The <glossAcronym> element defines an acronym as an alternate form for the term defined in the <glossterm> element.

This element may be used together with the <abbreviated-form> element to display an expanded version of an acronym the first time that acronym appears in a set of text. See <abbreviated-form> for information on how the two elements interact.


Several issues arise when acronyms are translated into other languages. For example, an acronym in one language may not have an equivalent in another language. When acronyms are first displayed, some languages will display the expanded form first followed by the acronym in parenthesis, while other languages do the reverse. For some acronyms, a translation may need to render both the original and the translated version of the acronym. For all of these reasons, DITA allows an author or translator to control what is presented to a reader by using the <glossSurfaceForm> element, which will often accompany the <glossAcronym>. The <abbreviated-form> topic contains information on how the <glossSurfaceForm> and <glossAcronym> elements affect references to the primary term.



These models represent only the default document types distributed by OASIS. Actual content models will differ with each new document type.
Doctype Content model
ditabase, glossary, glossentry, glossgroup ( text data or keyword or apiname or option or parmname or cmdname or msgnum or varname or wintitle or term or abbreviated-form or tm) (any number)

Contained by

Doctype Content model
ditabase, glossary, glossentry, glossgroup glossAlt


- topic/title concept/title glossentry/glossAcronym


The glossary term "USB flash drive" with additional information

<glossentry id="usbfd">
  <glossterm>USB flash drive</glossterm>
  <glossdef>A small portable drive.</glossdef>
    <glossPartOfSpeech value="noun"/>
    <glossUsage>Do not provide in upper case (as in "USB Flash
Drive") because that suggests a trademark.</glossUsage>
      <glossUsage>Explain the acronym on first occurrence.</glossUsage>
    <glossAlt id="memoryStick">
      <glossSynonym>memory stick</glossSynonym>
      <glossUsage>This is a colloquial term.</glossUsage>
      <glossStatus value="prohibited"/>
      <glossUsage>This is too colloquial.</glossUsage>
      <glossAlternateFor href="#usbfd/memoryStick"/>
      <glossStatus value="prohibited"/>
      <glossUsage>This short form is ambiguous.</glossUsage>


Name Description Data Type Default Value Required?
base A generic attribute that has no specific purpose. It is intended to act as a base for specialized attributes that have a simple value syntax like the conditional processing attributes (one or more alphanumeric values separated by whitespace), but is not itself a filtering or flagging attribute. The attribute takes a space-delimited set of values. However, when acting as a container for generalized attributes, the content model will be more complex; see Attribute generalization for more details. CDATA #IMPLIED No
id-atts attribute group (id, conref, conrefend, conaction, conkeyref) A set of related attributes, described in id-atts attribute group
localization-atts attribute group (translate, xml:lang, dir) A set of related attributes, described in localization-atts attribute group.
global-atts attribute group (xtrf, xtrc) A set of related attributes, described in global-atts attribute group
class, outputclass Common attributes described in Other common DITA attributes

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