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suze
251743.  Thu Jan 03, 2008 7:27 am Reply with quote

Yes, there are plenty in the field of computing - although even there spurious ones also exist (TWAIN, for instance, as was noted somewhere on these forums yesterdau). There are a fair few in other fields of technology as well (LASER).

But Mat's original question was about slang rather than technical terms, and I can't immediately think of one. Does anyone actually use the word "snafu"?

I shall keep thinking though, because I'm sure there must be at least one.

 
Mr Grue
251750.  Thu Jan 03, 2008 7:34 am Reply with quote

Sergei wrote:
One reasonably common one is TEFL - pronounced 'teffle' - which means Teaching English as a Foreign Language.


TEFL has been replaced by TES(econd)L.

Radar, laser, probably quite a few military terms (I believe the fubar "family" originated mainly in the military), but again, not really slang.

Naff is probably the most eligible contender, allegedly standing for "not available for fucking" and originated in the gay underground slang polari. The etymology has always wrankled me a bit, even though acronyms fit perfectly well with the verbal play that features in Polari ("eek" deriving from "ecaf" which is a reversal of "face"; arris being a two-level rhyming slang - aristotle, bottle, bottle and glass, arse).

Note also that we've migrated from swearwords pretending to be acronyms, to acronyms disguising swearwords. I'd say that tells us a certain something about English speaking sensibilities. We always tend to go for euphemism rather than cacophemism.

Oh, and being pedantic I would say TV is not an acronym.

And on a sidenote, was the first acronym Anzac? That was allegedly first used for the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps in 1915.


Last edited by Mr Grue on Thu Jan 03, 2008 7:41 am; edited 1 time in total

 
suze
251755.  Thu Jan 03, 2008 7:41 am Reply with quote

Or TESOL (Teaching of English to Speakers of Other Languages).

Not certain about NAFF; I think it may be a backronym (i.e. the acronymic explanation came after the word itself). The OED only cites the word back to 1966 (Round the Horne), and is uncertain as to etymology, but some other dictionaries reckon it's back slang from fanny.

Half a hit to Mr Grue though, I think. And no, TV isn't an acronym proper.


Last edited by suze on Thu Jan 03, 2008 7:42 am; edited 1 time in total

 
Flash
251756.  Thu Jan 03, 2008 7:41 am Reply with quote

suze wrote:
Does anyone actually use the word "snafu"?

It's a generational thing, I think; I dare say it's dying out but the answer around this household is "yes". "Wireless", too - and I have a friend who says "looking glass" for mirror, not as an affectation (she corrects herself when she notices that she's done it) but because that was the term she was brought up with (not that either of those has anything to do with acronyms - just musing).

The military use acronyms a lot.

 
Davini994
251758.  Thu Jan 03, 2008 7:58 am Reply with quote

Lol, perhaps? I've heard people say this. This NYE in fact!

 
CB27
251759.  Thu Jan 03, 2008 8:01 am Reply with quote

Hey, I use the word snafu all the time, I'm sure I've even used it on this board already, it's a great word.

 
suze
251760.  Thu Jan 03, 2008 8:03 am Reply with quote

Thanks Flash. In that case, "snafu" is a hit, and the etymology is not in dispute. Which is more than can be said for "fubar" - derivation from the German furchtbar (terrible) is posited for that one besides the usual acronymic explanation.

iano200 comes close with MILF. It certainly is an acronym (Mother I'd Like to Fuck, lest anyone didn't know), and while it's not in the OED yet, I'm sure they will give American Pie as the first citation when the time comes. But again, I question use - while it's certainly used on the Internet, do people in real life actually use the word to describe attractive women in their 30s?

Going back a while, husband reckons that SWALK (Sealed With A Loving Kiss) was really used at one time, although NORWICH - which ought to be KORWICH anyways - probably wasn't.

 
soup
251762.  Thu Jan 03, 2008 8:06 am Reply with quote

suze wrote:
Does anyone actually use the word "snafu"?


Yup, me. I use it all the time, that and Flinking Blip . As I have children I didn't want to "swear" in front of, I use(d) these phrases all the time . Now they are older it is not so important but I would still feel uncomfortable swearing in front of them so tend to still use these.

If I felt O.K. with it could use VERY colourful language but choose not to . After all if you say "fuck" all the time what are you going to say when you hit your thumb with a hammer?

 
Davini994
251766.  Thu Jan 03, 2008 8:25 am Reply with quote

soup wrote:
After all if you say "fuck" all the time what are you going to say when you hit your thumb with a hammer?

NNNNYYYYAAARRGGHHHH perhaps?

