Acronym Mania

Reading about the MIND Diet this past week set me to wondering how do these “catchy” names come about.

Someone must spend days searching for words to string together acronymswhich actually represent the newly named animal, vegetable, or mineral thing just invented, discovered, or modified. The above named diet, in full length, reads Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay (Diet). So, not only is that a mouthful, but it even incorporates another acronym i.e. DASH which itself stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (Diet).

A little internet research broadly hints that publicists, copy editors, and journalists come up with these cuties. And the organizations that hire them to attach a nifty name to a new product, conjecture, disease, fad etc. are corporations, universities, and public relation firms.

A decade ago most everyone knew that:

  • RADAR stood for RAdio Detecting And Ranging
  • LASER translated into Light Amplification by the Stimulated Emission of Radiation.
  • SCUBA meant Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus.

RadarScuba

But now a current phenomenon has emerged as teens, on their cell phones, have taken over the acronym industry. Where else would we get BBF and BTW and LOL? The hazard, as I see it, with these quickly evolving, unscientifically researched epigrams is an open invitation to mass confusion. This generation that has cut their journalistic teeth on Snapchat and Instagram think cut-and-paste was developed in the dinosaur era. But we are in serious trouble when novices (such as anyone even twice as old as these creative teeny boppers) out of confusion from their advanced age or need for efficiency to finish that last important email or text message of the day, misinterpret what that conglomeration of letters actually represents in plain old English.

Thank goodness there are websites open twenty-four/seven that can define the correct translation and remedy any well-intentioned misspeaks: KISS really means Keep It Simple Stupid but some big mistakes have been made thinking this actually stood for Korean Intelligence Support System or Knights in Satan’s Service. Whoa! That’s a leap by any stretch of the imagination.


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