Acronym snafu

17th June 2005 at 01:00
The Diary is steeped in shame. A pained reader has pointed out that our recent story welcoming a new acronym to education - the School Workforce Development Board, remember? - was not in fact about an acronym at all. Nor were any of the other sets of initials we listed true acronyms.

An acronym, strictly speaking, is "a word, usually pronounced as such, formed from the initial letters of other words". As in: "scuba," from "self-contained underwater breathing apparatus."

What we should have called the SWDB thingy, says Pained Reader, is an "abbreviation or an "initialism", as in: "The BBC is one of the best-known initialisms in the world."

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