I ran across two acronyms today, one of which I didn’t know was an acronym and the other which I knew had to be an acronym, but didn’t know what it stood for.
ACRONYM (ăk′ rə nĭm′) 
1) A word formed from the initial letters of a name, such as WAC for Women’s Army Corps.
2) A word formed by combining initial letters or parts of a series of words, such as radar for radio detecting and ranging.
Etymology: From acro-, relating to height, or to the highest or foremost part of something + -onym, word. After German Akronym (1921 or earlier).
The first acronym came up in a nonfiction book I’m reading, placed in Berlin in 1933, when William Dodd, a University of Chicago professor of history, became America’s first ambassador to Hitler’s Nazi Germany:
<2011 “. . . the newly founded Geheime Staatspolizei, only just becoming known by its acronym, Gestapo (GEheime STAatsPOlizei) [[Secret State Police]], coined by a post office clerk seeking a less cumbersome way of identifying the agency.”—In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson, page 57>
The second acronym, I found in a book of acronyms which I was flipping through, once I got my curiosity up on the subject:
_____________________________“TASER (1972) is a nonlethal stun gun that fires electrified barbs. The inventor coined the word, on the model of laser, by juggling the letters of the imaginary (and imaginative) Tom Swift’s and his electric rifle. (Sometimes it’s the more elegant expansion Thomas A. Swift’s electric rifle.) The name is a trademark.”—Acronymania by D. Hauptman, page 101>
Feel free to use this posting to list any other interesting acronyms you are aware of or may come across.
Ken G – March 31, 2012