An acronym is a word or name formed from the initial components of a longer name or phrase using individual initial letters, as in NATO or EU, but sometimes using syllables, as in Benelux, or a mixture of the two, as in radar. Acronyms are sometimes pronounced as words, as in NASA or UNESCO, sometimes as the individual letters, as in FBI or ATM, or a mixture of the two, as in JPEG or IUPAC; the broader sense of acronym inclusive of terms pronounced as the individual letters is sometimes criticized, but it is the term's original meaning and is in common use. Language authorities such as dictionary and style guide editors are not in universal agreement on the naming for such abbreviations—in particular it is a matter of some dispute whether the term acronym can be legitimately applied to abbreviations which are not pronounced "as words"—or the correct use of space and punctuation. See the Nomenclature and style guides and Orthographic styling sections below; the word acronym is formed from the Greek roots acr-, meaning "height, summit, or tip" and -onym, meaning "name".
This neoclassical compound appears to have originated in German, with attestations for the German form Akronym from as early as 1921. English language citations for acronym date to a 1940 translation of a Lion Feuchtwanger novel. Whereas an abbreviation may be any type of shortened form, such as words with the middle omitted, an acronym is formed from the first letter or first few letters of each word in a phrase. In addition to acronym, the terms initialism and alphabetism are used for abbreviations formed from a string of initials. There is no special term for abbreviations whose pronunciation involves the combination of letter names and words or word-like pronunciations of strings of letters, such as "JPEG" and "MS-DOS". There is some disagreement as to what to call abbreviations that some speakers pronounce as letters and others pronounce as a word. For example, the terms "URL" and "IRA" can be pronounced as individual letters: and, respectively; the spelled-out form of an acronym or initialism is called its expansion.
It is an unsettled question in English lexicography and style guides whether it is legitimate to use the word acronym to describe forms that use initials but are not pronounced as a word. While there is plenty of evidence that acronym is used in this way, some sources do not acknowledge this usage, reserving the term acronym only for forms pronounced as a word, using initialism or abbreviation for those that are not; some sources acknowledge the usage, but vary in whether they criticize or forbid it, allow it without comment, or explicitly advocate for it. Some mainstream English dictionaries from across the English-speaking world affirm a sense of acronym which does not require being pronounced as a word. American English dictionaries such as Merriam-Webster, Dictionary.com's Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary and the American Heritage Dictionary as well as the British Oxford English Dictionary and the Australian Macquarie Dictionary all include a sense in their entries for acronym equating it with initialism, although The American Heritage Dictionary criticizes it with the label "usage problem".
However, many English language dictionaries, such as the Collins COBUILD Advanced Dictionary, Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary, Macmillan Dictionary, Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, New Oxford American Dictionary, Webster's New World Dictionary, Lexico from Oxford University Press do not acknowledge such a sense. Most of the dictionary entries and style guide recommendations regarding the term acronym through the twentieth century did not explicitly acknowledge or support the expansive sense; the Merriam–Webster's Dictionary of English Usage from 1994 is one of the earliest publications to advocate for the expansive sense, all the major dictionary editions that include a sense of acronym equating it with initialism were first published in the twenty-first century. The trend among dictionary editors appears to be towards including a sense defining acronym as initialism: The Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary added such a sense in its eleventh edition in 2003, both the Oxford English Dictionary and the American Heritage Dictionary added such senses in their 2011 editions.
The 1989 edition of the Oxford English Dictionary only included the exclusive sense for acronym and its earliest citation was from 1943. In early December 2010, Duke University researcher Stephen Goranson published a citation for acronym to the American Dialect Society e-mail discussion list which refers to PGN being pronounced "pee-gee-enn," antedating English language usage of the word to 1940. Linguist Ben Zimmer mentioned this citation in his December 16, 2010 "On Language" column about acronyms in The New York Times Magazine. By 2011, the publication of the third edition of the Oxford English Dictionary added the expansive sense to its entry for acronym and included the 1940 citation; as the Oxford English Dictionary structures the senses in order of chronological development, it now gives the "initialism" sense first. English language usage and style guides which have entries for acronym criticize the usage that refers to forms that are not pronounceable words. Fowler's Dictionary of Modern English Usage says that acronym "denotes abbreviations formed from initial letters of other words and pronounced as a single word, such as NATO" but adds "In everyday use, acronym is a
The second USS Palos, a shallow draft gunboat built for service on the Yangtze River, was pre-constructed at Mare Island Navy Yard in 1912. One of two light draft warships designed for service on the Upper Yangtze River over 900 miles inland, Palos departed Shanghai on 29 June to begin patrolling. Steaming upriver through steep gorges and swift rapids, the gunboat became the first U. S. warship to reach 1,300 miles from the sea, on 28 August. Remaining at that port until 23 September, she joined her sister-ship USS Monocacy in protecting American lives and property on the upper reaches of the Yangtze. Except for a brief period from 6 April to 14 August 1917 when she was interned at Shanghai before an international agreement allowed Allied warships to continue patrols, Palos spent her entire career as part of the Yangtze Patrol. During the course of her service, the gunboat protected American interests in China down the entire length of the Yangtze, at times convoying U. S. and foreign vessels on the river, evacuating American citizens during periods of disturbance and in general giving credible presence to U.
