In General Knowledge

The Most Common Acronyms and What they Mean

Common Acronyms

English is an interesting language due to the amount of history it has. English is a language that over 750 million people speak natively or as a second language. To use English correctly you must have a great deal of knowledge about its spelling, grammar, punctuation, syllables and so forth. The fact that the culture and development of English derived from other languages make it easier for those speaking other languages to recognize wording. However, there is more to it than just recognizing the wording, punctuation and spelling; you will need to learn the meaning of each word as well as how to use acronyms when in the business word. Before we go into detail about common acronyms, it is very important to understand where and how creation of the English language began.

History behind the English language

It is not known exactly when the English language was first developed, however there are reports stating parts of the English language derived from a West Germanic language, which originated from the Anglo-Frisian dialects and reached to Britain by Germanic settlers or invaders. Since the beginning of English, the language has always been known as the borrowing language considering it derived from a bunch of other languages. As time went on more invasions took place thus developing other forms of the language known as Proto, Old and Middle English.

During the 1400s, at the time of the Great Vowel Shift, Early Modern English underwent a dramatic sound change but the spelling remained the same. Over time, the language spread throughout London, which eventually faded out the Anglo-Frisian dialects with a standardized London-based dialect. By the mid-1600s and early 1700s, during William Shakespeare’s time, the language was clearly recognizable as Modern English. After successfully getting Modern English in check in 1604, the Table Alphabeticall, the first English dictionary was published.

As literacy increased and the English continue to make its grand appearance in many countries, the language continued on borrowing more foreign words especially from languages such as Latin and Greek. From the 17th century to present, mispronunciation is likely because the spelling of the English language is variable.

During the 17th century, a new objective entered the English language, acronyms.

Inside the English language Acronyms

The use of Acronyms goes back to the late 17th century but increases in popularity throughout the English history. The idea of constructing complete acronyms is by using the first letters of any word or phrase. Acronyms are like abbreviating; the only difference is the definitions. Abbreviation refers to a string of initials such as WY meaning Wyoming while acronyms considered words in its original sense such as Ave meaning Avenue.

By the late 19th century, the use of acronyms spread throughout business communities in the Americas and even in Europe. With limited space to write an entire corporation’s name, abbreviation would occur for proper labeling. For instance if there was a corporation named Douglas, Banks, Landerford and Family the corporation would have a hard time getting all names placed and seen on railroad cars, city transportation and even billboards. As a result, the company would have to abbreviate the names, DBL & F for proper placement. This also makes it cheaper for the company to get their ad placed in local newspapers and magazines for the reason that most publishing companies charge by the letter.

Currently there are disagreements about rather abbreviations should be classified as letters only or pronounced as words. Let us look at URL and IRA, which are abbreviations for uniform resource identifier and Individual Retirement Account, both terms can be pronounces as each letter and as single words. For abbreviations that have pronunciations with letter names and words such as JPEG and MS- DOS there is still confusion on what to categorize those terms as well. On the contrary, every initial that derives from any word will always be identified as initialisms regardless if such constructions are pronounceable.

Example of common Acronyms

Acronyms have increased in popularity due to the ease of enabling native and persons who use English as a second language the benefit of getting their points across without having to spell out the entire word. The use of Acronyms also enables English-speaking person the ability to save time while on the go! To get a full understanding about how to build an acronym, below is a list containing the most commonly used Acronyms this year.

  • AC – Air Conditioning
  • AKA- Also Known As
  • ASAP –As Soon As Possible
  • ATM- Automated Teller Machine
  • B&B-Bed and Breakfast
  • BC- Before Christ or Because
  • BCE- Before the Common Era
  • BLT – Bacon, Lettuces, Tomato
  • CC – Credit Card
  • DOA- Dead on Arrival
  • DST- Daylight Saving Time
  • EST- Eastern Standard Time
  • ET- Extra-Terrestrial
  • FYI- For Your Information
  • GMO- Genetically Modified
  • ISBN- International Standard Book Number
  • JFK – John Fitzgerald Kennedy
  • LCD- Liquid Crystal Display
  • LED- Light Emitting Diode
  • LOL- Laughing Out Loud
  • MLK- Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • MS – Manuscript
  • MST Mountain Standard Time
  • PBJ- Peanut Butter and Jelly
  • PIN- Personal Identification Number
  • ROM- Read Only Memory
  • ROTC- Reserve Officers Training Corps
  • ROYGBIV- Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Indigo, Violet
  • TLC- Tender Loving Care
  • UPC- Universal Product Code
  • ZIP- Zone Improvement Plan

Common Acronyms used in songs

It is now the 21st century and acronyms are in use but more often than they have ever been before. The use of acronyms have become more than just common that many think the use of acronyms will eventually take the place of their original wordings for good. Over the years, many artists in the music industry have used acronyms for naming of groups as well as their songs.

One example of the use of acronyms takes place in 1978 when a group named The Village People used the term ‘YMCA’ on one of their tracks! To make things more clear, The Village People did not create the term but after the release of their track, the term became very popular!

In 1993 Wu-Tang Clan, New York rappers, dropped their classic début Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) which featured an well-known acronym C.R.E.A.M. According to one of the rappers in the group, the acronym is short for Cash rules everything around me.

In the late 2000s, LMFAO took over the charts and radio waves! The term became so popular that it was known as the most obnoxious internet slang. During this time thousands of people started using the acronym in SMS and IMs to express how they were feeling at any given time.

Then the most popular among acronyms was reintroduced, H.A.M. Major Rap artists, Kanye West and Jay Z, release an album called ‘Watch the Throne’ in 2011. The album even won BET Hip Hop Award for CD of the Year. For those of you who do not know what H.A.M stand for, you should google as it has profanity.

Other songs such as TKO by Justin Timberlake, G.U.Y (Girl under You) by Lady Gaga and the newest of them all U.O.E.N.O (You do not even know it). O yea, cannot forget to add Katy Perry’s T.G.I.F and Drake’s HYFR.

Other uses for common acronyms

Rappers and Singers are not the only people using acronyms. Text messages, IM’s and even social networking websites such as Facebook, twitter, tumblr and google plus seem like places use acronyms heavily. As stated before, the use of acronyms enables everyone the ability to get their messages across without spending too much time on spelling each word out or ensuring spelling is correct before sending the message.

To make the use of popular acronyms more easy and accessible, all phone manufactures programmed their phones with software called predictive text. Nowadays, tablets come preset with predictive texting as well. As reintroduced acronyms come to the spotlight and reach popularity, phone and tablet users can go into the predictive text setting to add new acronyms for easy use in the near future.

How likely acronyms will live on to the next generations.

There is no physical evidence as to rather acronyms will continue to thrive as hard as they have been. However, there is a fat chance acronyms will never die because just like punctuation, grammar and spelling acronyms are as important to the English language as well. As long English is around the better chance acronyms are likely to live on in the business world and person who dislike spelling out each word to its entirety.


Acronyms are not only commonly used but will forever be part of the English language as well as its history. Acronyms allow English-speaking persons to get many benefits when it comes to expressing oneself through texting within a blink of an eye. Without the knowledge we need for the use of acronyms, many businesses possessing long and unusual names would have a hard time advertising their brand. They would be forced to either change their name or cut off a few words, which would deprive the business’ name of its true meaning.


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