Understand the Acronym

Today’s Tip FWIW: Understand the Acronym.

Robert Fulford, from the National Post, wrote about acronyms in his article When Words Die yesterday when he had to use acronymfinder.com to decipher FWIW.

Thanks for the link Robert. For what it’s worth, I was happy that you spelled out FWIW for me in your post.

Acronym Finder has the search benefit of a search for either and acronym or a phrase translated into an acronym with their ‘word in meaning’ search. Since, as Robert’s article points out, acronyms are making their way to common media, rather than just texts and twitter, it is handy to be aware of acronyms and as a potential search term.

A useful example of a search term is the 750,000th definition in the acronym finder database. From their blog:

The abbreviation added was NPQTL, which stands for “National Project on the Quality of Teaching and Learning”, an Australian education project to develop and implement national teacher competency standards.

NPQTL – you would definitely want to search both the acronym and the phrase in order to find out everything about this project.

HS [happy searching]
BTW – this post uses the words acronym and initialism interchangeably for convenience. Acronymfinder.com does not distinguish between the two either.


  1. I like urbandictionary.com when I’m not sure if it’s an initialism or an acronym.

  2. It used to be that an ‘acronym’ was a set of initials one could pronounce like a word, e.g. NATO or NORAD. Usage seems less demanding these days. There is some difference in user-friendliness between turns of phrases or abbreviations to keep from typing stock phrases, like FWIW, or BTW, or OTOH, and initials of organizations that few have heard of, like the NPQTL, which should not be used without defining or explaining them in the same text.

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