;)

 
MatC
251768.  Thu Jan 03, 2008 8:28 am Reply with quote

Yes, quite right everyone, I should have set CRAP’s bournes more precisely. Hmmm ... well, I would automatically exclude jargon (eg, tech-talk) on the grounds that jargon is not quite slang.

Getting rid of snafu is less easy. Do we have an earliest date for it, WingCo Flash? If it’s WW2, then perhaps we might say that CRAP deals only with post-WW2 acronyms and fake acronyms. This would be fair, I think, because it means we’re only looking at alleged acronyms which were coined before the era of acronyms - anacronyms, we might call them - truly ancient words like fuck.

AWOL isn’t strictly a slang term, is it? I suppose you could say it is used as one outside the services, but inside wouldn't it be or have been a proper term, used on official forms and so on? MILF I would also consider a rather specialist term, belonging to the porn industry.

I would bet just about anything that naff is not an acronym. Annoyingly, although I've written on the word before, I can’t find what I wrote at the moment; but I vaguely remember that it is likely to be a polari version of an old Scots word. None of the various acronymic origins offered for naff tie in much with its actual sense, which is something dull or shoddy. Of course, all the acronyms include fuck which itself, these same people would have us believe, is an acronym, so it rather disappears up its own Basic User Manual. Suze’s suggestion of fanny (if you see what I mean) certainly makes sense of “naff all,” which roughly means “sweet fanny adams”.

I do know that Took and Feldman, who wrote Round the Horne, got most of the polari and camp chat they used simply from listening to Williams and Paddick, who apparently used it quite naturally as part of their everyday speech.

SWALK I would exclude on the grounds that it has no use other than as an acronym in its original context; what I mean is that “posh” (probably the best known backronym; “Port Out, Starboard Home”) is used in a non-shipping context, whereas swalk is surely limited to envelope-orientated situations?

 
Flash
251788.  Thu Jan 03, 2008 9:35 am Reply with quote

MatC wrote:
Getting rid of snafu is less easy. Do we have an earliest date for it, WingCo Flash? If it’s WW2, ...

Etymonline says 1941, citing the OED.

 
Mr Grue
251813.  Thu Jan 03, 2008 10:26 am Reply with quote

MatC wrote:
None of the various acronymic origins offered for naff tie in much with its actual sense, which is something dull or shoddy.


My take on it and its possible acronymic origin is that it refers to something that appears to be of quality but actually is less than it appears to be, is unfashionable, or is without taste - hi-tec trainers, for instance. Its use allied with the acronym would have been to refer to gentlemen who appeared to be homosexual, or one wished might be homosexual, but in fact were not. Again, I too doubt the acronymic origin, but could well believe the word was used in this sense, and was then transferred to anything similarly... erm... naff. Then when Porridge started...

I'm not sure, but will see if I can find out, whether or not any other acronymic origins occur in Polari. Most of Polari is backslang, rhyming slang, a little bit of jive and (fearing a klaxon) Romany. I can't, off the top of my head, recall any other acronyms, alleged or otherwise.

 
suze
251825.  Thu Jan 03, 2008 10:46 am Reply with quote

soup wrote:
As I have children I didn't want to "swear" in front of, I use(d) these phrases all the time.


I feel no compunction about cursing in front of my stepdaughter, but then she is 19 and is similarly compunctionless about doing so in front of her father and me. As for what I would say if I hit my thumb with a hammer, it would likely still be "fuck", but lots of times.

Mat C wrote:
These same people would have us believe, is an acronym, so it rather disappears up its own Basic User Manual.


Now that caused me to actually LOL. Oh dear, there's one there ... (Yes, there are those that do - a couple of people admitted to it on these very forums a while back.)

Mr Grue wrote:
(fearing a klaxon) Romany


No klaxon. Some of Polari does indeed come from Romani (as the speakers of that language now seem to prefer to spell it). Some is from Italian as well, I think.

 
MatC
251829.  Thu Jan 03, 2008 10:54 am Reply with quote

Mr Grue wrote:
I'm not sure, but will see if I can find out, whether or not any other acronymic origins occur in Polari. Most of Polari is backslang, rhyming slang, a little bit of jive and (fearing a klaxon) Romany. I can't, off the top of my head, recall any other acronyms, alleged or otherwise.


No, neither can I. And yes, I believe much of P is Romany; it's become famous as early-mid 20thC gay talk, but I think it's more accurate to say that P was a pre-existing argot which was taken up by homosexuals in the theatrical trades as a constituent part of what was sometimes called "camp chat."

 
Behn
251832.  Thu Jan 03, 2008 10:58 am Reply with quote

Acronyms: Let us not forget DVD - an acronym that stands for 'DVD' (cue that Klaxon (TM))

 

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