Happy Easter, everyone! And Happy A to Z! As one of the co-hosts, I’d like to welcome you to the 2018 edition of The Blogging from A to Z April Challenge! For all of this month, except for the remaining Sundays, we’ll be taking a stroll through the Latin alphabet (you know, the one from the song), one letter at a time. Be sure and visit as many blogs as you can this month, learn new stuff, leave comments, make friends, and extend your reach. And, by all means, have fun with this! That’s why we do this!
My theme this year, as you might remember, is eight-letter words. Here’s the first:
An acronym is a word or name formed as an abbreviation from the initials or first syllables of the component words. The initials don’t have to spell a pronounceable word, so acronyms like IBM (International Business Machines) and CBS (Columbia Broadcasting System) are considered acronyms, as are words like NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization), OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Companies), and GIF (Graphics Interchange Format), not to mention laser (Light Amplification by Stimulating Electromagnetic Radiation) and scuba (Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus). Sometimes they’re formed by combining syllables, kind of like portmanteaus (my theme a couple of years ago); these would include Benelux (the Low Countries of Belgium, Netherlands, and Luxembourg) and my favorite, CONELRAD (Control of Electromagnetic Radiation).
The computer world is loaded with acronyms. You have ROM (Read-Only Memory) and RAM (Random-Access Memory), of course, and HTML (Hypertext Markup Language). When I worked on IBM mainframes, there were hundreds I used almost every day, like MVS (Multiple Virtual Storage), VSAM (Virtual Storage Access Method) and its three types of files, KSDS (key-sequenced dataset), ESDS (entry-dequenced dataset) and RRDS (relative-record dataset). Our online systems ran under CICS (Customer Information Control System) or IMS (Information Management System). IMS was primarily a DBMS (database management system), and there were acronyms that went with that: HIDAM (Hierarchical Indexed Direct Access Method), HISAM (Hierarchical Indexed Sequential Access Method), etc.
Computer people have a tendency to use recursive acronyms, like GNU (GNU’s not Unix!), PHP (PHP: Hypertext preprocessor), and Wine (Wine Is Not an Emulator).
I go a little nuts when people use redundant acronyms. Those are things like “PIN number” (PIN is “personal identification number”), “HIV virus” (HIV is “human immuno-virus”) or “ATM machine” (ATM is “Automated Teller Machine”).
Sometimes an acronym can mean more than one thing, and you need to read it in context. IBD can stand for Investor’s Business Daily or inflammatory bowel disease. If you’re talking about stocks and bonds, it’s the former, unless your stocks and bonds are causing you to run to the bathroom.
And of course, there are the ones used in text messages and on Twitter, such as LOL (laughing out loud), LMAO (laughing my ass off), ROTFLMAO (rolling on the floor laughing my ass off), TTFN (ta-ta for now).
I’d like to leave you with this song from the original Broadway cast album of the musical Hair, called “Initials.”
What are some of your favorite acronyms?