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The American Medical Association's Style Book and Editorial Manual demands that an expression be spelled out the first time used in a manuscript, with the abbreviation immediately following in parentheses. Thereafter, the abbreviation may be used alone. Some standard phrases, such as venereal disease research laboratory (VDRL), come to be known better by the standard abbreviation, so much so that writers will speak of the VDRL test, without knowing what the abbreviation really stands for.
Webster's Third New International Dictionary began a bold venture into abbreviations, listing many yet still unknown to much of the editorial world. The need for abbreviations is especially great in chemistry, or in other fields which employ long technical phrases. Dermatology is not exceptionally prone. Absent from Webster's Second International, the abbreviations in the Third scarcely meet the need. It gives nine definitions of MD, but only one for TCA. Consequently, for the present it
Fite GL. EDITORIAL ABBREVIATIONS-Reply. Arch Dermatol. 1970;101(2):250. doi:10.1001/archderm.1970.04000020120020