Trivia Teaser

Which vowel of the alphabet is represented in Morse Code by 'dot dash'?


FYI: Acronyms


By Christine Lovatt

Have you noticed how many initials we use now for everyday objects? You can watch TV, use a VCR or DVD or send an SMS.

Your GP may send you to hospital, where you have your BP checked by the MO, maybe even have an MRI or CAT scan.

You withdraw your money from an ATM.

(Check how many of these you know – answers are below).

These are sometimes referred to as acronyms but technically, an acronym should be a word made up of initials that can be pronounced, such as SALT (Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty), the computer term RAM (Random Access Memory), or ANZAC (Australia & New Zealand Army Corps).

Acronyms are easier to use than initials but imagine a world without any abbreviations. We’d still be saying refrigerator for fridge and facsimile for fax. Can you imagine saying “I ran out of petroleum for my motor carriage so I caught the omnibus, then pushed the perambulator all the way to the gymnasium.”

Some common abbreviations are FYI (For Your Information) and FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions).

There’s even a new internet shorthand, to save time when sending emails. LMK is Let Me Know, TIA is Thanks In Advance and BRB is Be Right Back.



Christine Lovatt



TV television, VCR video cassette recorder, DVD digital video disc, SMS short message service, GP general practitioner, BP blood pressure, MO medical officer, MRI magnetic resonance imaging, CAT computerized axial tomography, ATM automatic teller machine, HP happy puzzling



6 Responses to

FYI: Acronyms

October 19, 2007 at 2:19 PM


You're right about abbreviations in chat rooms, somtimes I can't understand a word my daughter is saying! if the internet is so fast, why do we need to reduce our language to abbreviations, idk. opps, lol.


October 20, 2007 at 1:38 PM


Yes, Christine, I have noticed. And what the problem is, even before computer technology, I was hopeless at remembering the correct initials or acronyms. My kids and grandkids have often just about broken up because I tried to use one, and of course, got the initials wrong.


Chrisella said:
October 26, 2007 at 1:42 PM


To add to the confusion these abbreviations sometimes have more than 1 meaning eg lol. Is it Laugh Out Loud or is it Lots Of Love or ...?


November 15, 2007 at 1:25 PM


According to Wikipedia Lol is a native Dutch word (not an acronym) which, conveniently, means "fun" ('lollig' means "funny"). In Welsh, lol means nonsense, e.g. If a person would say "stupid nonsense" in Welsh they would say "lol wirion". Another good Acronym with a similar meaning is QLTM which is often a more accurate representation of the user's reaction to a funny or humorous comment. It stands for "Quietly laughing to myself".


rhve said:
May 13, 2010 at 12:58 AM

There are so many acronyms I can't keep up with them all. They might be quicker to type in chat rooms but they're much slower to read. Also some spoken ones are no quicker to say than the words they represent but convey less information to the uninitiated.

peadubya said:
May 17, 2010 at 1:15 PM

And here we are on the world wide web which is abbreviated to 'www' which is much harder to say than 'world wide web'.