Some brands or product names take the form of an acronym, but the letters don't actually stand for anything. An example would be Windows XP--the "XP" was chosen for its sound and connotations rather than any particular words starting with X or P. Is there a term for this sort of formation? My first thought was "initialism", but it seems too broad since it includes terms that are meant to stand for things.

2 Answers 2


I agree with aaa that this could just be recognized as a trademark, but this could also be a pseudo-acronym.

A pseudo-acronym is a type of initialism that once had a deeper meaning (or was once an acronym) but lost this meaning and is now just a string of letters. In this case, XP was an abbreviation for experience, but over time, this has faded away and the letters are just letters.



A trademark can be any token, string or image to represent a brand or product. It does not have to mean anything.

EDIT: Also


"is a graphic mark, emblem, or symbol commonly used by commercial enterprises, organizations and even individuals to aid and promote instant public recognition"


  • I'm thinking more specifically than a trademark/logo--even though the only examples I can think of are trademarks, I'm not sure they have to be trademarks to qualify.
    – Milo P
    Commented May 13, 2015 at 7:15
  • 2
    I have a different problem with this answer: it is backwards. A dog has four legs, but that doesn't mean that the word for "something with four legs" is dog. A firefighter can be lying, but the word for "someone who is lying" is not firefighter. Likewise, a logo doesn't have to mean anything, but the word for "acronym without a meaning" is not logo. When you say "logo", exactly nobody at all will ever think, "oh, he means the XP in Windows XP". Sadly, this kind of answers is very typical for single-word requests. People just don't stop to realize that they don't make any sense.
    – RegDwigнt
    Commented May 13, 2015 at 10:30
  • @RegDwigнt read the question again, it was explicitly asking about "Some brands or product names", these usually qualify as trademarks or logos.
    – aaa90210
    Commented May 13, 2015 at 22:05

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