While the word abbreviation refers to any shortened form of a word or a phrase, some have used initialism or alphabetism to refer to an abbreviation formed simply from a string of initials. In 1943, Bell Laboratories coined the term acronym as the name for a word (such as SONAR) created from the first letters of each word in a series of words (such as SOund Navigation And Ranging). The terms initialism and alphabetism are neither widely used nor widely known. The term acronym is widely used to describe any abbreviation formed from initial letters.
Most dictionaries define acronym to mean "a word" in its original sense, while some include a secondary indication of usage, attributing to acronym the same meaning as that of initialism. According to the primary definition found in most dictionaries, examples of acronyms would include NATO (pronounced /ˈneɪtoʊ/), scuba (/ˈskuːbə/, self-contained underwater breathing apparatus), and radar (/ˈreɪdɑr/, radio detection and ranging), while examples of simple abbreviations (initialisms) would include FBI (/ˌɛfˌbiːˈaɪ/) and HTML (/ˌeɪtʃˌtiːˌɛmˈɛl/).