Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. An abbreviation consisting of the first letter or letters of words in a phrase (for example, IRS for Internal Revenue Service), syllables or components of a word (TNT for trinitrotoluene), or a combination of words and syllables (ESP for extrasensory perception) and pronounced by spelling out the letters one by one rather than as a solid word.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A term formed from the initial letter or letters of several words or parts of words, but which is itself pronounced letter by letter.

Etymologies

initial +‎ -ism (Wiktionary)

Examples

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Comments

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  • I thought is was a form of government practiced by lawyers. "Initial here, and here, and here and....

    July 27, 2009

  • Wordnik definition (via AHD)
    NOUN: An abbreviation consisting of the first letter or letters of words in a phrase (for example, IRS for Internal Revenue Service), syllables or components of a word (TNT for trinitrotoluene), or a combination of words and syllables (ESP for extrasensory perception) and pronounced by spelling out the letters one by one rather than as a solid word.

    http://www.wordnik.com/words/initialism

    July 27, 2009

  • Best definition:
    NOUN: an abbreviation formed from initial letters
    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/initialism

    July 27, 2009