Last updated 4 August, 2003
An apronym is a kind of acronym. While many acronyms are just bunches of letters determined by the initials of the phrases they represent, such as JBOLDBTIOTPTR for some of this sentence, apronyms have a meaning even if you don't know what the letters stand for. Usually, an apronym starts from a word or phrase, and somebody 'expands' that by working out a phrase which the original word/phrase can stand for. The expansion must have some relevance to the apronym intself. As an example, the apronym 'APRONYMS' can expand, as at the top of this page, to 'Anyone's Permitted Ratifying O'Grady's Neologism? Yes, Make Some!' since the neologism 'apronym' was coined by Tony McCoy O'Grady. There are plenty more examples of apronyms on this website.
You won't find 'apronym' in a dictionary just yet. 'Apronym' was coined on the Acronyms Forums in response to a request for a word for such 'meaningful acronyms'. The original forum thread is at:
Other ideas were mentioned, such as 'aptonym' but there was concern it would be confused with the established word 'aptronym'. Indeed there are many websites where 'aptonym' is mistakenly used instead of 'aptronym', but none confusing 'apronym' with anything.
'Apronym' was first used in this paper presented at the Australian Bureau of Statistics and the Australian Institute of Criminology Conference on Evaluation in Crime and Justice: Trends and Methods, Canberra, 25 March 2003. An impressive start, but not enough to get it into a dictionary. If enough people start using the word it will get into a dictionary, which would be great. Next time your friends are discussing things like the USA PATRIOT act, impress them by telling them that's an apronym.
Other forum threads related to apronyms are: