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There are no universal standards for the multiple names for such abbreviations or for their orthographic styling.
Acronyms result from a word formation process known as blending, in which parts of two or more words are combined to form a new word.
This has become such a problem that it is even evaluated at the level of medical academies such as the American Academy of Dermatology.
(This is especially important in the print medium, where no search utility is available.) The second reason for the key feature is its pedagogical value in educational works such as textbooks.
It gives students a way to review the meanings of the acronyms introduced in a chapter after they have done the line-by-line reading, and also a way to quiz themselves on the meanings (by covering up the expansion column and recalling the expansions from memory, then checking their answers by uncovering).
Acronyms flourished especially from the 20th century onwards; the distinction between abbreviation and acronym has been steadily eroded and acronym is commonly used for several types of abbreviation.
Whereas an abbreviation may be any type of shortened form, such as words with the middle omitted (for example, Rd for road or Dr for Doctor), an acronym is a word formed from the first letter or first few letters of each word in a phrase (such as sonar, created from sound navigation and ranging).