Abbreviations vs. Acronyms

When people see an abbreviation, many refer to it as an acronym, thinking they mean the same thing.  They don’t.

You all know what an abbreviation is.  An acronym is also an abbreviation—butone that is pronounced as a word:

NASA

Snafu (it lost the caps when it became a common word)

Scuba (ditto)

Fubar (ditto)

MOMA in New York and LACMA in Los Angeles

You’d never say “Oosuh” or “Yoosuh,” so USA is not an acronym, just an abbreviation.

All acronyms are abbreviations, but not all abbreviations are acronyms.

(If you’re not sure what snafu and fubar stand for, look them up in your online dictionary and you will discover the slightly off-color meanings.)

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