Thursday, November 29, 2012


One of my favorite websites is WordSpy, which advertises itself as "The Word Lover's Guide to New Words." It's a good place to catch up on the latest expressions, and is a fun guide to the evolution of language. We linguists are easily amused.

A lot of new words, particularly in the age of truncated digital communication and text messaging, are actually acronyms - words consisting of the first letters of the constituent parts of a phrase. Some popular and well-known acronyms are ASAP (As Soon As Possible), SNAFU (Situation Normal, All Fouled Up), and the ever-popular TGIF (Thank Goodness It's Friday).

WordSpy has led me to a couple of interesting new acronyms that I thought I'd share with you:

TEOTWAWKI (pronounced TEA-oh-TWAH-kee) - The End Of The World As We Know It. This is a useful catch-all phrase for the time of chaos and disruption that hard-core conservatives expect will occur in the second Obama administration. 

It was similarly used by people at the other end of the political spectrum to refer to the second George W. Bush administration.

TANSTAAFL (pronounced TAN-staffle) - There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch. This classic expression reminds us that there's a price to be paid for everything ... or as the evil Rumplestiltskin is fond of reminding us in the hit TV series Once Upon a Time, "All magic comes with a price, dearie!" 

This is a very useful expression to keep in mind as Congress engages in its alleged efforts to avoid the so-called "fiscal cliff" ... such efforts usually consisting of chest-thumping defenses of programs which absolutely cannot be cut (defense and tax cuts, if you're a Republican; Social Security and Medicare, if you're a Democrat).

SMIDSY (pronounced SMID-see) - Sorry, Mate, I Didn't See You. This is a useful adjective acronym that describes an accident caused by the driver of a car who failed to see another car, cyclist or pedestrian. 

BANANA (you know how to pronounce it) - Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anyone. This is a clever acronym used to refer to a person who is opposed to new real estate development, particularly projects close to their neighborhood and particularly developments of a commercial or industrial nature.

And finally for today, an interesting word that isn't, strictly speaking, an acronym, but a combination of an acronym and another word ...

LOLbertarian (pronounced ELL-oh-ELL-ber-TARRY-un) - this word comes from the combination of LOL (Laughing Out Loud) and "libertarian," and is defined as "A libertarian whose views are so extreme as to invite mockery." Sadly, we have no shortage of those.

So, Dear Readers, do you have any favorite acronyms? Leave a comment. There's only so much time available to listen to things, and so acronyms are ever more important, IYKWIM*.

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.


* If You Know What I Mean. I have no idea how to pronounce it.


eViL pOp TaRt said...

SDTA = Same damned thing again.

DAPS = Dumb as pig ****.

A Farkism:

BIE = Boobies in email. (Seriously)

About a style-oblivious guy:

DLCBNOL = Dresses like a color-blind New Orleans lawyer. (Pimpin' it out)

Gilahi said...

My favorite is TLA (three-letter acronym).

I also used to work with a guy who would occasionally refer to someone as a CRI (cranio-rectal invert).

Duckbutt said...

PITA - pain in the ass

Mike said...

I can never remember what all the letters mean. YKWIM?

Alice Sycamore said...

BILBORDAS. Best in laughter because of ridiculous dumb ass senators!

allenwoodhaven said...

DNPIM, which means Do Not Put In Mouth. My father came across it when he was learning about wine tasting.