Should we use only the first part of a hyphenated compound word to coin an initialism/acronym?

E.g. would "on-site detector circuit" become OSDC or ODC?

Or does it depend on the particular hyphenated word?

1 Answer 1


There are plenty of posts on this site related to acronyms/initialisms, but I couldn't see one that directly addressed your question. However, a bit of sleuthing came up with the following.

First, note that OSDC and ODC are initialisms, as the capitals are not pronounced as a single word but instead are pronounced individually - see here.

Regarding hyphens, this answer quotes from the Chicago Manual of Style (CMS), and while the quotation doesn't explicitly refer to hyphens, it includes the following example:

[transmission-control protocol/Internet protocol (TCP/IP)]

Based on that example, it can be assumed that the CMS would render your "on-site detector circuit" as OSDC.

  • 1
    But the word "control" may be specifically important to include to reduce ambiguity, whereas the word "site" offers little to no extra value. I suppose it's a start though ☺.
    – jiggunjer
    Commented Jul 12, 2016 at 4:41
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    Yes, good point. And while consistency in style is important, I think the primary consideration must be to avoid confusion, so it really comes down to a judgement on whether including the "S" helps the target audience to quickly grasp what the term means. You are probably in the best position to judge that. Commented Jul 12, 2016 at 4:59

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