S. residences in various Chinese cities. In the period of great unrest in central China in the 1920s, Palos was busy patrolling the upper Yangtze against bands of warlord soldiers and outlaws; the warship engaged in continuous patrol operations between Ichang and Chungking throughout 1923, supplying armed guards to merchant ships, protecting Americans at Chungking while that city was under siege by a warlord army. As the Nationalist Revolution progressed in the Middle Yangtze Valley, Palos stood down river and operated about Hankow and Kiukiang through 1927, she was reclassified PR-1 on 15 June 1928, continued her river patrol operations until being placed in reserve in June 1929 when six new river gunboats joined the Yangtze Patrol. Basing out of Shanghai, Palos cruised the lower Yangtze and its tributaries, making less frequent patrols to the upper river except when unrest required additional naval presence; the gunboat was still active, despite her reserve status, In the summer of 1930, the warship proceeded to Changsha, a treaty port on Tungting Lake below Hankow and provided protection for American and German nationals from guerilla activity, receiving official thanks from the German government for her work.
She was placed in full commission on 5 September 1931 in response to the need for additional gunboats to supplement the Yangtze Patrol in relief work for the disastrous summer floods, the worst in the Yangtzes history, which inundated 34,000 square miles of land and left millions homeless. Palos continued Yangtze Patrol operations until October 1934 and departed Shanghai for Chungking to take up duty there as permanent station ship. After a long and difficult voyage through the rapids, the gunboat docked at the Chungking Navy Club on 12 November and remained there until decommissioned and struck from the Navy List on 21 May 1937, she was subsequently scrapped. This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships; the entry can be found here. NavSource Online
David Williams was a militiaman from the state of New York during the American Revolution. In 1780, he was one of three men to capture British Major John André, convicted and executed as a spy for conspiring with treasonous Continental general and commandant of West Point Benedict Arnold. Williams should not be confused with, is not related to, David Williams of Massachusetts, a participant in the Boston Tea Party. Born in Tarrytown, New York, Williams had been a farmer before joining the Continental Army in 1775. Serving under Gen. Richard Montgomery, he took part in several campaigns, he was forced to leave active service in 1779 after his feet were badly frozen, leaving him disabled for life. Despite this condition, Williams continued to lend his support to the volunteer forces in his native area: overnight on September 22–23, 1780, he joined militiamen John Paulding and Isaac Van Wart as part of an armed patrol; the three men seized British officer Major John André at a site in Tarrytown, now called Patriot's Park.
Williams searched André and discovered, hidden inside his boots, the documents of his secret communication with Continental officer Benedict Arnold. The militiamen, all yeomen farmers, refused Andre's bribe and took the officer to Continental Army headquarters. Arnold's plans to surrender West Point to the British were revealed and foiled, Williams was among the witnesses when André was hanged as a spy. With George Washington's personal recommendation, the United States Congress awarded Williams and Van Wart the first military decoration of the United States, the silver medal known as the Fidelity Medallion; each of the three received federal pensions of $200 a year. New York State awarded them valuable farms; the three militiamen were celebrated in their lifetimes: commemorations large and small abound in Westchester, can be found in many disparate parts of the early United States. Among other honors, each of the men had his name given to a county in the new state of Ohio: Williams County is in the extreme northwest corner of the state.
Still and the others did see their reputations impugned by some. André at his trial had insisted. Giving voice to this sympathy, Representative Benjamin Tallmadge of Connecticut persuaded Congress not to grant the men a requested pension increase in 1817, publicly assailing their credibility and motivations. Tallmadge, in 1780 a major, was the officer to whom André was taken after his capture, he said he believed André's account over that of the three captors, he said Williams and the other two were "of that class of people who passed between both armies, as in one camp as in the other." He said that "when Major André's boots were taken off by them, it was to search for plunder, not to detect treason." He asserted that "if Andre could have given to these men the amount they demanded for his release, he never would have been hung for a spy, nor in captivity.." Despite the slight, the men's popular acclaim continued to grow throughout the 19th century to almost-mythic status, as was characteristic of that hyperbolic age.
Some modern scholars have hyperbolically interpreted the episode as a major event in early American cultural development, representing the apotheosis of the common man in the new democratic society if that means both ignoring contemporary accounts of their character and actions and subsequent inflation of both during the nineteenth century. Williams is buried in the Old Stone Fort Cemetery in southwest of Albany; the inscription on his obelisk, characteristic of 19th century hyperbole which came to surround all three of Andre's captors, reads: "He with his compatriots John Paulding and Isaac VanWart on the 22nd of September 1780, arrested Major John Andre and found on his person treasonable papers in the handwriting of Gen. Benedict Arnold, who sought by treachery to surrender the military post of West Point into the hands of the enemy. In resisting the great bribes of their prisoner for his liberty, they showed their incorruptible patriotism. Williams is honored on the monument erected at the site of Major Andre's capture in Tarrytown, New York, on the east bank of the Hudson.
The community has streets named for all three men. Three streets in nearby Elmsford, NY, are named for them - although Williams Street was eliminated in the 1960s by construction of I-287. Ohio's Williams County is named after David Williams Williams' account of the capture. Online: Hudsonrivervalley.net. Genealogical and Family History of Southern New York and the Hudson River Valley Volume II, p. 457 Lossing, Benson John, The Pictorial Field-book of the Revolution. Harper & Bros. 1852. Online: University of Michigan. Raymond, Marcius Denison. David Williams and the capture of Andre: A paper read before the Tarrytown Historical Society Tarrytown: Tarrytown Argus - 1903 - approx. 35 pp. Bolton, Robert, A History of the County of West Chester. Gould, Alexander S. 1848. Online: Harvard University. Half Moon Press, "Cemeteries and Notable Burial Sites in Westchester County". NY, 2003. Online: Hudsonriver.com. Ed; the Builders of the Nation, National Cyclopaædia of American Biography. Stanley-Bradley Publishing Co.
NYC, 1892. Online: New York Public Library. Cray, Robert E. Jr. "Major John Andre and the Three Captors: Class Dynamics and Revolutionary Memory Wars in