100+ Popular Acronyms Used Daily and their Meaning

I may say that acronyms are likely to be compared to abbreviations because they are a shorthand way of expressing an idea. Acronyms are popular and wildly used; they are made up of the first letters of a word. They are of immense importance to writing as they curb the use of repetitive and cumbersome titles.

For example, the phrase “Human Immune Virus” is often shortened to HIV. Acronyms are usually spelled with capital letters and pronounced as a new word.

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“Acronym” is a blanket term that can also encompass initialisms. An initialism is a phrase that uses the first letter of each word to indicate it, but it is not pronounceable as a separate word. Instead, initialisms are pronounced by saying each letter of the word individually. 

Compiled below are lists of some commonly used acronyms in Nigeria and some are used worldwide such as SMS.

  1. GCE (General Certificate on Education)
  2. GSM (Global System for Mobile Communication)
  3. NAN – News Agency of Nigeria
  4. SAN – Senior Advocate of Nigeria
  5. SSS – State Security service
  6. PMAN – Performing Musician Association of Nigeria
  7. NUJ – Nigeria Union of Journalist
  8. NUT – Nigeria Union of Teachers.
  9. OAU – Organisation of Africa Unity
  10. NTA – Nigeria Television Authority
  11. NRC – Nigeria Railway Corporation
  12. NSE – Nigeria Stock Exchange
  13. NLC – Nigeria Labour Congress
  14. NMA – Nigeria Medical Association
  15. WWW – World Wide Web
  16. WAEC – West Africa Examination Council
  17. WHO – World Health Organisation
  18. NPA – Nigeria Port Authority
  19. NOC – National Oil Company
  20. PPMC – Pipeline and Product Marketing Company
  21. OPEC – Organisation Of Petroleum Exporting Corporation
  22. NNPC – Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation
  23. PHCN –Power Holding Company Of Nigeria
  24. NDLEA-  National Drug Law Enforcement Agency
  25. NCC – Nigeria Communication Company
  26. NBA – Nigerian Bar Association
  27. NUC – Nigerian University Commission
  28. EFCC – Economic And Financial Crime Commission
  29. FSP – Family Support Programm
  30. HIV – Human Immune Deficiency Virus
  31. NYSC –  Nigeria Youth Service Corps
  32. NHRC – National Human Right Commission
  33. ASUU – Academic Staff Union Of University
  34. NDA – Nigeria Defense Academy
  35. BPE – Bureau of Public Enterprise
  36. ATM – Automated Teller Machine
  37. CV – Curriculum Vitae
  38. NEWS-  North East South West
  39. ISBN – International Standard Book Number
  40. ISSN – International Serial Number
  41. ECOWAS – Economic Community Of West Africa
  42. FIFA – Federation of International Football Association
  43. FDA – Food and drugs Administration
  44. FESTAC Festival Of Arts And Culture
  45. FEC – Federal Executive Council
  46. FAAN – Federal Airport Authority
  47. BSC – Bachelor of Science
  48. BON – Broadcasting Organisation Of Nigeria
  49. CAN – Christian Association Of Nigeria
  50. CPC – Custom Processing Center
  51. AU – African Union
  52. SIM – Subscriber Identification Module
  53. MTN – Mobile Telephone Network
  54. SMS – Short Message Service
  55. MMS – Multi-Media Service
  56. NECO – National Examination Council
  57. NCE – National Certificate on Education
  58. INEC – Independent National Electoral Commission
  59. IMF – International Monetary fund
  60. ICJ – International Court of Justice
  61. ICPC – Independent Corrupt Practice and Other Related Offence Commission
  62. FRSC – Federal Road Safety Commission
  63. NAFDAC – National Agency for Drug Administration And Control
  64. NPF/NP – Nigeria Police (Formerly Nigeria Police Force)

Other Forms of Acronyms Used Everyday

Common Acronyms Used in Business

  1. AKA – Also Known As
  2. CAPTCHA – Completely Automated Public Turing Test to tell Computers and Humans Apart
  3. CST – Central Standard Time
  4. DAEMON – Disk And Execution Monitor
  5. DBA – Doing Business As
  6. DND – Do Not Disturb
  7. EDS – Electronic Data Systems
  8. EOD – End of Day
  9. EST – Eastern Standard Time
  10. ETA – Estimated Time of Arrival
  11. HR – Human Resources
  12. MBA – Masters of Business Administration
  13. MST – Mountain Standard Time
  14. NASDAQ – National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotation
  15. OT – Overtime
  16. POS – Point Of Service
  17. PST – Pacific Standard Time
  18. SWOT – Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats
  19. SMART Goals – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-bound Goals
  20. TED (Talk) – Tell me, Explain to me, Describe to me (Talk)

Common Acronyms Used as Identifiers

  1. AA – Alcoholics Anonymous
  2. AAAS – American Association for the Advancement of Science
  3. AARP – American Association of Retired Persons
  4. ADA – American Dental Association
  5. AFL – American Football League
  6. AMA – American Medical Association
  7. APA – American Psychological Association
  8. ESPN – Entertainment and Sports Programming Network
  9. FLAG – Foreign Language Association of Georgia
  10. MADD – Mothers Against Drunk Driving
  11. MLA – Modern Language Association
  12. NBA – National Basketball Association
  13. NFL – National Football League
  14. NHL – National Hockey League
  15. PAWS – Progressive Animal Welfare Society
  16. PGA – Professional Golfer’s Association
  17. SPCA – Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
  18. SWF – Single White Female
  19. SWM – Single White Male
  20. WWE – World Wrestling Entertainment

