Friday Feb 16, 2007

Word of the Day: Backronym

Once again, Wikipedia has taught me what I didn't even know there was to know. While looking into the history of Wikis, I learned that the term is sometimes treated as a backronym for: "what I know is". The only problem was, one thing I didn't know was the meaning of "backronym".

Fortunately, that was also just a click away:

A backronym or bacronym is a type of acronym that begins as an ordinary word, and is later interpreted as an acronym.

Ah. That makes sense.

The article is also filled with some interesting tidbits about specific backronyms. For example: do you think that DVD stands for "Digital Video Disc"? It officially stands for nothing. Some of the creators did want it to mean "Digital Video Disc", but apparently they never gained consensus. And later when it became commonly used for purposes other than video, some of the creators decided it should stand for "Digital Versatile Disc" (but again, apparently never gained consensus to make it official).

And if you're really looking to give yourself a headache, you can even feed "acronym" into an online acronym-finding service and get several results (which, if popularized, would presumably turn "acronym" itself into a backronym).

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