Acronym vs initialism illustration: comparing the acronym laser—pronounced as a word— and the initialism FBI—pronounced by saying the letters

Acronyms and initialisms

We all know that you make an acronym by taking the initial letters of a set of words and putting them together. So Random Access Memory becomes RAM, or the United States becomes the US. But I only found out recently that these two examples are actually different.

An acronym is when the initials of a set of words are said as a word, like ram, laser, radar, sonar, NATO, or NASA. An initialism is where a set of initials are spelled out as letters when saying them, like FBI, CIA, USA, BBC, or CD.

More word-related sketchplanations here

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