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What Does ISO Stand for

Abhijit Naik Aug 19, 2020
The use of acronym ISO differs from field to field, which is why one has to be sure of the context in which it used to know what it stands for.
Acronyms are basically abbreviations formed by using the first letter of words in a phrase or group of words. They come very handy, especially when one has to remember some name which has 3 - 4 words, which is difficult to memorize.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration, for instance, becomes NASA, and light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation is abbreviated as LASER.
Simply put, these acronyms are used to make memorizing or pronunciation easy. But, what if these acronyms, themselves become a cause of confusion? This can easily happen, especially if a single acronym supports several names or phrases; one such acronym is ISO.

What Does the Acronym ISO Stand for?

The acronym ISO is used in several fields, right from computers and the Internet to accounting and science. In total, ISO can stand for more than a hundred phrases; not all are relevant to the whole world though. Let's take a look at some of the most prominent names denoted by this acronym.

Astronomy and Space Research

In astronomy and space research, ISO can refer to two things: Infrared Space Observatory or Imaging Spectrometric Observatory.
Infrared Space Observatory
It is a space telescope, designed and operated by the European Space Agency (ESA) in cooperation with ISAS and NASA, which utilizes infrared light. Launched in November 1995, it holds the distinction of being the first true orbiting infrared observatory in the world.
Imaging Spectrometric Observatory
An instrument which measures the spectral signatures of constituents, along with metastable and excited species of both, atomic and molecular ions, and neutrals in the atmosphere.


In the field of science, the acronym ISO is used to refer to Intraseasonal Oscillation, i.e., a single completion of a periodically repeated phenomenon, with variability on time scale which is less than the actual season.
One of the best examples of this phenomenon is the Madden-Julian Oscillation, an equatorial moving pattern of anomalous rainfall. The abbreviation ISO may also be used to refer to isotopes or isometric in this field.


The acronym is used in accounting as incentive stock option. Also referred to as qualified stock options, it is basically a type of employee stock option which can be only granted to the employees to provide U.S. tax benefits to them.


The International Organization for Standardization (ISO), is an organization which develops and publishes international standards. These are taken into consideration by most of the industries, when it comes to development and manufacturing of various goods.
In computing, ISO generally, refers to ISO 9660 standard, which is used to describe a file system for CD-ROMs and images stored in it.

International Organization for Standardization (ISO)

It is widely believed that ISO is an acronym for the International Organization for Standardization, an international entity which develops international standards. Though, the organization is indeed referred to as ISO, it is not its acronym. Instead, ISO in this context, is derived from the Greek word isos, meaning equality.
Other than all these uses, ISO is also one of the popularly used abbreviations in texting. In such informal context, ISO may stand for 'in search of' or 'I'm still Online'.
Several organizations all over the world use ISO as an acronym for their name. Some of these popular entities are International Socialist Organization, International Student Organization, and Interstedelijk Studenten Overleg. There are basically hundreds of organizations all over the world, which use ISO as the shorter version of their name and identity.