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A pseudo-acronym, also sometimes referred to as an anti-acronym, is an acronym which officially doesn't stand for anything.

Some pseudo-acronyms stand for phrases which paradoxically deny their own existence: for instance, JINI is said to stand for Jini Is Not Initials. This is also a recursive acronym - one where part of the acronym expands to the original acronym. Since such an acronym can never be fully expanded, some refer to all such acronyms as pseudo- or anti-acronyms.

The term is also used for abbreviations and names that appear to be acronyms but cannot officially be expanded. The instant messaging system called ICQ, for instance, was chosen as a play on the words "I Seek You". Some argue that DVD became a pseudo-acronym when its original expansion - Digital Video Disk - became inadequate; officially, it is now an acronym for Digital Versatile Disk.

See also: initialism; apronym, backronym