I just ran into AFAIK and FWIW while trying to help that one person search for the 2 days ago joke. Can someone define those two acronyms for me? I’m really dedicated to helping hir find this damn joke ATM.
I believe that strictly speaking an acronym is an abbreviation or collection of initials that has come to be used as a word (like NATO, UNESCO and Benelux). If it isn’t said as a word, it’s presumably still just an abbreviation, like UN or USA.
(AFAIK = As far as I know - I haven’t heard anyone saying anything sounding like “A fake”!
FWIW = For what it’s worth).
brovolone, you must be rather new on the Internet. At least a few of those acronyms you have just learned are very well-known and used very extensively on message boards and social media across the whole English-speaking Internet.
The ones I (sometimes) like are the really long ones that have to be defined by the poster–there’s usually no reasonable way to figure it out on your own. (It’s less fun if the poster has to be asked to define it.) My favorite of these is LSHMSFOAIADMT: Laughing so hard my sombrero fell off and I almost dropped my taco.
It appears to have become more common to the point you might be able to look it up. I haven’t actually seen it on the SDMB, though. (until now!)
About acronym, AFAIK, you’re correct. An accronym is an abbreviation that is pronounceable as a word. Other examples would be ASAP, LASER, RADAR, etc. Similarly, initialisms are abbreviations that are made up of just the first initials, so most of these “acronyms” are actually initialisms. That all said, unfortunately, acronym is often used for any sort of abbreviation these days.
I like the obnoxious abbreviations, but they’re really only fun if they’re able to be figured out in the context of the thread. For instance, I have a memory of seeing a long one, might have even been here on the Dope, and I was easily able to figure it out from the context. I think it was something along the lines of IYKWIMAITYDBLFIWAAAH (If you know what I mean, and I think you do because, let’s face it, we’re all adults here). I can remember the context anymore, but it was used cleverly, perhaps the very phase had been repeated several times in the thread or something.
Personally, I’m not a big fan of these unless they’re phrases that I find I use a lot and I either expect that most people know it already, it’s easy to figure out from context, or even if you can’t figure it out, it’s just a connecting phrase and it doesn’t matter anyway. So, for instance, I’ll sometimes use FWIW or IIRC or FYI or IOW. In most cases, at least here, they’re well known, but it still shouldn’t hurt my ability to communicate much. There are some that are or have been common that I resist because I feel the abbreviation has a different connotation than the phrase. For instance, ASAP always feels more urgent than “as soon as possible” and LOL is used as a generic “I laughed” where if I really want to express that I literally laughed out loud, I need to type all out.
An acronym is an abbreviation,** used as a word**, which is formed from the initial components in a phrase or a word. Usually these components are individual letters (as in NATO or laser) or parts of words or names (as in Benelux).