There is no rule on what to call abbreviations whose pronunciation involves the combination of letter names and words, such as JPEG .There is also some disagreement as to what to call abbreviations that some speakers pronounce as letters and others pronounce as a word.

O., from Standard Oil), and Sunoco (Sun Oil Company). 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).

Another driver for the adoption of acronyms was modern warfare with its many highly technical terms. 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.

In English and most other languages, such abbreviations historically had limited use, but they became much more common in the 20th century.

Acronyms are a type of word formation process, and they are viewed as a subtype of blending.

The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) records the first printed use of the word initialism as occurring in 1899, but it did not come into general use until 1965, well after acronym had become common. In this view, the modern practice is just as legitimate as those in "proper" English of the current generation of speakers, such as the abbreviation of corporation names in places with limited writing space (e.g., ticker tape, newspaper column inches).

By 1943, the term acronym had been used in English to recognize abbreviations (and contractions of phrases) that were pronounced as words. In formal writing for a broad audience, the expansion is typically given at the first occurrence of the acronym within a given text, for the benefit of those readers who do not know what it stands for.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 sound navigation and ranging).Attestations for The rest of this article uses acronym for both types of abbreviation.It gives students a way to review the meanings of the acronyms introduced in a chapter after they have done the line-by-line reading, and also a way to quiz themselves on the meanings (by covering up the expansion column and recalling the expansions from memory, then checking their answers by uncovering.) In addition, this feature enables readers possessing knowledge of the abbreviations not to have to encounter expansions (redundant to such readers).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.An acronym is a word or name formed as an abbreviation from the initial components in a phrase or a word, usually individual letters (as in NATO or laser) and sometimes syllables (as in Benelux).