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Last modified: Tuesday, September 10, 2002 

Technically, a word that is formed by combining some parts (usually the first letters) of some other terms. For example, modem is the acronym derived from modulator/demodulator. In everyday speech, the term is also used to refer to initialisms, which are combinations of letters representing a longer phrase. For example, CRT is an initialism for cathode ray tube. The difference is that an acronym is pronounced as if it were a word rather than just a series of individual letters.

Newsgroups, chat rooms, and e-mail have spawned a rich set of acronyms and initialisms for common phrases. A few of the more common ones are listed below.
Acronym/Initialism Meaning
ASAPAs Soon As Possible
BTWBy The Way
FWIWFor What It's Worth
FYIFor Your Information
IMHOIn My Humble Opinion
IMOIn My Opinion
LOLLaughing Out Loud
ROTFLRolling On The Floor Laughing
RTFMRead The #&!@ing Manual
TIAThanks In Advance

Also see the page of text messaging abbreviations in the Quick Reference section of Webopedia.

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Non-Technical Acronyms (NTAs)
List of common NTAs used in chat rooms.

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