Definition of anacronym in English:



  • An acronym of which the constituent letters are taken from words that are unfamiliar to most people (e.g. Nicam, scuba).

    • ‘How are you supposed to understand all of the unusual phrases and anacronyms used by Estate Agents, Solicitors and Mortgage companies unless someone tells you?’
    • ‘I think there are, there are also cases where the… the anacronym has become the word and I've had several times where I've asked a colleague what an anacronym stands for and it's lost in the mists of time and the anacronym becomes the word.’
    • ‘We used to talk in anacronyms all the time.’
    • ‘Rtems is an anacronym for the Real Time Executive for Multiprocessor Systems.’
    • ‘I sure hope that's not an anacronym for somebody else!’
    • ‘And lest the anacronyms escape you, what they really mean is an average data speed of 400-700 kbps and peaks of 2 Mbps when accessing the content and services.’
    • ‘Bibliographic description has many specialized terms, anacronyms and abbreviations too numerous to be listed here.’
    • ‘Rob gave an after dinner speech at the meeting and had a contest to see what other anacronyms ARCH might stand for.’
    • ‘Besides, all the ‘punk bands’ used anacronyms in their names.’
    • ‘Photography anacronyms like SOOTC and DOF can be confusing to new members.’
    • ‘Not including the usual suspects, like recursive anacronyms, such as GNU (Gnu is Not Unix), WINE (Wine Is Not an Emulator) and so on, what other anacronyms are there which lead you to wonder if the person who thought it up had maybe sniffed a bit too much printer toner…?’
    • ‘At least mine was at least vaguely more constructive than an openly used, meaningless three letter word, which is an anacronym for something people never even say.’
    • ‘There are many terms and anacronyms that can leave you a bit mystified as to what you actually need or require from your Internet Service Provider.’
    • ‘The heritage of McMurdo as a military base really shows in the anacronyms used for buildings.’


1980s: from Greek an- ‘without’ + acronym.