Initialism

n. An abbreviation consisting of initial letters that are pronounced separately.

I find this to be an incredibly useful word that I came across a while ago.  Despite the fact that it is particularly useful in helping with pronunciation, few people I’ve met know it.

Unlike a standard acronym, an initialism is spelled out when spoken.  U.S.A. is an initialism while N.A.S.A. and SCUBA are not.  Plenty of times, I have come across an acronym and had no idea how to pronounce it.  Knowing whether or not it is an initialism solves the problem completely.

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