The 100 most important acronyms in English, Part 6: Organizations and People


This series is for people learning English as a second language. We explain some of the most common English acronyms and how to use them.

Note that this list focuses on American English, so these are acronyms that are well-known in the U.S. There may be other acronyms that are more commonly used in Britain, Australia, and other English-speaking countries.


  1. "AA"

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    (Alcoholics Anonymous)

    Alcoholics Anonymous is an organization that helps people to deal with alcohol addiction. It's commonly known as "AA".

  2. "PETA"

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    (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals)

    PETA is an organization that supports animal rights. They carry out campaigns to prevent animal cruelty, to stop people from wearing fur coats, to promote vegetarianism, and so on.

  3. "The NRA"

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    (The National Rifle Association)

    The NRA is an organization in the United States that fights for the rights of gun owners. People who join the NRA are enthusiastic about owning guns for self-protection, hunting, and other reasons.

  4. "The GOP"

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    (The Grand Old Party)

    The Republican (conservative) party in the United States is sometimes called "The GOP" in news broadcasts and political discussions.

Companies and brands

  1. "IBM"

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    (International Business Machines)

    IBM was one of the biggest computer brands of the 1980s. Since then, the company has continued to exist and now does technology consulting. They also have an artificial intelligence program called "Watson".

  2. "UPS"

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    (United Parcel Service)

    UPS is a company that delivers packages. It's not the national postal service, but a private company that does package deliveries.

  3. "GE"

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    (General Electric)

    GE is a big company whose main business historically was in creating electrical appliances like refrigerators, washing machines, and lights. They now have businesses in many industries. This company originated with the inventor Thomas Edison.

  4. "GM"

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    (General Motors)

    GM is an American car company. They own several car brands including Chevrolet (Chevy), Cadillac, and Buick. Sometimes people call it "General Motors" but "GM" is more common.

  5. "BMW"

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    (Bayerische Motoren Werke)

    BMW is a luxury car company from Germany. English speakers almost always call the company "BMW" rather than its original German name, which most people don't know.

  6. "ABC/NBC/CBS"

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    (American Broadcasting Company / National Broadcasting Company / Columbia Broadcasting System)

    ABC, NBC, and CBS are three of the biggest television networks in the U.S. They have been around since the early days of television.


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    (Home Box Office / Music Television / Entertainment and Sports Programming Network)

    HBO, MTV, and ESPN are just three of many cable television networks. Cable networks are not free over the air. You have to pay for a subscription to access them.

    HBO plays movies as well as "premium" TV series like Game of Thrones and Sex and the City. MTV used to play lots of music videos in its early days but now has a variety of shows for young people. ESPN is the most popular cable sports network.

    There are many other cable networks in the U.S. that are also known by acronyms including AMC, TBS, TNT, QVC, VH1, TLC, and A&E.

  8. "The BBC"

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    (British Broadcasting Corporation)

    The BBC is a television network from the UK. It's funded publicly. Outside of the UK, the BBC is especially well-known for its news broadcasts.

Sports Organizations

  1. "The NBA"

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    (National Basketball Association)

    The NBA is America's professional basketball league.

  2. "The NFL"

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    (National Football League)

    The NFL is a league for American Football. It's the most popular sport in the U.S.

  3. "MLB"

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    (Major League Baseball)

    MLB is a professional baseball organization. It's made up of two leagues: the American League and the National League.

    The acronym "MLB" is often used as an adjective rather than a noun:

    He's undoubtedly one of the greatest players in MLB history.

  4. "The UFC"

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    (The Ultimate Fighting Challenge)

    The UFC is a rather new sports organization. It features mixed martial arts fighters who fight each other in a cage.


  1. "JFK"

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    (John F. Kennedy)

    John F. Kennedy was the 35th president of the United States, from 1961 to 1963 when he was assassinated. It's very common to use his initials "JFK" when talking about him.

  2. "MLK"

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    (Martin Luther King)

    Martin Luther King, Jr. was a famous Civil Rights leader in the United States in the 1960s. He's sometimes referred to as "MLK".

  3. "MJ"

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    (Michael Jackson)

    The singer Michael Jackson is so famous that he's often simply known as "MJ".

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