International Organization for Standardization – ISO or IOS?

International Organization for Standardization – ISO or IOS?

Many individuals assume that ISO is an abbreviation for International Organization for Standardization. This can’t be any further from the truth. 

According to the organization- ISO- the reason for adopting the name is: “Because ‘International Organization for Standardization’ would have different acronyms in different languages (IOS in English, OIN in French), our founders decided to give it the short form ISO. ISO is derived from the Greek word isos (ίσος, meaning “equal”). Whatever the country, whatever the language, the short form of our name is always ISO  “About us”. 

The short form of the word (ISO) was adopted for use by the founders of the organization, 65 delegates from 25 countries, in October 1946. ISO officially started its operations in February 1947.

There are three official languages that are used by ISO; English, French and Russia. The abbreviations for the Language are written on the front page of the Standard after the standards reference. English (E) French (F) Russian (R) i.e. ISO 9001:2015 (E), ISO 9001:2015 (F) and ISO 9001:2015 (R)

In French, the organization goes by the name Organisation internationale de normalisation, while in Russia it is known as Mezhdunarodnaya organizatsiya po standartizatsii (Международная организация по стандартизации) 

Other words derived from the Greek word Isos include;

  • Isosceles Triangle – A triangle that has two equal sides 
  • Isometric- of the same measure
  • Isotope – having same space 
  • Isomorphic- having the same form or appearance 
  • Isostasy – of equal pressure

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