Abbreviation: ED = "Extra-low Dispersion" (Nikon)

The abbreviations means "Extra-low Dispersion"

Explanation from Nikon

Nikon developed ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glass to enable the production of lenses that offer superior sharpness and color correction by minimizing chromatic aberration. Put simply, chromatic aberration is a type of image and color dispersion that occurs when light rays of varying wavelengths pass through optical glass. In the past, correcting this problem for telephoto lenses required special optical elements that offer anomalous dispersion characteristics — specifically calcium fluoride crystals. However, fluorite easily cracks and is sensitive to temperature changes that can adversely affect focusing by altering the lens´ refractive index. So Nikon designers and engineers put their heads together and came up with ED glass, which offers all the benefits, yet none of the drawbacks of calcium fluorite-based glass. With this innovation, Nikon developed several types of ED glass suitable for various lenses. They deliver stunning sharpness and contrast even at their largest apertures. In this way, NIKKOR’s ED-series lenses exemplify Nikon’s preeminence in lens innovation and performance.

See examples of effected products

Nikon AF-S 14-24mm f/2,8 G ED
Nikon AF-S 500mm f/4 G ED VR
Nikon AF-S DX 18-135mm f/3,5-5,6 G ED

See links

nikonusa.com