a.k.a. conversational abbreviations, acronym, abbreviation, alphabetism, initialism, shorthand, text message shorthand, text messaging shorthand
A nickname for abbreviations of words used primarily in [[chat
room|chat rooms]] and while texting or instant messaging, chat
acronyms are popular on the Internet as a modern day type of
shorthand for common phrases.
This type of shorthand is also seen in e-mail messages, [[text message|text
messages]], newsgrouppostings, [[discussion
board|discussion boards]], and in the media in general. One reason acronyms and shorthand are used so widely is that it's quicker and easier to type a few letters rather than to type the full expression. They're fun (but they can also be naughty)!
The difference between acronyms and shorthand is that with acronyms, you pronounce the letters as a new word (for example, "FUBAR" is pronounced "foo-bar" and "RADAR" is pronounced "ray-dar"). In contrast, shorthand pronunciations are like an alphabetism (a set of initials) or initialism (the first initial) in which you say the letters one-by-one (for example, "ESP" is an initialism for "extra sensory perception" whereas "esp." is an abbreviation for especially). The online practice is to refer to any online shorthand, initialisms, or abbreviations as acronyms.
For the largest list of Internet acronyms and text message shorthand, click on "more info" below!