Tuesday, April 14, 2009


In an earlier post, I had attempted an “Onion” on acronyms. A well-coined acronym never fails to fascinate me.

At the end of a recent article, in The Guardian on how ‘acronyms’ have spiced up our language in recent times, columnist David Mckie wonders,

"Once you've started to note the proliferation of acronyms, there's a tendency to suspect that one of these beasts may be lurking behind quite ordinary words. Leg: Locomotion Enabling Gadget. Hat: Head Adornment Technology. And Acronym? Artifice for the Compacted Reduction of Names Yawningly Multisyllabic, perhaps?"

A comment posted on the same page points out the existence of an associated trend known as RAS syndrome (Redundant Acronym Syndrome syndrome), typified by examples such as 'PIN number' , where part of the acronym is often said in full anyway. As such, it's also known as PNS syndrome (PIN number syndrome syndrome = personal identification number number syndrome syndrome).

The best example of RAS syndrome is provided by another commenter, “In a Dilbert cartoon: Wally invites Dilbert to join The TTP Project.”What does TTP stand for?" asks Dilbert. The answer: "The TTP Project”

Another commenter recalls a Punch cartoon many years ago; two people walking along a street holding up a banner with COCOA in large letters and underneath 'Council in Opposition to Contrived and Obnoxious Acronyms' .

That sums it up, I guess.

1 comment:

Suraj said...

Another example of the PNS Syndrome is the GNU project. What does GNU stand for? GNU's Not Unix!