First of all, I am not a native English speaker, so that's why I'm having an issue with this one. I am under the impression that an abbreviation is the shortening of something, like boulevard = blvd, and acronyms is when you shorten longer words/sentences like World Trade Center = WTC. I don't know if I am mistaken here?

So I could say something like: "What is the full name of a street abbreviated blvd?" But can you say the same thing with acronyms, like: "Which tall building that had a twin was acronymed WTC?"

It sounds really stupid to me. And I know I could probably just rephrase the questions. But does such adjective exist for acronym, or am I just an idiot, and acronyms and abbreviations can't be used interchangeably?

  • 1
    Well, first you'd need to "verb" the noun "acronym". Then, since it's a neologism, you'd apply the usual English rules -- "acronymed" for past tense.
    – Hot Licks
    Sep 16, 2017 at 19:51
  • And then figure out how to not see it as “uh-’cron-uh-med”
    – Jim
    Sep 16, 2017 at 19:59
  • shortened to?
    – Kevin
    Sep 16, 2017 at 21:43
  • Is there a problem with "Which tall building that had a twin had the acronym / abbreviation WTC?" (An in-house search will reveal the conflicting definitions used for 'acronym'.) There is no verb from acronym at the moment. Sep 16, 2017 at 22:30
  • There is no "official" verb from the word "acronym". You can 'verb' it, as someone pointed out above, but it would sound like you're being cute/creative with your words. It's fine (even awesome, IMO) in informal speech/writing, but might be frowned on in a formal/professional setting. BTW, Isn't WTC technically an initialism? Aren't the letters pronounced separately? Something like NATO or MoMA would be acronyms. Sep 16, 2017 at 22:44

1 Answer 1


To make something shorter by writing it with just a few of its letters is to contract it. Blvd is the shortened, abbreviated, or contracted, form of boulevard.

When you abbreviate a long name or term using just its initials, you're making an abbreviation. Eg. the USA is an abbreviated way of saying the United States of America.

When such an abbreviation can be pronounced like a word, it's called an acronym. Eg. the United Nations Children's Fund is abbreviated to UNICEF, which can be pronounced like a word when speaking. So UNICEF is an acronym.

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