An acronym is an abbreviation, used and pronounced as a word, which is formed from the initial components in a phrase or a word. Usually these components are individual letters (as in NATO or laser). Initialisms are similar, but the combination of letters in an initialism is NOT said as a word, such as FBI or NPR.
(Neither of these – acronyms or initialisms - should be confused with abbreviations which are a shortened form of a word, like Dr. for Doctor, etc.)
Punctuation and ACRONYMS:
WHY MAKE ACRONYMS and INTIALISMS?