Acronyms v Initialisms

Just so you know… if you reduce a series of words to initials and pronounce them as a word it’s an acronym, and if you pronounce each letter individually it’s an initialism.

So when I write a headline using an acronym it’s your job to read it as a word so that you get the pun.

Ironically, TLA the popular “acronym” for three letter acronyms isn’t an acronym, it’s an initialism. 

Thanks. That is all.


Maddie says:

oh so that means when i say AFL = affel. IGA = eye-ga. i am converting initialisms to accronyms.

Izaac says:

While technically you may be correct (and I’ll know you’ll take that as conceding defeat) surely the meaning has changed sufficiently that initialism is a dead word. What do you think?

Nathan says:

I don’t know that it’s a dead word. The fact that Office doesn’t recognise a word doesn’t make it dead… They are two quite separate concepts and have distinct meanings and applications. They also have a huge role to play in the art of punning.

Izaac says:

Is ‘punning’ a word?