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Single-Word Acronyms?
859 Posts
2009/04/29 - 9:42am

We have many acronyms that mean multiple words: NASA, POTUS, etc. We also have at least one that means a single word: PJ. One might also say, TV, but at least that is a prefix and a word. OK is maybe problematic.

Are there any other single-word acronyms out there?


2009/04/29 - 9:54am

Does “n” for “and” count?

I suppose that any of the postal abbreviations for the one-word states would be as valid as PJ for pajamas, e.g. PA for Pennsylvania is often pronounced as the two letter names.

Also some of the periodic table would qualify in the same way, e.g. CL for Chlorine; NA for Sodium (OK, you might want to dispute NA, but people do say En-Ay).

Hows about Rh (as in blood typing) for Rhesus?

If I come up with more, I'll add on.

859 Posts
2009/04/29 - 2:17pm


I tend to think of your examples as abbreviations rather than acronyms. And, this causes me to re-evaluate my thesis since PJ is probably really just an abbreviation.

This also leads me to conclude that all acronyms are abbreviations, but not all abbreviations are acronyms. ND, SD, NC, SC, NM, and WV are both. MO, MI, etc. are only abbreviations.

Na for sodium is just an abbreviation in another language.

Thanks for your post; it caused me to clear up my thinking.


2009/04/29 - 4:13pm

Well the distinction you might have been making between PJ as an acronym and an ordinary abbreviation is the pronunciation. Lt. Col. is pronounced as if the full words were written out. Likewise most ordinary abbreviations. Your example, however, is pronounced by the letter names.

I think your perception is valid that this is a distinct class.

859 Posts
2009/04/30 - 6:52am


Isn't it great when you confuse yourself? Thank you for elucidating better what I perceived than I did.

In the two letter abbreviation for "empty", MT, not only are both letters pronounced, but that pronunciation sounds like the original word.

Martha (in another thread I cannot find) mentioned (I think) a Spanish word for CD which was pronounced by reading the letters.


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