Whats the word called when you use the first letter of each word to abbreviate something?

Question:like fbi or nba... etc.
can't remember for the life of me what thats called.

it's an acronym
Initialism. If the initials spell a word or are pronounced as a word, then it's an acronym.
ac·ro·nym (ăk'rə-nĭm′)
A word formed from the initial letters of a name, such as WAC for Women's Army Corps, or by combining initial letters or parts of a series of words, such as radar for radio detecting and ranging.

It depends on which dictionary you read.

1) All agree that if you pronounce it as a separate word ("laser" and "Aids"), then it's an ACRONYM.
2) All agree that if instead you pronounce it by naming the letters (saying "en-bee-ay" for "NBA", or "ef-bee-eye" for "FBI"), then it's an INITIALISM.

Some dictionaries, such as Merriam Webster, say the word "acronym" includes initialisms. But most define "acronym" so that it does not include initialisms. Amer. Heritage, Compact Oxford Eng. Dict., Cambridge Dict.

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