Common Informative Acronyms

  1. ABS – Anti-lock Braking System
  2. ADD – Attention Deficit Disorder
  3. ADHD – Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
  4. AIDS – Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome
  5. AMA – Against Medical Advice
  6. CDC – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  7. DARE – Drug Abuse Resistance Education
  8. DOA – Dead On Arrival
  9. DOB – Date Of Birth
  10. DIY – Do It Yourself
  11. FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions
  12. GIF – Graphics Interchange Format
  13. HIV – Human Immunodeficiency Virus
  14. MD – Medical Doctor
  15. OTC – Over The Counter
  16. PPV – Pay Per View
  17. RADAR – Radio Detection And Ranging
  18. SONAR – Sound Navigation And Ranging
  19. SUV – Sports Utility Vehicle
  20. UFO – Unidentified Flying Object

Common Acronyms in the Military and Government

  1. ASAP – As Soon As Possible
  2. AWOL – Absent Without Leave
  3. CIA – Central Intelligence Agency
  4. CPS – Child Protective Services
  5. CSI – Crime Scene Investigation
  6. DAFB – Dover Air Force Base
  7. DMV – Division of Motor Vehicles
  8. DNC – Democratic National Committee
  9. FBI – Federal Bureau of Investigation
  10. FUBAR – F***ed Up Beyond All Recognition
  11. MIA – Missing In Action
  12. OSHA – Occupational Safety and Health Administration
  13. NAFTA – North American Free Trade Agreement
  14. NASA – National Aeronautics and Space Administration
  15. Navy SEALs – Navy Sea Air Land forces
  16. POTUS – President of the United States
  17. POW – Prisoner Of War
  18. RNC – Republican National Committee
  19. SCOTUS – Supreme Court of the United States
  20. SWAT – Special Weapons And Tactics

Common Acronyms in Chat

  1. AFK – Away From Keyboard
  2. BBIAB – Be Back In A Bit
  3. BBL – Be Back Later
  4. BBS – Be Back Soon
  5. BEG – Big Evil Grin
  6. BRB – Be Right Back
  7. BTW – By The Way
  8. EG – Evil Grin
  9. FISH – First In, Still Here
  10. IDK – I Don’t Know
  11. IMO – In My Opinion
  12. IRL – In Real Life
  13. KISS – Keep It Simple, Stupid
  14. LOL – Laughing Out Loud
  15. NYOB – None of Your Business
  16. OMG – Oh My God
  17. PANS – Pretty Awesome New Stuff
  18. PHAT – Pretty, Hot, And Tempting
  19. POS – Parents Over Shoulder
  20. TTYL – Talk To You Later

Common acronyms

AM/PM Abbreviations for “ante meridiem” and “post meridiem”
ASAP As soon as possible
BOGO Buy one, get one
BOPUS Buy online, pick up in store
ICYMI An abbreviation meaning “in case you missed it”
FOMO Fear of missing out
FWIW An abbreviation meaning “for what it’s worth”
LASER Light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation
Ms. Commonly considered an abbreviation for “miss,” but technically it’s not an abbreviation for anything. The period is there to indicate that it’s a valid title for adults to use.
P.S. An abbreviation for “postscript”
PIN Personal identification number
RADAR Radio detecting and ranging
RIP Rest in peace (this can also be an initialism, as some people say “r” “i” “p”)
SCUBA Self-contained underwater breathing apparatus
SMART Specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, time-bound (commonly used when setting goals)
SNAFU Situation normal, all fouled up
SOHCAHTOA Acronym used in mathematics to remember the trigonometric functions sine, cosine, and tangent.
SONAR Sound navigation and ranging
SOS Commonly assumed to stand for “save our ship”, but technically, the international distress signal doesn’t stand for anything
TASER Tom A. Swift Electric Rifle
VIN Vehicle identification number
WD-40 Water Displacement, 40th formula
YOLO You only live once
ZIP Zone improvement plan

Computer and Internet acronyms

AJAX Asynchronous JavaScript And XML
CAPTCHA Completely Automated Public Turing Test to tell Computers and Humans Apart
CD-ROM Compact Disc Read-Only Memory
DVD Digital Versatile Disc
Fios Fiber Optic Service
GIF Graphics Interchange Format
JPEG Joint Photographic Experts Group
JSON JavaScript Object Notation
PNG Portable Network Graphics
RAM Random Access Memory
SIM Subscriber Identity Module (as in a SIM card)
URL An initialism that stands for “Uniform Resource Locator”
WiFi An abbreviation commonly thought to stand for “Wireless Fidelity”, but technically, it doesn’t stand for anything

Military and government acronyms

AWOL Absent without leave
CONUS The Continental United States
FEMA Federal Emergency Management Agency
FLOTUS First Lady of the United States
FOIA Freedom of Information Act
HIPPA Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996
HUD Department of Housing and Urban Development
ICE Immigration and Customs Enforcement
NATO North Atlantic Treaty Organization
OCONUS Outside the Continental United States
OSHA Occupational Safety and Health Administration
POTUS President of the United States
SCOTUS Supreme Court of the United States
SWAT Special Weapons And Tactics
WIC Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children

Medical acronyms

AIDS Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome
COVID-19 Coronavirus disease of 2019
CPAP Continuous positive airway pressure
ICU Intensive care unit
NICU Neonatal intensive care unit
Preop An abbreviation for “preoperative”
Postop An abbreviation for “postoperative”
ROM Range of motion
SARS Severe acute respiratory syndrome
STAT An abbreviation for “statim,” which is Latin for “immediately”
UTI Urinary tract infection


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