Acronyms (which must be pronounced as words, unlike initialisms) were pretty rare until World War II, and many abbreviation explanations you hear for etymologies are fake, so that's something to be cautious about. The term acronym was first used in 1940 by literary critic Edwin Muir and took off, peaking in usage in 2004. That was borrowed from German akronym, which was created, by influence of words like homonym and synonym, out of the Ancient Greek word akron, meaning "summit" or "peak", and the suffix -onym, meaning "name". The idea was that an acronym is composed only out of the "peak" (uppercase) letters of the words that compose it. Akron, which is the etymon for the Ohio city name, comes from Proto-Indo-European hkros, which meant "sharp", and -onym derives from the PIE root hnomn, also "name".
Your comment will be posted after it is approved.
Leave a Reply.
Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a senior studying government and linguistics at Harvard University, where I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy trivia, politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, art history, and law.