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Home --> Language --> Acronyms

Acronyms

Sometimes the only thing better than discovering a secret is making one up, so we love to invent hidden origins for ordinary words. The acronym is a fairly recent development in the evolution of the English language, but in many cases we've tried to impose acronymic origins upon a plethora of words that antedate the very concept.

Ratings Key

        Green bullet = true
        Red bullet = false
        Multiple status bullet = multiple truth values
        Yellow bullet = undetermined
        White bullet = unclassifiable veracity

Select this link for an expanded
definition of our rating system.


Red bullet The word fuck is an acronym derived from the phrase 'For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge.'

Green bullet The name of the San Diego Wild Animal Park's Wgasa Bush Line monorail was mistakenly taken from a crude acronym.*

Red bullet The word nylon was formed from conflating 'New York' and 'London'.*

Yellow bullet The gang known as the Crips took their name from an acronym for "continuous revolution in progress."

Red bullet The word news is an acronym formed from the words north, east, west, and south.

Red bullet "Pommy," a slang term for a British person, comes from the acronym POHM, which was used to designate a "Prisoner of His Majesty."

Red bullet The word cabal is an acronym formed from the names of five ministers to Charles II.

Red bullet The word golf is an acronym formed from "Gentlemen Only, Ladies Forbidden."

Yellow bullet Federal statutes intended to help fight organized crime were designated 'Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations' (RICO) laws because the acronym spelled out the name of a film gangster.

Red bullet The word shit is an acronym formed from "Ship High in Transit."

Red bullet Tip is an acronym for "To Insure Promptness" or "To Insure Prompt Service."

Red bullet The word 'cop' came from an acronym formed from the phrase "Constable on Patrol."

Red bullet 'Phat' came from an acronym formed from "Pretty Hot and Tempting."

Red bullet 'Posh' entered the language as a shortening of "Port Out, Starboard Home."

Red bullet 'Swag' began in the 1960s as an acronym for "Secretly we are gay."

* Entries marked with an asterisk will display in a separate browser window.

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