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There is also some disagreement as to what to call abbreviations that some speakers pronounce as separate letters and others pronounce as a word.For example, the terms URL and IRA can be pronounced as individual letters or as a single word.Traditionally, in English, abbreviations have been written with a full stop/period/point in place of the deleted part to show the ellipsis of letters, although the colon and apostrophe have also had this role.

The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) records the first printed use of the word initialism as occurring in 1899, but it did not come into general use until 1965, well after acronym had become common.The early Christians in Rome used the image of a fish as a symbol for Jesus in part because of an acronym—fish in Greek is ΙΧΘΥΣ (ichthys), which was said to stand for (Iesous CHristos THeou (h) Uios Soter: Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior).Evidence of this interpretation dates from the second and third centuries and is preserved in the catacombs of Rome.I.’s, with no apostrophe after the s.) A particularly rich source of options arises when the plural of an initialism would normally be indicated in a word other than the final word if spelled out in full.A classic example is Member of Parliament, which in plural is Members of Parliament. ), as famously by a former Australian Prime Minister. In such instances, possessive abbreviations are often foregone in favor of simple attributive usage (for example, the U. economy) or expanding the abbreviation to its full form and then making the possessive (for example, the United States' economy).

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