A Directory of Common Acronyms and Abbreviations by Topic

Everything from Internet and medical to government and technology acronyms and abbreviations. Find them all here.

  • acronym - a word formed from the first (or first few) letters of several words.
  • abbreviation - a shortened form of a word or phrase.

The Difference Between an Acronym and an Abbreviation: You'll find both acronyms and abbreviations on this site... mostly abbreviations since there are far more of them in the English language than there are acronyms.

For an abbreviation to qualify as an acronym, it must form a word. So, for instance, LASER, SCUBA, and PATRIOT are acronyms, but HTML, NFL, and ACLU are not acronyms—they are simply abbreviations.

Special thanks to Greg Hall for explaining the difference between acronyms and abbreviations. Read more about the difference between acronyms and abbreviations.