As an author, words fascinate me. They can also flabbergast me. For example, take all of the abbreviations that are in our everyday speech. Just saw another HoCo photo on Facebook today. Someone sent me a PM. In the news, JLo wants to have more kiddos with ARod. My neighbors are off on a vacay while my cousins are on a staycation. I’m hangry now because I skipped breakfast, Dancing With the Stars used to be my fave (but not anymore), pix of my baby great nieces are adorbs, and I feel like I’m HundoP cra! [Translation of italicized words: Homecoming; private message; Jennifer Lopez; children; Alex Rodriquez; vacation; stay at home vacation; angry because I’m hungry; favorite; pictures; adorable; hundred percent; and crazy]
Have you ever gone to the bank and used the ATM? Do you have any idea what ATM stands for? I had no idea, and I even worked in a bank when they were first installed. I assumed it was “automatic transfer of money.” I got the T right. ATM stands for Asynchronous Transfer Mode. Who knew? MPLS is the common abbreviation for Minneapolis, Minnesota, right? No, not in technology. MPLS is Multiprotocol Label Switching. I think I’ll stick with Minnesota.
It seems like the “King’s English” or everyday grammar is being ripped apart in the new millennium. But again, I learned something. Abbreviations are nothing new. They go back to the 19th century. The abbreviation fad began in Boston in the summer of 1838 according to newspaper articles and included such abbreviations as OFM, “our first men,” NG, “no go,” GT, “gone to Texas,” and SP, “small potatoes.”
And then there are acronyms that have become everyday words such as scuba, laser, radar and some others that surprised me. Scuba actually started life as an acronym for “Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus.” (That’s kind of easy to figure out.)
But Laser stands for “Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation.” (Flunked that one!)
Radar is “RAdio Detection And Ranging.”
Taser stands for “Thomas A Swift Electric Rifle” – after the inventor, Jack Cover, decided in 1974 to name it after his favorite children’s book character, Tom Swift..
I’m all into GIFs now that someone showed me how to put them on Facebook. Never thought to wonder exactly what gif means, but it is “graphics interchange format,” and is fairly new from 1987.
Care Package. If you have someone you love, chances are you’ve sent a package or two with love and called it a care package. Actually, that phrase originated in World War II when a charity helped get packages sent from abroad to their loved ones, then broadened to include the world as “Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere”
And finally, a Monty Python favorite and a word we use in technology: SPAM. Why such a delicious (at least when fried) meat is equated as cyber garbage is beyond me. But canned SPAM, an acronym for either SPiced hAM, or “Special Processed American Meat,” has been around for a long time as another World War II invention.
So next time you see or hear a word and that’s an ABB (abbreviation) or an ACK (acronym), and you have no idea what it is, just be patient. If it’s popular, chances are you will use it eventually. I’m HUNDO-P cert!