Alphabet Soup

Alphabet Soup

BP no longer stands for “British Petroleum.” It stands for BP.

AARP no longer stands for the American Association of Retired People. It stands for AARP.

NPR no longer stands for National Public Radio. It stands for NPR.

YMCA no longer stands for Young Men’s Christian Association. The YMCA is now the Y.

The “A&M” in Texas A&M University no longer stands for Agricultural and Mechanical. It stands for A&M.

These are not acronyms. An acronym is an abbreviation used as a pronounceable name (NATO as “nay – tow,” etc.); these wereinitialisms” or abbreviations; now they are a jumble of trademarked, self-referential letters.


That is an abbreviation.


Hat tip about A&M: Deirdre Carpenter

Image by Mike Licht (with help from Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht,

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