This week’s language term, abbreviation, is a little impatient. Why spend a lot of time and effort on something when it can be done quickly and efficiently? He always knows how to find the shortest way and prefers not to spend a cent too much. But he always does this to help others: he assumes that they would rather spend their time elsewhere.


An abbreviation is a way of writing down a longer word or series of words in a shortened form.

There is a wide variation in the use of upper and lower case letters in abbreviations. The same applies to whether or not to use periods after and/or in the abbreviation. One or more notations may be established for various abbreviations.


There are several ways to create abbreviated spelling, and they all fall under the umbrella term “abbreviation”. We list a few of them.

Purely written abbreviations

You do not pronounce these abbreviations as they appear. Instead, just say the words the abbreviation stands for.

  • What is your view on this problem?
  • Blokker will contact you tomorrow .
  • See page134 for more explanation.

When you read these sentences out loud, just say “regarding”, “doctor” and “page”. And not “embeetee”, “drr” or “bluz”.

There isn’t really a technical term for these kinds of abbreviations; they are sometimes referred to as “’real’ abbreviations” or “abbreviations in the narrow sense”.

Initial words

An initial word is made up of the first letters of the words in the abbreviated text, and these are also pronounced as single letters.

  • ‘Hello goodbye’ is a program by KRO-NCRV.
  • This scandal is a great embarrassment to the college of B and W.
  • My toiletis clogged again.

You can also create an initial word, including the initial letters of a word part in a compound word:

  • KLM stands for Royal Aviation Company.


An acronym is also made up of the first letters of the abbreviated words, but you pronounce it as if it were a word itself (and it is!).

  • Our son is in high school.
    [ higher general education ] _ _
  • We have switched to LED
    [ light and mittingdiode ]
  • Did you know that Dirk has contracted an STD?
    [ sexually tolerable disease ]

Some acronyms have become so common that not everyone knows what the letters actually stand for anymore. Do you know the ingredients of GIF (or gif ) – you know, those funny repetitive mini-movies you get thrown to death on the internet? ( hint )


This is an umbrella term that includes both initials and acronyms: all abbreviations formed with the initial letters of the omitted words. In a somewhat broader definition, you can also include syllable words (see below).

Sometimes a narrower definition is used in which only acronyms count as “true” acronyms. But here at Taaleidoscoop we don’t exclude initial words and syllable words.

Syllable words

A syllable word, like an initial word or acronym, is made up of the opening letters of the words it stands for, but it takes the first two (or more) letters of each word instead of just the very first letter. Often there is a vowel next to it, so that each of the constituent words contributes a syllable to the syllable word – hence the name.

  • Pim works in the hospitality industry .
    [ hotel, restaurant , cafe ]
  • Shall we go get some fries at FEBO ?
    [named after FerdinandBol Street ]
  • The Beneluxis a popular holiday area.
    [ Belgium, The Netherlands, Luxembourg ]

Here too, as with the initial word, you can use ingredients from a word part when making a syllable word, even if it is not at the beginning of the written word:

  • Covid stands for corona virus virus infection .


With an abbreviation you do not use individual letters from the constituent words as substitutes, but you omit part of the letters from a word – usually it is also one word.

  • Shall we go to the cinematonight ?
  • The US President ‘s helicopteris sometimes referred to as “Marine One.”
  • I think my car battery is dead.

As you can see, no initial letters have been recycled here, but the second part of the word bios[coop], heli[kopter] and accu[mulator] has simply been omitted.

You can also shorten it by cutting out other parts of the word, such as the middle letters. Think of the titles dr. for d[okte]r and ir. for i[ngenieu]r.

Sometimes the spelling of the abbreviation gets a slightly modified spelling or an extra sound. Think of buuf for “neighbor” and combo for “combination”.


Symbols also count as abbreviations. They often come from a technical, economic, legal or scientific context.

  • for
  • ©for
  • $for


This language term says exactly what it stands for. An abbreviation is shorter than the word or words it stands for.

  • af (adverb of deletion) + short + -ing (suffix to form a noun)

Do you know

Grammatically, an abbreviation applies as a word. That is why you can make diminutives with it ( pc’tje, accuutje), but also derivations ( mavoër, DVDs ), verbs ( texting, appen ), etc.

  • Diaphanous What is Diaphanous used for? - The etymology of the diaphanous adjective refers to diaphanus, a medieval Latin word, although its root is found in a Greek term that can be translated as “transparent”. Something diaphanous, therefore, is what allows the passage of light almost completely. For example: “The new museum has an open and spacious space for the exhibition of […]
  • malnutrition What is Malnutrition used for? - The term malnutrition refers to a pathological state caused by the lack of intake or absorption of nutrients. According to the severity of the condition, this disease can be divided into first, second and even third degree. Sometimes, the disorder can be mild and present, without symptoms, due to an inadequate or poorly balanced diet. […]
  • defibrillator What is Defibrillator used for? - A defibrillator is a device that allows the application of electrical shocks to restore normal heart rhythm. It is a sudden high-voltage discharge that manages to interrupt and reverse an arrhythmia (the irregular rhythm of the heart’s contractions). See Abbreviation Finder for acronyms related to Defibrillator. When there is an alteration in the electrical activity or […]
  • Break What is Break used for? - Rest is the rest, stillness or pause that is made in the middle of work or another activity. For example: “I’m taking a five-minute break and continue with the report”, “I’m sorry to inform you that today we will have to work tirelessly to meet the requirements of the new client”, “Since I started reading […]
  • Constitutional Law What is Constitutional Law used for? - The branch of law responsible for analyzing and controlling the fundamental laws that govern the State is known as constitutional law. Its object of study is the form of government and the regulation of public powers, both in their relationship with citizens and between their different bodies. More specifically, we can still determine that constitutional […]
  • Demeaning What is Demeaning used for? - Degrading is something that denigrates. The etymological origin of denigrating leads us to the Latin denigrāre, which means “to put black” or “stain”. The action of denigrating, therefore, consists of forming a (symbolic) stain on someone ‘s fame, reputation or opinion . The demeaning is something that tarnishes, insults, offends, offends or outrages. It can […]
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  • BELIEF What is Belief used for? - Before fully analyzing the term belief that concerns us, we must determine its etymological origin. In this sense, we would have to establish that it comes from Latin, and more specifically from what would be the sum of the verb credere, which can be translated as “to believe”, and the suffix -entia, which is equivalent […]
  • CULTURE OF LEGALITY What is Culture of Legality used for? - The first thing we are going to do before entering fully into the definition of the term culture of legality is to establish the etymological origin of the two main words that give it shape. Two words that emanate from Latin: Culture comes from “cultura” which, in turn, derives from “cultus” which can be translated […]
  • LAST QUARTER What is Last Quarter used for? - The change of the visible surface of the Moon from the Earth gives rise to the so-called lunar phases : one of them is known as the last quarter. These modifications are produced by the change in position of the satellite with respect to our planet and the Sun. The lunar phases follow one another, […]