to do at least ten minutes a day and write about it. Have a good day! Sandra Freelance Writer


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