Abbreviations and Acronyms


1. Initial Letter Abbreviations


We can make abbreviations from the first letters of many words, mostly with organization names.

See Abbreviation Rules for details.


Some Abbreviations

ABEDAArab Bank for Economic Development in Africa
ACCArab Cooperation Council
ACCTAgency for the French-Speaking Community
ACP GroupAfrican, Caribbean, and Pacific Group of States
AfDBAfrican Development Bank
AFESDArab Fund for Economic and Social Development
CEICentral European Initiative
CEMACouncil for Mutual Economic Assistance; also known as CMEA or Comecon
CEPGLEconomic Community of the Great Lakes Countries
CERNEuropean Organization for Nuclear Research
CIACentral Intelligence Agency
c.i.f.cost, insurance, and freight
EUEuropean Union
EuratomEuropean Atomic Energy Community
EutelsatEuropean Telecommunications Satellite Organization
Ex-ImExport-Import Bank of the United States
FBIFederal Bureau of Investigation
IBECInternational Bank for Economic Cooperation
IBRDInternational Bank for Reconstruction and Development (World Bank)
OASOrganization of American States
OAUOrganization of African Unity
UNESCOUnited Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization


When we need to use an article (a / an or the) we should pay attention to the pronunciation of the first letter of the abbreviation.

A Us citizen
An EU website
The UK

2. Acronyms


Some abbreviated letters that are pronounced like words are called acronyms.

For example:

  • The company name is called IKEA; it is read like any other word. It is never spelled out letter by letter: I - K- E- A.

  • ESL means English as a second language. - It is mostly used in American English.

  • EFL means English as a foreign language. - It is mostly used in British English.

  • ASAP (or A.S.A.P.) stands for "as soon as possible". We you use this abbreviation when we want someone to do something quickly: "Send me the report ASAP."


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