An acronym is a pronounceable word formed from the first letter or first few letters of each word in a phrase or title. Sometimes the newly-combined letters create a new word that takes the place in everyday language. Using this shortened form of a word or phrase can speed up communication. Here is a list of common acronyms, listed by category.

Popular Acronyms

These acronyms are very widely used, making them some of the most popular to appear in the English language.

  • RADAR – Radio detecting and ranging
  • LASER – Light amplification by the stimulated emission of radiation.
  • NATO – The North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
  • UNICEF – The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund.
  • SCUBA – Self-contained underwater breathing apparatus.
  • WASP – White anglo saxon protestant.

These examples of acronyms show how a few, well-chosen letters can be a quick way to communicate.

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