What word or phrase can describe terms like:

  • Wi-Fi
  • AM/FM
  • AM/PM
  • RSVP
  • "etc."
  • "i.e."

and so on? In other words, what word or phrase could be used to describe a word or phrase that "everyone knows the word, but no one knows what it means/stands for/et cetera?"

  • 1
    Except for Wi-Fi, all of those words actually do have an underlying meaning. Wi-Fi, however, never stood for anything else when it was coined. It simply was what it was, despite some people's attempts to ascribe meaning to it after the fact. (Who assume it means wireless fidelity. Except that it doesn't.) – Jason Bassford Feb 3 at 21:44
  • +1. I interpret this question as asking for a word that covers abbreviations that have become so commonly used that an ordinary person might not know what the original expanded version is. We EL&U contributors are of course so knowledgeable that we know all of them, but let's find the word that the rest of the English-speaking world might find useful... – Chappo Feb 4 at 3:18

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