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From initial +‎ -ism.


  • IPA(key): /ɪˈnɪʃəlɪzəm/
  • (file)


initialism (plural initialisms)

  1. (linguistics) A term formed from the initial letters of several words or parts of words, which is itself pronounced letter by letter.
    BBC is an initialism for British Broadcasting Corporation.
  2. (linguistics) The process of forming words or terms using initial letters of other words.
    • 2015, James Lambert, “Lexicography as a teaching tool: A Hong Kong case study”, in Lan Li, Jamie McKeown, Liming Liu, editors, Dictionaries and corpora: Innovations in reference science. Proceedings of ASIALEX 2015 Hong Kong, Hong Kong: The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, page 146:
      The next most frequent source language was English, with neologistic compounds accounting for 15 etymologies, with 9 other English-based terms from a variety of word formation processes such as initialism and semantic extension.

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