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This element is used to indicate that a group of words has been abbreviated. It allows the author to abbreviate a group of words in the text, but at the same time provide an unabbreviated version of those words for reference purposes.

The specifications are unclear as to the difference between the acronym and abbreviation elements, but a dictionary would show that an abbreviation is a shorted version of a word that may or may not be pronounceable (eg. etc), whereas an acronym is formed from the first letters of a series of words and is pronounceable (eg. RADAR). When the first letters do not form a pronounceable word (eg. WWW) it is known as an "initialism", a special form of abbreviation.

    class="class name(s)"
    dir="ltr | rtl"
    id="unique identifier"
    lang="language code"
    style="style information"

‡ = Required attribute
** = Transitional only

Explanation of attributes

class: used to state which class(es) the element belongs to. It is possible to indicate more than one class for an element by separating each class name with a space character. This attribute is normally used in combination with a stylesheet in order to associate the elements with particular styles defined within the stylesheet.

dir: used to set the direction of the text in combination with the language set in the lang attribute. The available values are "ltr" (left to right) and "rtl" (right to left), with the default value being "ltr".

id: used to specify a unique alphanumeric identifier to the element. This is usually used in combination with stylesheets in order to apply a style to one particular instance of an element. Only one element, regardless of type, can be given a particular id.

lang: used to indicate the language being used in the text contained within the element. The value of this attribute takes on the form of the ISO standard lanuage abbreviations found in RFC 3066. A list of these codes can be found on the ISO language codes page.

style: used to specify an inline style to apply to the element. The styles defined here override the styles declared in the header section.

title: used to define an advisory text that may be displayed as a tooltip when a mouse is used to hover over the element.

Event handlers

The following event handlers are defined for this element:

Basic example

<acronym title="National Aeronautics &amp; Space
Administration (USA)">NASA</acronym>

The above code will display something like: NASA


Description: Support of acronym and attributes in various browsers
Test Internet Explorer 6+ Netscape 4 Mozilla and Netscape 6+ Opera 6+ MSN TV (WebTV) Konqeuror 3.0+
Basic element support  Yes  No  Yes  Yes  No  Yes 
Attribute: class  Yes  No  Yes  Yes  No  Yes 
Attribute: dir  Yes  No  No  No  No  No 
Attribute: id  Yes  No  Yes  Yes  No  Yes 
Attribute: lang  Yes  No  No  No  No  No 
Attribute: style  Yes  No  Yes  Yes  No  Yes 
Attribute: title  Yes  No  Yes  Yes  No  Yes 

The browser icons are explained in the below list:
Internet Explorer 6+ = Microsoft Internet Explorer 6+
Netscape 4 = Netscape Communicator 4
Mozilla and Netscape 6+ = Mozilla and Netscape Navigator 6+
Opera 7+ = Opera 7+
MSN TV (WebTV) = MSN TV (aka. WebTV)
Konqeuror 3.0+ = Konqueror 3.0+