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F*** (Please read before deleting)

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Mr Grue
251834.  Thu Jan 03, 2008 11:02 am Reply with quote

Hem-hem

acronym
n : a word formed from the initial letters of a multi-word name.

If you spell it, but don't say it, it's just an abbreviation.

 
dr.bob
251841.  Thu Jan 03, 2008 11:15 am Reply with quote

I think the word you're looking for is "initialism" :)

HTH. HAND.

 
Mr Grue
251848.  Thu Jan 03, 2008 11:24 am Reply with quote

Well, it would be a more precise word, certainly. An acronym is a type of initialism and an initialism is a type of abbreviation.

 
Flash
251872.  Thu Jan 03, 2008 12:15 pm Reply with quote

We used to define illiteracy as the inability to spell "BBC", back in the day.

 
suze
251881.  Thu Jan 03, 2008 12:42 pm Reply with quote

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


No klaxon! Behn is quite right of course - DVD doesn't officially stand for anything, any more than KFC does (entucky ried hicken was dropped from the corporate name in 1991).

Sets of letters of this kind - those which are not pronounced as though they were a word - are often called initialisms, although this can get a bit confusing because some writers use "initialism" to refer to acronyms proper as well. One possible solution is to the term "alphabetism", but it's rather ugly.

As for what you call sets of letters which are half acronym and half "alphabetism", who knows. JPEG, for instance - almost everyone pronounces this "jay peg", not "jpeg" nor yet "jay pee ee gee".

Mr Grue asked a few up about the first acronym, and postulated ANZAC. Close, but no cigar. "Alphabetisms" go back millenia (INRI, ΙΧΘΥΣ, etc), and I shouldn't be surprised if at least occasionally they got pronounced as though they were words.

But otherwise, the acronym is usually held to be a twentieth century invention. Not quite. An American named Dave Wilton, an amateur etymologist who runs a website on the subject but is an accountant by day, found one from 1886. There was an exhibition in London that year called the Colonial and Indian Exposition, and Wilton found a couple of references to it as the ColIndEx.

Finally for now, a silly one. If anyone has been to the San Diego Wild Animal Park, you may have ridden the monorail called the Wgasa. That's not an African word nor yet an indigenous American word; it really does stand for Who Gives A Shit Anyhow.
Snopes confirms

 
Half-Daft
252070.  Fri Jan 04, 2008 3:57 am Reply with quote

I've been thinking about this - how about WASP, (as in White Anglo-Saxon Protestant, not the irritating yellow and black buzzing creatures), as one of those words that is genuinely used and come from the abbreviation/acronym/initialisation [Delete where applicable], and not some sort of backronym.

 
Sergei
252215.  Fri Jan 04, 2008 8:08 am Reply with quote

True. Another would be JAP for "Jewish-American Princess", (a spoiled Jewish girl). That was current in the '80s though I doubt if it's still used.

suze wrote:
Some [polari] is from Italian as well, I think.
Some recognizably so. One theory is that this goes all the way back to Commedia dell'Arte touring companies, which suggests the 18th century at least.

 
Davini994
252216.  Fri Jan 04, 2008 8:11 am Reply with quote

Nimby?

 
ivor
252228.  Fri Jan 04, 2008 8:34 am Reply with quote

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


Sorry, not quite following... are we after Digital Versatile Disc or do I get the Klaxon followed by a QI bit of info???

EDIT: Right let's Klaxon myself. Got caught in some weird timewarp computer thingy and only found Suze's response to this well after I put my foot in it... d'oh!

 
ivor
252230.  Fri Jan 04, 2008 8:40 am Reply with quote

Davini994 wrote:
Nimby?


That sounds like an award winner straight away.

 
The Doctor
252513.  Fri Jan 04, 2008 6:38 pm Reply with quote

Half-Daft wrote:
I've been thinking about this - how about WASP, (as in White Anglo-Saxon Protestant, not the irritating yellow and black buzzing creatures), as one of those words that is genuinely used and come from the abbreviation/acronym/initialisation [Delete where applicable], and not some sort of backronym.


I always thought it meant 'We Are Satan's People' ;-)

 
AuToMoDuLaTeD
254015.  Mon Jan 07, 2008 5:19 pm Reply with quote

sorry,

refering to the previous page but i thought it would fit in nicely with the military terms mentioned such as fubar and snafu.

I read somewhere (and am in no way claiming this as fact) that British pilots over Iraq during the Gulf War would mischievously report to U.S. ground controllers that their postition was directly above "Mamofd".

despite extensive searches of their charts they could never find the mysterious town of Mamofd when all along it was all around them.

Miles and Miles of F***ing Dessert.

Im sure there is no chance its true but i have always liked the story.

 
Sadurian Mike
254035.  Mon Jan 07, 2008 5:39 pm Reply with quote

Whilst I was a Prison Hospital Officer we used to write up some of the patients suffering mental illness as "MAF". Generally this meant they were going to be referred to external psychiatrists and probably sectioned to external secure hospitals, because the meaning was "Mad As F***".

Once we lost Crown Immunity and the doctors realised the records could be reviewed by the prisoners themselves we spent weeks trying to come up with more acceptable phrases to explain the "MAF"s.

 
AuToMoDuLaTeD
254092.  Mon Jan 07, 2008 6:32 pm Reply with quote

massivley anti fighting

might actually freak

mystery action fatigue

yeah... not sure they really hit the spot.

 
Efros
254114.  Mon Jan 07, 2008 7:42 pm Reply with quote

the GABA...the Great Australian Bugger All, Aussie outback allegedly, awaits klaxon.

 

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