A numeronym is a number-based word. Most commonly, a numeronym is a word where a number is used to form an abbreviation (albeit not an acronym or an initialism). Pronouncing the letters and numbers may sound similar to the full word: "K9" for "canine" (phonetically: "kay" + "nine"). Alternatively, the letters between the first and last are replaced with a number representing the number of letters omitted, such as "i18n" for "internationalization". Sometimes the last letter is also counted and omitted. These word shortenings are sometimes called alphanumeric acronyms, alphanumeric abbreviations, or numerical contractions.

According to Tex Texin, the first numeronym of this kind was "S12n", the electronic mail account name given to Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) employee Jan Scherpenhuizen by a system administrator because his surname was too long to be an account name. By 1985, colleagues who found Jan's name unpronounceable often referred to him verbally as "S12n" (ess-twelve-en). The use of such numeronyms became part of DEC corporate culture.[1]

A number may also denote how many times the character before or after it is repeated. This is typically used to represent a name or phrase in which several consecutive words start with the same letter, as in W3 (World Wide Web) or W3C (World Wide Web Consortium). Some numeronyms are composed entirely of numbers, such as "212" for "New Yorker", "4-1-1" for "information", "9-1-1" for "help", "101" for "basic introduction to a subject", and "420" for "Cannabis". Words of this type have existed for decades, including those in 10-code, which has been in use since before World War II. Chapter or title numbers of some jurisdictions' statutes have become numeronyms, for example 5150 and 187 from California's penal code. Largely because the production of many American movies and television programs are based in California, usage of these terms has spread beyond its original location and user population.

Anne H. Soukhanov, editor of the Microsoft Encarta College Dictionary, gives the original meaning of the term as "a telephone number that spells a word or a name" on a telephone dial.[2]


Where words have multiple meanings, abbreviations such as these are almost always[citation needed] used to refer to their computing sense; for example, G11n for "globalization" refers to software preparedness for global distribution,[3] and not the social trend of globalization. In some cases, the use of appropriate case makes it easier to distinguish between letters such as uppercase I/i and lower case L/l.

See also


  1. ^ Tex Texin. "Origin Of The Abbreviation I18n" . Retrieved September 14, 2005.
  2. ^ Jeffrey McQuain (September 16, 2001). "Screening the Novel Words of Harry Potter" . The New York Times. Archived from the original on February 5, 2016. Retrieved 2010-04-12.
  3. ^ Thierry Sourbier (2007-10-25). "Internationalization Encyclopedia globalization" . i18n Encyclopedia. Archived from the original on 2002-12-30. Retrieved November 11, 2007.
  4. ^ "143 CLUB" . Fred Rogers Center. Retrieved 2 August 2018.
  5. ^ Hill, Evan; Tiefenthäler, Ainara; Triebert, Christiaan; Jordan, Drew; Willis, Haley; Stein, Robin (2020-05-31). "8 Minutes and 46 Seconds: How George Floyd Was Killed in Police Custody" . The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331 . Retrieved 2020-06-02.
  6. ^ "8 minutes, 46 seconds" . St. Cloud Times. Retrieved 2020-06-02.
  7. ^ Faye Flam (2010-04-23). "Iceland a hot spot of volcanic activity" . The Philadelphia Inquirer. Archived from the original on June 3, 2012. Retrieved 2010-04-23. Some scientists have come to abbreviate the volcano as E15, for the 15 letters that follow the E
  8. ^ "Canonical XML" . W3C. Retrieved November 11, 2007.
  9. ^ "" . Archived from the original on August 2, 2012. Retrieved November 11, 2007.
  10. ^ "" . Retrieved July 22, 2019.
  11. ^ "Modularization of XHTML in XML Schema" . W3C. Retrieved November 11, 2007.
  12. ^ "p13n - Wiktionary" . Retrieved 2019-09-12.
  13. ^ a b "Localization vs. Internationalization" . Retrieved 2021-03-01.
  14. ^ "About" . Andreessen Horowitz. Retrieved 2021-03-01.
  15. ^ "Kubernetes (K8s) README" . Kubernetes. November 12, 2020 – via GitHub.
  16. ^ Jeffries, Andy (September 24, 2019). "What's the difference between k3s vs k8s" . K8s is just an abbreviation of Kubernetes ("K" followed by 8 letters "ubernete" followed by "s").
  17. ^ Hartshorne | 06.26.18, Ben (2018-06-26). "How Are Structured Logs Different From Events?" . Honeycomb. Retrieved 2021-01-24.

Categories: Numbers | Abbreviations

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