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acronym a type of abbreviation used as a word, formed by combining the initial letters (or initial parts) of words that make up a particular string. The pronunciation of an acronym is based on the typical rules of pronouncing words in a language and is not made up of the sounds of the names of individual letters.
AIDS acronym of "acquired immune deficiency syndrome," a usu. fatal viral disease of the body's immune system, transferred through blood, sexual contact, contaminated hypodermic needles, or the like.
Anzac a soldier in the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps during World War I (acronym for "Australia and New Zealand Army Corps"). [1/2 definitions]
ASAP abbreviation of "as soon as possible" (sometimes pronounced as an acronym.)
AWACS an aircraft fitted with a radome and carrying sophisticated radar and computer equipment, used for reconnaissance and for directing ground forces, or a warning system employing such aircraft (acronym for "Airborne Warning and Control System").
BASIC a simplified computer language (acronym for "beginner's all-purpose symbolic instruction code").
CAD acronym of "computer-aided design."
CAM acronym of "computer-aided manufacturing."
CARE acronym of "Cooperative for American Relief Everywhere."
COBOL a computer language using English syntax and a large vocabulary of English words (acronym for "common business-oriented language").
COLA an adjustment in wages or payments, or an automatic schedule of such adjustments, based on changes in the cost of living (acronym for "cost of living adjustment").
Comecon an international trade association of communist nations (acronym for "Council for Mutual Economic Assistance").
Cominform a European Communist organization that espoused the policies of the Soviet Union (acronym for "Communist Information Bureau").
DEW line a line of radar stations, located along the seventieth parallel in Canada and the United States, that provides advance notice of approaching hostile aircraft or missiles (acronym for "distant early warning").
elint the gathering of information by use of electronic devices located on ships, airplanes, satellites, or the like (acronym for "electronic intelligence").
FICA acronym of "Federal Insurance Contributions Act," a federal tax law requiring employers to withhold a certain amount from employees' paychecks or wages for deposit in governmental accounts that fund Social Security.
FORTRAN a computer language using mathematical notation and used in scientific problems (acronym for "formula translation").
Interpol an international police organization that coordinates the police activities of member nations (acronym for "International Criminal Police Organization").
jato an act or the process of taking off by an aircraft using auxiliary or disposable jet or rocket engines (acronym for "jet-assisted takeoff"). [1/2 definitions]
Landsat any of several U.S. satellites that gather and transmit data about the earth (acronym for "land satellite").
laser a device that amplifies electrical impulses at mixed frequencies in or near the range of visible light by stimulating the atoms in a medium such as a gas or crystal, producing an intense, concentrated beam of light at one or more virtually distinct frequencies (acronym for "light amplified by stimulated emission of radiation").