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RECENTLY I READ the other meaning for “WEIRD,” namely describing us as “Western Educated Industrialized Rich Democratic.” I do not apologize for this designation; we earned it fair and square.
This got me thinking, though, about other acronyms and related terms.
Definition. Merriam-Webster defines “acronym” as “a word (such 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.”
Whew. (Which, by the way, is not an acronym; “Whew” is an onomatopoetic representation, a vocal imitation of a sound. A kewl word, onomatopoetic, from the Greek onoma, meaning “name,” and poiein, meaning “to make.” But I stray from the point.)
Acronym Versus Abbreviation Versus Initialism. Being the purist that I am, I like to distinguish among an acronym (like NATO, pronounced “nay-toe”), an abbreviation (like Dr., not pronounced “der”), and an initialism (like the unpronounceable FBI).
Computer-Lingo. On-line chatter has generated a wealth of all three linguistic categories, though initialisms seem to predominate. Here are several that come to mind. Maybe you’d like to share some of your favorites.
LOL. Lots of laughs. Which evolved quickly into ROTF, Roll on the Floor.
IMHO. In My Humble Opinion. Occasionally accompanied by OTOH, On the Other Hand.
WTF. This one is an expression of surprise not ordinarily used in polite society. OTOH, I had a dear friend who uttered this initialism as “What the f…,” with the gentlest of F sounds. She also came up with one of the funniest repostes to a bawdy comment: Joking around, I once made the classic boast, “I never paid for it when I was a kid.” Her response: “I never had to give it away for free.”
WWJD. Another unpronounceable initialism, “What Would Jesus Do?,” became an on-line query concerning ultimate ethical behavior. Its various interpretations included “What Would Jesus Drive?,” which, in turn, evolved into WWGD, “What Would God Drive?”
Here’s my favorite response to this last query:
NIMBY. I’ve heard this one pronounced “nim-bee,” standing for “Not in My Backyard.” Alas, it’s intoned in response to proposed nearby installation of something beneficial to all.
RINO. Wikipedia says, “In U.S. politics, Republicans in Name Only is a pejorative applied to officials elected as members of the Republican Party who allegedly govern like Democrats. Similar terms have been used since the early 1900s. The term is an acronym invented so that it is abbreviated to RINO and pronounced to sound like “rhino.”
RINOIMBY? Sure, the more, the better. ds
© Dennis Simanaitis, SimanaitisSays.com, 2021