Acronym or Backronym?




I knew about SCUBA (Self-contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus), SNAFU (Situation Normal, All Fouled Up), and NEWS (North East West South). I’m glad that the longish Light Amplification by the Stimulated Emission of Radiation has been shrunk to LASER.

Thanks to  aimless surfing, my trove of “acronyms” has just grown richer with the addition of these words:

Canola             CANadian Oil, Low Acid

OK                   Oll Korrect (all correct)

YAHOO!         Yet Another Hierarchical Official Oracle

M&Ms             Mars and Murrie

“AWS, I AFOCL and it’s AYF. AYCOOYM,” however, is way too complicated for this dinosaur. I leave that stuff to inveterate online chatters. Please check meaning at the bottom of this post.

Oh, but I almost fell for this list—hook, line, and sinker:

CHESS           Chariot, Horse, Elephant, SoldierS

COLD             Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease

JOKE              Joy of Kids Entertainment

AIM                Ambition in Mind

DATE             Day and Time Evolution

EAT                Energy and Taste

FEAR              False Evidence Appearing Real

TEA                Taste and Energy Admitted

PEN                Power Enriched in Nib

SMILE            Sweet Memories in Lip Expression

BYE                Be with You Every time

Good that I heeded the cautionary advice: “Don’t believe everything you read on the internet.” That’s how I learned about “backronyms,” or recently coined meanings to match certain words. Some of these back-formed meanings are cute, though without basis in fact (e.g., golf = gentlemen only, ladies forbidden). How can you tell a legitimate acro from a backro? Awful grammar is a clue. Also, if a word is older than you are (or your oldies), but was given a recent funny phrasal meaning, then you have reason to doubt its legitimacy.

Take this example:

Abbreviated Coded Rendition of Name Yielding Meaning  is supposedly the whatever-nym for ACRONYM.  You can see through this one, can’t you? 🙂


AWS, I AFOCL and it’s AYF. AYCOOYM = As we speak, I Almost Fell Off the Chair Laughing and it’s All Your Fault. Are You Completely Out of Your Mind?

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