Acronyms are abbreviations formed from the initial letters of a name or phrase. Long names and phrases are often abbreviated. Acronyms are often more common than the names or phrases that they represent.
The acronym UN is a well-known acronym for the United Nations. The acronym UNICEF is more common than United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund. UNESCO is an acronym for United National Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. As it is a long name, the acronym is very common.
The province of British Columbia, Canada is often referred to as BC and the city of Los Angeles is often LA. The United Kingdom is often called the UK. However, Great Britain is not abbreviated to GB in spoken language.
In certain cases, acronyms become so popular that people may not even realize that they are acronyms and may actually think of them as words. Examples include laser, radar and scuba. They mean "light amplication of simulated emission of radiation," radio detection and ranging," and "self-contained underwater breathing apparatus."
Foreign acronyms are the name of the Dutch airline KLM and the Swedish car company Saab. KLM is Dutch for Koninglijk Luchtmaatschappij which means Royal Air Company and Saab is Swedish for Svenska Aeroplan Aktiebolaget which means Swedish Airplane Limited. Though Saab is associated with cars, it originally manufactured planes and still does today.
Acronyms are abbreviations that are often more common than the names and phrases that they represent. This is particularly true for long names and phrases. Some acronyms have become so popular that they function as words because many are not aware that they are in fact acronyms.