Acrostic: what is it, types, acrostic x acronym

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THE acrostic can be understood as a poetic resource in which a letter of each verse forms, vertically, one or more names of a given concept, maxim, etc. It can be classified into three types: the proper, the mesostic and the telestic.

Know more: Figures of speech — words or expressions whose meaning goes beyond ordinary language

Topics in this article

  • 1 - Abstract about acrostic
  • 2 - What is an acrostic?
  • 3 - What are the types of acrostic?
    • acrostic proper
    • mesotic acrostic
    • telestic acrostic
  • 4 - Examples of acrostic
    • acrostic proper
    • mesotic acrostic
    • telestic acrostic
  • 5 - How is an acrostic made?
  • 6 - What is an acronym?

acrostic summary

  • The acrostic can be considered a poetic composition and/or textual genre which consists of the formation of words or phrases based on a theme defined by another word.

  • There are three types of acrostics: the one constructed with initial letters - the proper one -, the one constructed with intermediate letters - mesostic - and the one constructed with final letters - telestic.

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  • To build an acrostic, it is important to define its type and theme. Next, the poet must arrange his text according to the chosen model.

  • Acronym is not the same thing as an acronym. An acronym is when an acronym can be pronounced. The words Nowing and MEC are examples of acronyms.

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What is an acrostic?

The acrostic is a poetic composition in which a letter of each verse form, vertically, another word, which can be, among other things, another name, maxim or concept. For some authors, the acrostic can also be considered a poetic textual genre, involving the association of letters to words or phrases.

Thus, normally the letter used in the acrostic is the one that starts a certain word, but this is not a rule, so that it is possible that the acrostic uses the last or the middle one, being typified of that form.

What are the types of acrostic?

The acrostic is classified according to the position of the letters used. Let's see next.

→ Acrostic itself

The acrostic column is built from the first letter of each verse. The poet must, therefore, assign significance relations always using the initial letters when beginning the verses.

→ Mesostic acrostic

The word is in the middle of the poem. Although it is a little more difficult to establish relationships, the logic is the same as in the previous one, only changing the positioning of the secret word to be revealed vertically, so that it occurs with letters intermediaries.

→ Telestic acrostic

The acrostic column is built from the last letter of each verse. In this way, the poet must assign significance relations always using the last letters of each verse.

Examples of acrostic

As we have seen, the acrostic can be classified according to its position in the poem. Let's look at some examples that illustrate each of the types presented.

→ Acrostic itself




In the example, we have an acrostic formed with the initial letters. The word formed, vertically, is the name A-N-A. Starting from each initial (a, n and a), there are other words that characterize Ana (beloved, noble and friend).

→ Mesostic acrostic






In this example, the word LEAF is formed vertically and lies in the middle of the text. The acrostic with intermediate letters can also be called a mesostic acrostic.

→ Telestic acrostic

Enchanted muse, she loves meM

United in beautiful verses sou

Free goddess, impenetrableL

Human you no fairy detH

Charms of this sap docAND

Subtle scent roses, loveR

(poem “Mulher”, by Arlete Louro)

This poem is an example of an acrostic with final letters forming the word WOMEN. It is also called a telestic acrostic.

Read too: Rhyme — the association between phonemes of words in verse-structured texts

How is an acrostic made?

  • Defined theme: there are several possibilities in this direction. Some examples are the name of a person, object or idea.

  • Type determination: The decision between proper acrostic, mesostic acrostic or telestic acrostic is important so that you can position your acrostic before making the appropriate associations.

  • Writing of associative terms following the established logic: when you establish the logic of which acrostic you are going to make, it is important to choose words that hold it properly.

  • Highlighted letters of the word formed vertically: this needs to be done for the reader to identify your acrostic.

What is acronym?

Despite being terms that are similar in writing and pronunciation, acrostic and acronym are completely different. While the acrostic is a poetic composition, the acronym is a set of acronyms that can be pronounced as if they were words. For example, National Aeronautics and Space Administration might be pronounced Nasa, and Ministry of Education might be pronounced MEC. Nasa and MEC are therefore acronyms.

By Rafael Camargo de Oliveira
Writing teacher

Would you like to reference this text in a school or academic work? Look:

OLIVEIRA, Rafael Camargo de. "Acrostic"; Brazil School. Available in: Accessed on April 26, 2022.

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