Is OECD,Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, an acronym or we just call them as simply an abbreviation because every letter is pronounced one by one in the same way just like in the alphabet.

  • Is this really "entirely acceptable with a dictionary"? I think not, so let's just disagree with the close votes. ‌:)
    – M.A.R.
    Mar 2, 2015 at 23:24

1 Answer 1


Strictly speaking, it's only an acronym if you can pronounce it as a word.

Scuba & laser are 2 that spring to mind.

Otherwise it's just an abbreviation.

  • 3
    I've just learnt that there is a term called 'initialism ' which means "a word made from the first letters of each word in a phrase. Unlike acronyms, initialisms cannot be spoken as words: they are spoken letter by letter. ".So OECD is an abbreviation and initialism but not acronym, right?
    – Mrt
    Mar 2, 2015 at 20:40
  • I'd agree with that, though I've just learned about initialisms as well!
    – JMB
    Mar 2, 2015 at 22:17
  • I'd say that scuba and laser were etymologically formed from acronyms, but have become so widespread and common that they're not treated as acronyms anymore. I think UNESCO might be a better example of an acronym that's still regarded as an acronym.
    – J.R.
    May 19, 2015 at 9:34

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