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Acronym Finder (AF) is a free, online, searchable dictionary and database of
abbreviation An abbreviation (from Latin ''brevis'', meaning ''short'') is a shortened form of a word or phrase, by any method. It may consist of a group of letters, or words taken from the full version of the word or phrase; for example, the word ''abbrevi ...
s (
acronym An acronym is a word In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign langu ...
s,
initialism An acronym is a word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be uttered in isolation with semantic, objective or pragmatics, practical meaning (linguistics), meaning. In ma ...
s, and others) and their meanings. The entries are classified into categories such as '' Information Technology, Military/Government, Science,
Slang Slang is vocabulary (words, phrases, and usage (language), linguistic usages) of an informal register, common in spoken conversation but avoided in formal writing. It also sometimes refers to the language generally exclusive to the members of p ...
/
Pop Culture Pop or POP may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Music * Pop music Pop is a genre of popular music that originated in its modern form during the mid-1950s in the United States and the United Kingdom. The terms ''popular music'' and ''p ...

Pop Culture
'' etc. It also contains a database of United States and Canadian postal codes. For abbreviations with multiple meanings they are listed by popularity with the most common one being listed first. it claims to have over a million "''human-edited''" and verified
definition A definition is a statement of the meaning of a term (a word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be uttered in isolation with semantic, objective or pragmatics, practical ...

definition
s.


History

Acronym Finder was registered and the database put online by Michael K. Molloy of Colorado in 1997, but he began compiling it in 1985, working as a computer systems officer for the
USAF The United States Air Force (USAF) is the Aerial warfare, air military branch, service branch of the United States Armed Forces, and is one of the eight uniformed services of the United States, U.S. uniformed services. Initially formed as a ...

USAF
. Molloy first saw the need of an acronym list while integrating computers at the
Randolph Air Force Base upTwo T-1s in the 99th Flying Training Squadron, which provides training for Combat Systems Officers. Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph is a United States Air Force The United States Air Force (USAF) is the Atmosphere of Earth, ...
in
Texas Texas (, ; Spanish Spanish may refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards, a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language **Spanish cuisine Other places * Spanish, Ontario, Canada * Spanish River (disambigu ...

Texas
, his first acronym list running up to 30 pages. When he had retired and put AF online in 1997, his list already had 43,000 acronyms. It began mainly as a list of Military/Government abbreviations before expanding to other areas. Molloy and his wife served as the editors of the website, verifying user submissions for abbreviations and adding others they found to the database. Molloy has also provided opinions on abbreviations such as "''MSG''" which
Madison Square Garden Madison Square Garden, colloquially known as The Garden or by its initials MSG, is a multi-purpose indoor arena in New York City New York, often called New York City to distinguish it from New York State New York is a state Stat ...

Madison Square Garden
wanted as a domain name (''msg.com''), claiming trademark to the abbreviated letters. He stated that MSG also stood for more common things such as
monosodium glutamate Monosodium glutamate (MSG), also known as sodium glutamate, is the sodium salt of glutamic acid. MSG is found naturally in some foods including tomato The tomato is the edible berry of the plant ''Solanum lycopersicum'', commonly known ...

monosodium glutamate
and message, among others. The Garden in the end settled out of court and came to ow
msg.com
The website was maintained under Mountain Data Systems, LLC by Molloy, before being sold off and eventually coming under the ownership of ''Farlex, Inc.'' publishers of Thefreedictionary.com.


Content

The website contains a database of meanings and expansions for
abbreviation An abbreviation (from Latin ''brevis'', meaning ''short'') is a shortened form of a word or phrase, by any method. It may consist of a group of letters, or words taken from the full version of the word or phrase; for example, the word ''abbrevi ...
s,
acronym An acronym is a word In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign langu ...
s,
initialism An acronym is a word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be uttered in isolation with semantic, objective or pragmatics, practical meaning (linguistics), meaning. In ma ...
s mainly in English but includes some entries in other languages such as French, German, Spanish etc. as well. It is freely accessible. The entries are further classified into categories such as '' Information Technology, Military/Government, Science,
Slang Slang is vocabulary (words, phrases, and usage (language), linguistic usages) of an informal register, common in spoken conversation but avoided in formal writing. It also sometimes refers to the language generally exclusive to the members of p ...
/
Pop Culture Pop or POP may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Music * Pop music Pop is a genre of popular music that originated in its modern form during the mid-1950s in the United States and the United Kingdom. The terms ''popular music'' and ''p ...

Pop Culture
'' etc. It also contains a database of
US
US
and
Canadian Canadians (french: Canadiens) are people identified with the country of Canada Canada is a country in the northern part of North America. Its Provinces and territories of Canada, ten provinces and three territories extend from the At ...

Canadian
postal codes which are shown on a Map along with location information. Abbreviations with multiple expansions are listed by popularity with the most common one being presented first, these can be sorted alphabetically as well.GIRALDO ORTIZ, John Jairo
Management of initialisms in the online abbreviations dictionary Acronym Finder
''Revista Interamericana de Bibliotecología''. Jul.-Dec. 2008, vol. 31, no. 2, p. 101-117
Anyone can contribute to the database by submitting abbreviations and their meanings, these are reviewed by an editor and categorized before being added to the database. While the database has been described as fairly accurate errors have been found in the meanings and expansions of abbreviations. The website does not list sources for the abbreviations and their meanings but it does identify people who have contributed more than 50 abbreviations to the database. The database only contains abbreviations and their expansions and does not list other data such as grammatical category, context, source, field of the abbreviation etc. Farlex, Inc. the current owner of the website also publishes mobile apps for the
Android Android may refer to: Science and technology * Android (robot), a humanoid robot or synthetic organism designed to imitate a human * Android (operating system), Google's mobile operating system ** Android (operating system)#Mascot, Unnamed Androi ...

Android
and
iOS iOS (formerly iPhone OS) is a mobile operating system created and developed by Apple Inc. exclusively for its hardware. It is the operating system that powers many of the company's mobile devices, including the iPhone and iPod Touch; the t ...

iOS
operating systems. Acronym Finder also includes a ''Systematic Buzz Phrase Projector'', a light-hearted tool that
random In common parlance, randomness is the apparent or actual lack of pattern A pattern is a regularity in the world, in human-made design, or in abstract ideas. As such, the elements of a pattern repeat in a predictable manner. A geometric p ...

random
ly generates jargon-like phrases and abbreviations — usually
initialisms An acronym is a word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be uttered in isolation with semantic, objective or pragmatics, practical meaning (linguistics), meaning. In many la ...
that would be unpronounceable as
acronyms An acronym is a word In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign langu ...
— and meanings from 30 cleverly chosen buzz words. The website is supported through advertisements.


Reputation

The website is listed as a quick reference tool in directories like Stanford Library, Library of Congress, USC Library. It has been cited as the largest database of acronyms and has been used in computational studies for its database. Listings of abbreviations on the website have also been used as a defense that an abbreviation is in public use and cannot be trademarked. While in some trademark cases citations for AF have been accepted it has been described as an unreliable reference in others. It has garnered criticism for the fact that anyone can submit abbreviations to the site and the content is user generated. Mike Molloy the site's original owner had defended that each submission is verified before being added to the database.


References

{{reflist


External links


Official Website
Abbreviations Internet properties established in 1997