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Whereas an abbreviation may be any type of shortened form, such as words with the middle omitted (for example, Rd for road or Dr for Doctor), an acronym is a word formed from the first letter or first few letters of each word in a phrase (such as sonar, created from "A number of commentators ...believe that acronyms can be differentiated from other abbreviations in being pronounceable as words.Another driver for the adoption of acronyms was modern warfare with its many highly technical terms. The rapid advance of science and technology in recent centuries seems to be an underlying force driving the usage, as new inventions and concepts with multiword names create a demand for shorter, more manageable names. "YABA-compatible" (where YABA stands for "yet another bloody acronym") is used to mean that a term's acronym can be pronounced but is not an offensive word, e.g., "When choosing a new name, be sure it is 'YABA-compatible'." Acronym use has been further popularized by text messaging on mobile phones with Short Message Systems (SMS).While there is no recorded use of military acronyms in documents dating from the American Civil War (acronyms such as ANV for "Army of Northern Virginia" post-date the war itself), they had become somewhat common in World War I and were very much a part even of the vernacular language of the soldiers during World War II, who themselves were referred to as G. The widespread, frequent use of acronyms across the whole range of registers is a relatively new linguistic phenomenon in most languages, becoming increasingly evident since the mid-20th century. To fit messages into the 160-character SMS limit, acronyms such as "GF" (girlfriend), "LOL" (laughing out loud), and "DL" (download or down low) have become popular.Like retronymy, it became much more common in the 20th century than it had formerly been. Some examples of acronyms in this class are: Acronyms are used most often to abbreviate names of organizations and long or frequently referenced terms.
Acronyms are often taught as mnemonic devices, for example in physics the colors of the visible spectrum are ROY G. They are also used as mental checklists, for example in aviation: GUMPS, which is Gas-Undercarriage-Mixture-Propeller-Seatbelts.
Expansion at first use and the abbreviation-key feature are aids to the reader that originated in the print era, and they are equally useful in print and online.
In addition, the online medium offers yet more aids, such as tooltips, hyperlinks, and rapid search via search engine technology. An acronym may have different meanings in different areas of industry, writing, and scholarship.
The word is colinderies or colinda, an acronym for the Colonial and Indian Exposition held in London in that year." However, although acronymic words seem not to have been employed in general vocabulary before the 20th century (as Wilton points out), the concept of their formation is treated as effortlessly understood (and evidently not novel) in a Poe story of the 1830s, "How to Write a Blackwood Article", which includes the contrived acronym P. Having a key at the start or end of the publication obviates skimming over the text searching for an earlier use to find the expansion.
(This is especially important in the print medium, where no search utility.
In English, abbreviations have traditionally been written with a full stop/period/point in place of the deleted part to show the ellipsis of letters – although the colon and apostrophe have also had this role – and with a space after full stops (e.g. Such punctuation is diminishing with the belief that the presence of all-capital letters is sufficient to indicate that the word is an abbreviation.