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List of acronyms

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This is a list of acronyms that are pronounceable words. This list does not include acronyms whose pronunciation is wholly or partly the names of constituent letters.

Please add your own, in alphabetical order.

  • AIDS - Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome
  • ANA - All Nippon Airways
  • ANSI - American National Standards Institute
  • ANZAC - Australian and New Zealand Army Corps
  • ASAP - as soon as possible
  • ASCII - American Standard Code for Information Interchange
  • ASCAP - American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers
  • AWACS - Airborne Warning and Control System
  • AWOL - Absent Without Leave (military jargon)
  • BASIC - Beginner's All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code, acronym was added later, originally it was simply Basic
  • BIOS - basic input/output system
  • BOAT[?] - Byway Open to All Traffic (pronounced as 2 syllables, Bo-At)
  • CAD - Computer Aided Design
  • CERN - Centre Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire
  • COBOL - Common Business-Oriented Language
  • DINK - Double income, no kids
  • DOS - Density of State / Disk Operating System
  • EPCOT - Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow
  • FIFA - Federation of International Football Associations
  • FIDE - The Fédération Internationale des Échecs (World Chess Foundation)
  • FIFO - First In First Out
  • FUBAR - Fucked Up Beyond All Recognition
  • Gestapo - GEheime STAtsPOlizei ("secret state police")
  • GIGO - Garbage In Garbage Out
  • Gulag
  • HALO - High Altitude Low Opening (type of a parachute jump)
  • IATA
  • Interpol -- International Criminal Police Organization
  • IUPAC - International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (pronounced Yoo-Pac)
  • JAG - Judge Advocate General (US military lawyers)
  • JAL[?] - Japan Airlines
  • JATO - Jet Assisted Takeoff Unit
  • KISS - Keep it simple stupid
  • Laser - Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation
  • LUCA - Last Universal Common Ancestor
  • Maser - Microwave Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation
  • MASH - mobile army surgical hospital
  • MPEG - Motion Pictures (Coding) Experts Group
  • NAAFI[?] - Navy, Army and Air Force Institute (British)
  • NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration
  • NASCAR - National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing
  • NATO - North-Atlantic Treaty Organization
  • NIMBY - Not In My Back Yard
  • NORAD - North American Aerospace Defense Command
  • NUTS - Nuclear Utilization Target Selection
  • PAL - phase alternating line (TV standard)
  • PARWIG - Power Augmented Ram Wing in Ground (aeroplane wing shape)
  • Quango - (British) QUasi Autonomous Non-Governmental Organisation
  • Quasar - Quasi-stellar radio source
  • Radar - Radio detection and ranging
  • RAM - Random Access Memory, Royal Air Maroc[?]
  • ROM - Read Only Memory
  • SAVAK - Sazamane Etelaat va Amniate Kechvar (Iranian Security and Intelligence Service)
  • SARS - Severe acute respiratory syndrome
  • Scuba - Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus
  • SECAM - Systeme Electronique Couleur Avec Memoire (TV standard)
  • SIMPLE
  • SLORC - The State Law and Order Restoration Council (of Burma)
  • SNAFU - Situation Normal All Fucked Up
  • SNOBOL
  • Sonar - Sound navigation and ranging
  • TANSTAAFL - There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch (from Robert Heinlein)
  • TEETH - Tried Everything Else, Try Homoeopathy (medical diagnosis in-joke)
  • UNESCO - United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
  • UNICEF - United Nations Children's Fund, originally United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund
  • UNIDO - United Nations Industrial Development Organization
  • UNIFEM[?] - United Nations Fund for Women
  • WAN - Wide Area Network
  • WYSIWYG - What You See Is What You Get

Words that are not acronyms, but urban legends say that they are:

  • Fuck - Fornication Under Consent of the King or For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge
  • Golf - Gentlemen only, ladies forbidden

See also: List of US Army acronyms

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