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No matter where we go, there seem to be acronyms all around us whether its at work (some companies have their own long list of company-specific acronyms) or at home while you’re browsing the web. A few acronyms I can think of off the top of my head that I’ve seen lately are RSVP, C/O, MRI, DNA, ASAP, BTW, and LOL. There are common acronyms that everybody seems to understand, and then there are ones where you have to stop and try to figure out what it would mean based upon the context it was used in, which can be tricky, or look it up. It’s not like standard dictionaries include lists of acronyms, so where is someone supposed to go?

Back in 1997, a site called Acronym Finder launched, and their goal was to provide a place on the web where people could go when they needed to look up an acronym. Clearly it was a great idea because they are still around today. This isn’t one of those sites that you’ll use everyday, but it’s one you may want to make note of or bookmark for the future when you find yourself wondering what the heck someone meant when they said BTW.

Today we’ll be taking a look at Acronym Finder and everything that it offers.

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What is Acronym Finder

As mentioned, Acronym Finder is a place on the web where people can go to find out what an abbreviation or acronym means. They include all kinds of them related to everyday types of things, computers, and even the military.

In case you weren’t quite sure the exact definition of an acronym, it is an abbreviation composed of the initial letters or syllables of numerous words. For example, NATO – North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

When you go to Acronym Finder, you’ll see a search box up at the top where you can enter in your abbreviation to find out what it stands for. This leads us to our next topic, searching.

Performing an Abbreviation Search

It doesn’t matter if the abbreviation you enter is upper or lower case, but what does matter is that you don’t put periods after the letters. For example, if you didn’t know what RSVP stood for, you’d enter it just as we did in this sentence, and not search for R.S.V.P. They also tell you not to put any type of quotes around the abbreviation.

Aside from searching for abbreviations, there’s also the option to search for the “word in meaning.” This is essentially a reverse lookup, allowing you to enter in a phrase or list of words and find out if there’s an abbreviation for it and what the abbreviation would be. If you’re trying to find an exact phrase, put that phrase in quotes.

Add it to your Google Home Page

If you have an iGoogle personalized homepage and you think you’d use the acronym finder frequently, you can add it to your page here.

Suggest a New Acronym

They’ve got a whole section on their site available so that visitors can suggest a new abbreviation. Anybody can submit a new abbreviation and definition, but they are all reviewed and verified by one of the site’s editors before they make it available in the database.

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Acronym Finder Statistics

While browsing around their site, I found some interesting statistics:

  1. There are over 4,227,839 abbreviations and their meanings in the database (yes, that is over 4.2 million!)
  2. If you printed out all of those abbreviations at 60 lines per page, it would take 70,464 pages!
  3. There are over 600 user-suggested abbreviations waiting to be verified and added
  4. Over the last year, an average of 157 human-edited abbreviation definitions have been added to the site each day

Wrapping it up

Need to find out what an acronym stands for? You know where to go now…