Acronyms #atozchallenge

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:

acronyms

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?

61 thoughts on “Acronyms #atozchallenge

  1. SME (Sony Music Entertainment???) blocked the video in my country on copyright grounds 😝 but I enjoyed the rest and even learn about RAS syndrome, haha. Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

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    1. I have a couple of posts in here with music, but mostly it’s just stream-of-consciousness blather. You know me… Of course, I’ll probably change one or two of these before I’m done.

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  2. I used to work for a government contracting agency, and it seemed the ONLY thing we used were acronyms. I literally had to memorize binders full of them. Nowadays, I’m not really a fan of acronyms, but I do use the odd one while texting. LOL! Visiting from the A to Z Blog Challenge.

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  3. I’ve always envisioned the USN (Navy) as the masters of acronymmania. Honestly, I also thought acronyms had to be pronounceable, otherwise they were “initialisms.” Thanks for straightening that out for me, John.

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  4. I work for an acronym happy company and sometimes we have the same acronym meaning different things. In my world SME is subject matter expert. What’s fun is to get a chain of acronyms following and it is like talking in code … a completely different language. Great start to the challenge! Looking forward to what’s next.

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    1. I know all about SME’s, having been a trainer for a very long time. I thought it was just a term our company used, then I learned it’s kind of an industry standard. Looking forward to what you have…

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  5. Thanks John Great post! (GP?) I always wondered what RTFLMAO meant! So many are used here in SA (South Africa) wrt to government agencies it’s hard to keep up, iykwim …

    I’ve signed up to receive your posts by email thank you!

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  6. My biggest acronym annoyance is a small one – that packs a disproportionately large punch of annoyance…
    “I have a MAC”
    Why, yes, you do. Do you also have an Apple computer?

    Happy A-Z’ing!

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  7. IDK would have to be one of the fav’s of mine. OMG is too and OMG was this post fun. I was laughing out loud. Very, very good Mr. John. I’ll look forward to tomorrow. Blessings ❤

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  8. Hi John – great idea … though I must admit to not reading through … way too many acronyms to absorb at this hour in the morning … IBM you mentioned, NATO – unsure … and so it goes – we have them everywhere and I often have to look them up! … cheers Hilary

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  9. I never thought scuba was an acronym so I learned something new. It’s funny because in my neck of the woods ROM means Royal Ontario Museum and AGO means Art Gallery of Ontario. I’m back! And now Ian the begging of a fun, long wonderful month

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  10. Waitressing really is an acronym heaven. BLT, CB, 3T etc. But I don’t miss the job. Very happy at my current one of 25 years (daycare provider) Acronym for that I wonder?? Great to be back on the A to Z!!

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  11. I did not know what HTML stood for. I always say (in my mind) hot mail. LOL. My mind goes to medical terms GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) or OSA (obstructive sleep apnea, ASCVD (arteriosclerotic cerebrovascular disease) and the ever popular LUTS (lower urinary tract symptoms). TTYL

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    1. I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s how they came up with the name for Hotmail. I always thought those medical abbreviations were intended to make your chart as unreadable as possible. Ever noticed they don’t appreciate you trying to read your chart?

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      1. Definitely, and yet they are YOUR medical records. Reminds me of the Seinfeld episode where Elaine visited several doctors and they all wrote unflattering things in her chart.

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  12. I drive my friends insane as I’ve made it a habit to utilize the skills I gained from hooked on phonics when referring to any acronyms, sounding them out as opposed to reciting the letter’s by name. 😉

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    1. Frequently you can do that, or break it into pronounceable segments, e.g. VSAM, pronounced “vee sam.” You can’t always get away with that, though, sometimes because other people won’t let you. There’s a UNIX text editor called vi, which real UNIX gearheads insist has to be pronounced “vee eye.” I avoid using it, anyway, preferring pico, which can be pronounced like the street in LA.

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  13. Here via your BOTB 🙂 got completely distracted by the music (love Beatles!) …I am bad with acronyms esp the internet ones keep coming across new ones and having to look them up…
    The one TOM right now is YMMV
    Nilanjana
    Madly-in-Verse

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  14. Lots of fun to think of all the acronyms we use. I don’t know if these are still used, but used to be, when writing letters or notes to a friend we’d use SWAK (sealed with a kiss), and LYLAS (Love ya like a sister). Being a military family, there are so many we’d hear every day, and you get used to what they mean. Looking forward to more of your posts, and thanks for co-hosting again this year. 🙂

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    1. I would guess SWAK and LYLAS could still be used in our text-oriented world, but I doubt they are. Kids today… why can’t they be like we were, perfect in every way?

      After a while, when you hear so many acronyms, you don’t even worry what they mean, you just sort of process them like they’re words and move on. That’s the way I think of it, anyway…

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    1. In Illinois, it’s IDOT, which looks a lot like “idiot.” Here in Georgia, it’s GDOT, or “gee dot,” but I don’t hear that a lot (on the news they tend to say “Georgia Department Of Transit,” maybe because they get paid by the word).

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  15. I am more in awe of you each time I visit. How about two that are militarily oriented – SNAFU and FUBAR? OK, we can’t really say what they mean in a family blog but I’m sure you and your readers know. My “guest photographer” has a couple she uses that are not any more family friendly than these are.

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    1. You’re in the clear… we covered those earlier in the comments. Like I said there, you see “foo” and “bar” used as variables a lot in computer science textbooks. While it’s not exactly FUBAR, it brings that immediately to mind.

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  16. ANZAC – Australian and New Zealand Army Corps…but we just refer to all the soldiers who fought for our country as ANZACs. We have ANZAC Day later this month (25th April).

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  17. Interesting to hear the song, i had no idea that phonetic teaching varied so much from English in the American language context. Some of your redundant acronyms are in popular use here in the UK and are not likely to be redundant for quite some time. I don’t know often what ‘slang’ acronyms might mean and I enjoyed the tech reminders and new learning ones. Thank you. i really like your topical theme of eight letter words too. I’ve not watched the song from the musical yet but I might catch it another time. Apols for taking so long to find your blog after your kind comment at mine (the Wishing Well). i couldn’t find your comment again at my blog but it was a while before end of March around my theme reveal post. I found a link to you while visiting another new blog in the challenge (shalzmojo, found in twitter feed).

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  18. I’ve often had to google an unfamiliar acronym to figure out what it means. I like NASA, not so much for the acronym itself, but for their mission. Our local trash collection company is also called NASA but I’ve yet to figure out if this is an acronym or some kind of word or name. Maybe they send our garbage into space.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

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  19. My absolute favorite acronym is “tips” because people have completely forgotten what it stands for, and (especially in America) people give the money at the wrong time. I mean seriously, how is giving extra money at the end of your visit to a restaurant in a town you’re traveling through going “To Insure Prompt Service”?

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