The alt.usage.english FAQ
Strictly, an acronym is a string of initial letters pronounceable
as a word, such as "NATO". Abbreviations like "NBC" have been
variously designated "alphabetisms" and "initialisms", although some
people do call them acronyms. WDEU says, "Dictionaries, however,
do not make this distinction [between acronyms and initialisms]
because writers in general do not"; but two of the best known books
on acronyms are titled _Acronyms, Initialisms and Abbreviations
Dictionary_ (19th ed., Gale, 1993) and _Concise Dictionary of
Acronyms and Initialisms_ (Facts on File, 1988).
The Network Dictionary of Acronyms is available through World Wide
Web (http://www.ucc.ie/info/net/acronyms/acro.html) or by e-mail
(send the word "help" to email@example.com).
Source: [Mark Israel, 'Usage Disputes: "acronym"', The alt.usage.english FAQ file,(line 1301), (29 Sept 1997)]
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