An acronym is an abbreviation, used as a word, which is formed from the initial components in a phrase or a word. Usually these components are individual letters (as in NATO or laser) or parts of words or names (as in Benelux). There are broad currents of consensus but no universal standardization of various names for such abbreviations and of their orthographic styling. In English and most other languages, such abbreviations historically had limited use, but they became much more common in the 20th century. Acronyms are a type of word formation process, and they are viewed as a subtype of blending.