Posted in Uncategorized by chamblee54 on July 27, 2011

PG was cruising the internet, minding his own business, when he saw the initials HSAT. He was puzzled, but knew that uncle google could help. 0.28 seconds later, PG was looking at Healthy School Action Tools and Hazardous Substances Academic Training. Sensing that these were incorrect, politically and otherwise, our fearless scribe clicked on the third choice, Acronym Finder. One of the five options was Having Said All That , which fits the context of the first sighting.

About this time the idea light bulb went off over PG’s head…why not do a post about acronyms? With a tsunami of text flooding our capacity, acronyms help certain phrases to stand out. It can be a way to make a statement with ease, like saying TMI after hearing something you did not need to hear. Acronyms are short, and brevity is the soul of wit. ( Spell check suggestion for Anders Breivik : brevity.)

A popular misuse of acronyms is what wikipedia calls false etymology. A popular cussword does NOT mean “for unlawful carnal knowledge”. According to snopes , the urban mythbuster,  acronyms are largely a twentieth century phenomenon.

Two military phrases from World War Two, snafu and fubar, are credited as being among the first acronyms to become popular. They might be obsolete. If you go to the DOD Dictionary of Military Terms, and enter snafu and fubar in the search engine, they will say “no results found”.

Webster’s Online Dictionary has a wealth of information about the A word. (This word/page is sponsored by a law firm specializing in personal injury cases. )The basic definition is A word formed from the initial letters of the several words in the name. The word literally means top name. Other uses of the prefix are acrostics and acrophobia.

Webster’s has one quote about acronyms, by Rush Limbaugh. It has a lively page of poetry.

An abbreviation, in every other way you were! A contraction, you have been!
A byway, you are! A formality, you will constantly be!

To acronym I offer this thanks, when needing something like crosscut
When writing poetry and drawing blanks, I often settle using shortcut
I have been searching ever more, hoping again to sing your praise.
For words, I very much adore, lacking me in several ways.

Pictures today are from The Library of Congress.

One Response

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  1. Acronyms | Chamblee54 said, on July 22, 2018 at 9:56 am

    […] They might be obsolete. DOD Dictionary of Military Terms does not include snafu and fubar. This is a repost, with pictures from The Library of Congress. When you recycle a post from 2011, most of the links […]

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