25 Common Acronyms Examples You Should Know

Acronyms show up in formal writing and informal writing, so recognizing acronyms examples is helpful.

Acronyms are new words you create when you use the first letters of each word in a phrase or a list. Combining the letters gives you a pronounceable word that other English readers and listeners understand.

Acronyms are shorthand abbreviations that, over time, become part of everyday language. To understand how this works, consider some common acronym examples in the English language.

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Studying Acronyms Examples

Common acronyms examples

Acronyms are often words you don’t even think about as being abbreviations. They have become so much a part of normal life and language that you think of them as their own words. Studying examples of acronyms will help you understand how these words develop. You might also find these examples of situational irony helpful.

Examples of Popular Acronyms

Acronyms examples
SCUBA is an acronym for “self-contained underwater breathing apparatus”

Whether they are fun or just shortened for convenience, these popular acronyms have made their way into everyday conversation.


ASAP is an acronym for as soon as possible. This common phrase means you will do something when you have the chance.


The IMAX in IMAX Theater actually stands for Image Maximum. This is a large-format movie theater.

3. PIN

When in all-caps, the word PIN stands for “personal identification number.” This is a secret number you create to access private documents, files and account information.


RADAR stands for “radio detection and ranging.” This technology is rarely called anything other than its acronym.


The electrical weapon actually is an acronym for “Thomas A. Swift’s Electric Rifle.”


This piece of diving equipment is an acronym for “self-contained underwater breathing apparatus.”


KISS means “keep it simple, stupid,” and serves as a reminder not to complicated subject matter.

Professional Organizations That Are Acronyms

Professional organizations and government agencies often get called by their initials. In fact, many of these acronyms are so common that people no longer know the actual names of these organizations.


NASA stands for “National Aeronautics and Space Administration,” and this organization once took a man to the moon.


NAFTA is the acronym for the “North American Free Trade Agreement.” This organization governs trade among North American countries.


The “Health Insurance Portability Accountability Act” is responsible for keeping medical information private.

11. DARE

Most people no longer remember that DARE stands for “Drug Abuse Resistance Education”

12. NATO

NATO is the “North Atlantic Treaty Organization,” which works to protect the freedom and security of its member countries in North America and Europe.

13. HUD

The Department of “Housing and Urban Development” is often shortened to the acronym HUD.


POTUS is an acronym that stands for the “President of the United States.” When spoken out loud, it sounds like ‘po tus.’


UNICEF, the “United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund,” provides funding to help children in crisis around the globe.

16. FBI

The “Federal Bureau of Investigations” is a common acronym.

Popular Abbreviations from the Internet

The Internet caused an increase in the number of abbreviations, acronyms and initialisms accepted in the English language. Many internet acronyms are not actually true acronyms because you do not speak them as words, but rather say the individual letters when saying the abbreviation.

17. BRB

This one stands for “be right back” and is often used in text or chat discussions when one person has to step away.

18. DIY

DIY, or “do it yourself,” is common on many websites that provide tutorials or help.

19. LOL

This abbreviation stands for “laugh out loud” and typically means something is very funny.

20. FYI

“For your information” is no longer used often, but FYI is common in texting and chatting.

21. FOMO

Marketers often try to create a “fear of missing out” so people will jump in and buy a product or service.

22. GIF

Few people even know that GIF stands for “graphics interchange format” when they search for these moving image pictures.

23. JPEG

People rarely, if ever, use the full name of the “joint photographic experts group,” opting instead to call it a JPEG.

24. YOLO

YOLO means “you only live once” and is a common expression used to encourage exciting or thrilling experiences.

25. BAE

This final acronym, pronounced “bay,” means “before anyone else.” It often refers to a boyfriend or girlfriend.

How and When to Use Acronyms

Acronyms fall into two categories: Formal and informal.

Formal acronyms, like UNICEF and HUD, often show up in formal papers. In these instances, they have their full name written out, followed by parentheses that contain the acronym in capital letters.

Informal acronyms show up in messaging and texting platforms. Sometimes, like with LOL or BRB, they use capital letters, but sometimes the words become so commonplace, such as with taser or scuba, that the lowercase letters become standard.

A Final Word on Acronyms Examples

Acronyms can confuse readers if they have no knowledge of the meaning. To avoid confusion in formal writing, always define acronyms first, except for those that have morphed into real words, like taser.

In informal writing, acronyms are common and used liberally. Most people know what they mean when they see them on social media or in a text, so feel free to use them as often as you would like.

FAQs About Acronyms Examples

What is an acronym with examples?

An acronym is a word made from the initials of a phrase or name. Some common examples include:
1. POTUS – President of the United States
2. ASAP – As soon as possible
3. PIN – Personal Identification Number

How to use acronyms in a sentence?

Acronyms are usually nouns in a sentence. They take the place of the words they represent. Here is an example:

1. The FBI will investigate the crime.
2. The NASA astronauts were celebrities after their moonwalk.