What's the term for a longer word formed by the pronunciation of an abbreviation/initialism?


The name of the company ESSELTE comes from SLT (Likely a pronunciation in Swedish in this case, an English pronunciation would end with two E's). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Esselte

Esso comes from the S and O of Standard Oil.

Some military abbreviations are often colloquially turned into new words such as HMMWV becoming "Humvee" or UH-1 becoming "Huey" and so on.

Is there a term for this? The name ESSELTE is a [what] of SLT?

  • 3
    You mean like "Esso" from the initials of Standard Oil? Dec 15, 2022 at 18:25
  • Very interesting question! Would another acronym be "scuba" in this case?
    – Arden
    Dec 15, 2022 at 18:28
  • Esso is a perfect example yes. Even better than my example - I'll edit it into the question. Thanks! Scuba I think is just an abbreviation becoming a colloquial word without "extension by pronunciation" (only the letters of the original abbreviation are in the word). Dec 16, 2022 at 8:24
  • If no one comes up with an existing word for this then I suggest you coin one. Then I'll ask what's a word for a word that describes a word created doing what you did...
    – Drew
    Dec 16, 2022 at 20:41

1 Answer 1


Apparently there is no specific term for acronyms which are pronounced as a single “new” word. They are neologisms:

There is no special term for abbreviations whose pronunciation involves the combination of letter names with words, or with word-like pronunciations of strings of letters, such as JPEG (/ˈdʒeɪpɛɡ/) and MS-DOS (/ˌɛmɛsˈdɒs/).



In this method, a neologism is made up of some letters of a phrase, which are then enunciated as a word. You have probably seen and heard of acronyms before within literature and conversation. We use acronyms because it's a faster way of communicating: words are then easier to write and remember.

The acronym 'NASA' was created in 1958 and refers to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Here we can see the creator has taken the initials of each of the nouns and linked them together to create the neologism 'NASA'. We can also see that 'and' and 'the' have been excluded, as these words would not help the reader understand what sort of company this is. We can also see that the enunciation is 'nah-sah', making this easier to pronounce.


  • 1
    It's not the phenomenon of just pronouncing abbreviations I'm after but rather if for example there was a new commonly used word (in writing) "Jaypeg" created which is spelled by the pronounciation and not the original abbreviation. Dec 15, 2022 at 16:54
  • @AndersForsgren - that would be a neologism, irrespective of the fact that comes from an abbreviation.
    – user 66974
    Dec 15, 2022 at 16:57

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