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The base of the misunderstanding is the shift in meaning of the word acronym over the last few decades. It used to mean an abbreviation which formed a word- such as radar. Now it seems to be used more for an abbreviation which is more familiar than the original terms. e.g. most people know the BBC or the Beeb but fewer know it stands for British Broadcasting Corporation. In my experience bureaucracies spawn all kinds of meaningless terms which then get abbreviated-- these abbreviations become known as acronyms because everyone knows what the FHSAP does but nobody knows what the abbreviation stands for. (I just made that abbreviation up- there probably is one somewhere in your local, state or regional bureaucracy).

It's similar with the word electrocution which everyone over 50 knows is a fatal electric shock. Everyone under 50 seems to use it as an alternative to electric shock which leads to interesting phrases such as "electrocuted to death" and "I've been electrocuted three times."

Life would be much simpler if they let the pedants run everything.


On 17/07/13 06:15, Felmon Davis wrote:
On Tue, 16 Jul 2013, Brian Barker wrote:

At 02:02 16/07/2013 -0400, Felmon Davis wrote:
On Sun, 14 Jul 2013, Doug wrote:
This is not an acronym. It can't be pronounced as a word. (See dictionary definition in URL below.)

the definition says:
: a word (as NATO, radar, or laser) formed from the initial letter or letters of each of the successive parts or major parts of a compound term; [...]

I'm missing the part about being pronounced as a word.

May I help? I think I can. It's right there in the second word of the definition: it says it's a *word*, so it'll be pronounced as, er, a word!

ah, now I see where that comes from!

deviates from <> which counts the following formations as acronyms:

    BBC: British Broadcasting Corporation
    OEM: Original Equipment Manufacturer
    USA: The United States of America
    FGM: Female Genital Mutilation

or maybe it doesn't deviate after all since they can also be pronounced as words (any string of initials can).

I'm going to let Anne-ology make the call.


God bless you
Keith Bates
4 Mooloobar St
Narrabri NSW
Ph 02 67924890

Jesus is the Way
the Truth and the Life

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