Tuesday, September 20, 2005

 

Backronyms

backronym (BAK-ro-nim) noun

A word re-interpreted as an acronym.

[Compound of back + acronym.]

In a backronym, an expansion is invented to treat an existing word as an
acronym. An example is the PERL programming language whose name is now
explained as an acronym of Practical Extraction and Report Language.

When naming, sometimes a suitable name is chosen and then an acronym
is retrofitted on top of it: USA PATRIOT Act (Uniting and Strengthening
America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct
Terrorism). The clunkiness of the expansion is a quick giveaway. How about
forming a backronym for ACRONYM itself: A Contrived Result Of Nomenclature
Yielding Mechanism?


(from Anu Garg at A.Word.A.Day)


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