Difference Between Acronym and Abbreviation


Main Difference

The main difference between Acronym and Abbreviation is that Acronym is a type of Abbreviation, whereas Abbreviation is a short form of a phrase or a word.

Acronym vs. Abbreviation

Acronym use noun from the verb like ‘baptism; on the other hand, the abbreviation is derived from the Latin word ‘brevis’ which means shortcut. Acronym firstly introduced in the 1800 century, but no one has the idea that this is an acronym; on the flip side, abbreviation used in the 1400 century.

The Acronym is not used in historical words or phrases; on the contrary, frequently, we use abbreviations in historical words and phrases. Acronym creates new words, and we may forget them, whereas the abbreviation has no access to create new words, and we may never forget them.


In the medical field, ‘aid’ is known as the acronym for ‘acquired immune deficiency syndrome.’ But the abbreviation in the medical field is known as HIV. The acronym uses a single explanatory word; on the other side, abbreviation explains complete line or sentence.

In the acronym, both capital and small letter are used. But in the abbreviation, just the capital letter is used. An acronym is a small or nickname of anything; on the flip side, abbreviation pronounced the name of anything in an easy and complete way.

Comparison Chart

An acronym is the first word of a phrase.The abbreviation is standardized for or word.
Use in literature
The acronym firstly used in literature in the bell laborites in 1943.The abbreviation was firstly used in literature in 1940.
Informal languageFormal language
DOB: Date Of BirthGovt: Government

What is Acronym?

The acronym is like a word, the name of a word, or a type of Abbreviation. An acronym is an element of a phrase. Usually, the Acronyms are the separate letters like NATO, means North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and NCB means National Commercial Bank.

Every letter in NCB is Acronym, N is Acronym, C is Acronym, and B is also the Acronym. An acronym is a process in which portions of two or more words joint to create a new word. The difference between Abbreviation and Acronym has been gradually removed.

Now, Acronym is usually helpful for numerous kinds of the abbreviation. An acronym is a collection of letters of a word in a name. We can also say that Acronym is a word created from the starting letters of a name, like WAC for Women’s Army Corps.


  • OPEC: Organization, Petroleum, Exporting Country
  • HR: Human Resources
  • DND: Do Not Disturb
  • ASAP: As Soon As Possible
  • DIY: Do it Yourself
  • PIN: Personal Identification Number
  • FBI: Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • NASA: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
  • AIDS: Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome.
  • FYI: For Your Information
  • ATM: Automated Teller Machine
  • UFO: Unidentified Flying Object
  • HIV: Human Immunodeficiency Virus
  • IQ: Intelligence Quotient
  • SOS: Save Our Souls

What is Abbreviation?

An abbreviation is a small form of a word as we use word Mr. instead of Mister. Abbr, abbrev, abbrev, are the representative forms of Abbreviation. A type of abbreviation is acronyms that are pronounceable, and initializes ‘using initials letters only.’

The abbreviation is used as grammatical contractions or crisis. Abbreviations are mostly used in media for any letter or a sentence as ‘NAB’ itself is a word and is the abbreviation of National Accountability Beurue. An abbreviation is the procedure or invention of shortening.

It helps to lessen the time compulsory for writing or speaking of something. It is a little form of a word or phrase, prepared by skipping some letters or by using only the first letter of each word.


  • Km: Kilometer(s)
  • Dept: Department
  • Eng: England, English
  • Col: Colonel
  • Geog: Geography
  • Lit: Literary, Literature
  • Ref: Reference
  • Rept: Report
  • Viz: Videlicet
  • Yr: Year
  • St: Saint
  • Subj: Subject
  • Univ: University
  • Vocab: Vocabulary.

Key Differences

  1. The acronym is not a standard word; whereas, the abbreviation is a standard word.
  2. An acronym is a scientific name or idea; on the other hand, the abbreviation is an international name or idea.
  3. The acronym is a word that we cannot easily understand as it has incomplete meanings; conversely, the abbreviation is easily understandable with complete meanings.
  4. An acronym is not used in parentheses on the flip side; abbreviation is mostly used in parentheses.
  5. Acronym mostly used in a long organization’s name, but an abbreviation is a complete description of any name in a short form.


An abbreviation and acronym have a significant role in Literature. An abbreviation is a small form that helps to shows the complete word, while the acronym consists of the starting letters of a phrase.

Aimie Carlson

Aimie Carlson is an English language enthusiast who loves writing and has a master degree in English literature. Follow her on Twitter at @AimieCarlson