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This place matters

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division

Last post, I used the word yuppie. Which, delightfully, is built on an acronym for young urban professional
In general, you should be very suspicious when someone claims that a word is really an acronym, particularly when the term is older - acronyms don't really come into popular use until around World War II - in fact, the term acronym itself doesn't find its way into English until 1940. So, for instance, as satisfying as it is to think that posh stands for port out starboard home (supposedly a thing printed on rich people's boat tickets), it isn't so. Though they're unsure how the word posh came into existence, it emerged in 1830 as a slang term for money (this according to
A couple of other false acronyms, according to Mental Floss and Snopes:

  • Golf doesn't stand for gentlemen only, no ladies. it may be related to the Dutch kulf for club; could also be from the Scotts goul, meaning to hit or strike. Your first clue should probably be the fact that there is no n in golf, but there is, in fact, an f.
  • KISS does not stand for Knights in the Service of Satan, though KISS didn't do much to discourage the story - they were one of the many bands accused in the great Satanic cult scare, but were one of the few who didn't bother to deny the allegations. 
  • Fuck doesn't stand for for unlawful carnal knowledge, or Forbidden Under Charter of the King, or Fornication Under Consent of the King (and this king should really decide whether fucking is allowed or not). We're not sure where the word does come from, but I suspect that somebody invented the word and it was so much fun to say that someone decided it must be banned.
Some words you might not know are acronyms (also with info from Mental Floss):
  • Snafu: Military slang for situation normal, all fucked up. I have officially used "fuck" too many times to keep my PG-13 rating.
  • The base in base jumping: Base jumping is parachuting off of fixed objects, particularly buildings, antenna, span, or earth. 
  • The Smart of Smart Car: acronym of “Swatch Mercedes Art,” Swatch being the company that developed the car. Yes, that Swatch. 
The 80s: The decade when the country
simultaneously went totally blind

1 comment:

Charles Tillie said...

For what it is worth [I'm assuming little], I was taught by an English teacher in high school that 'fuck' comes from [if memory serves correctly] the Middle English word "fukein" [sp? then again, who would actually know], which meant "to thrust." Fuck the acronym version.