A few years ago, I coined the phrase “AITS,” or ‘adults in training.’ It hasn’t caught on, but I am still looking and maybe someday, it will be all the rage and we will all know who started it!
In the past few days, I have been reminded of other acronyms such as YUPPIES and DINKS. It got me thinking of some acronyms that I have used and seen over the years. BTW, YUPPIES is the plural of YUPPY…….. ‘Young Urban Professional’ (from the 1980s) and DINKS is the plural of the ‘Double Income No Kids’ classification that the IRS gives some taxpaying couples. (from forever!)
Remember? An acronym is made when you write or say the first letters of each word of a phrase.
Yes, the IRS is one example of letters that have become an acronym. Its letters don’t make a word, but we read the letters off in succession and everyone knows what we mean. Believe me, if you ever say these three letters in this order, EVERYONE knows what you are talking about!
There are also acronyms that make a word themselves. Some have become so common that no one remembers that they were ever acronyms. How about Mega? We say, ‘Come to the Mega-Sale!’ or ‘That’s Mega-Cool!” Meaning that it is a degree above just regular sales or coolness. But MEGA started out as “Molecular Evolutionary Genetics Analysis.” Now, that’s a BIG thing! Imagine all the possibilities of molecules and genetics together!
Now that’s cool, isn’t it?! Or should I say ‘Mega-Cool?!’
Sports have so many acronyms that it’s another category in itself! For baseball, ERA is ‘earned run average’ and RBI is ‘run batted in.’ In football, PAT is ‘point after touchdown’ and RAC is ‘Run After Catch.’ Hockey and Soccer have SOG or ‘shots on goal.’
In the political arena, they love to do this as well. Remember FOB? Or ‘Friends of Bill’ as in President Bill Clinton from the 1990s. There are so many and let’s not even mention the government’s acronyms. Those number in the millions, I’ll bet! There is a shortcut for every phrase; just one of those things……………..
Of course, every company has its own set of acronyms to make their business communications work smoothly. When I worked at Xerox in the 1980s, we had an entire sheet full of acronyms for processes and organizations. It was crazy, but everyone got used to them so soon that we didn’t even realize we were using them all the time!
The computer industry must be the largest user of them because computers love shortcuts! RAM, ROM and DOS are just the basics (Random Access Memory, Read Only Memory and Disk Operating System). There are so many I don’t know! I remember LAN from my Xerox days (Local Access Network). CPU is central processing unit; WWW is World Wide Web (which isn’t used much anymore) and COM, BIZ, EDU and NET are all part of Web site addresses.
How about COD? This is ‘Cash on Delivery,’ an old term for a way to pay for something. Remember DOA as in ‘Dead on Arrival?’ How about HOA? This is the neighborhood ‘Home Owners Association.’ This is a good one: ‘TIPS’ as in what you give your waiter or waitress! It stands for “To Insure Proper Service.” ZIP as in Zip Code stands for ‘Zone Improvement Plan.’ And VELCRO means ‘Velvet Crochet.’
These acronyms will always be part of language as humans try to find faster ways to communicate with each other. There are ones that have gone by the wayside and there are ones that I don’t know because I am not a ‘young person.’ That young slang will also permeate the language; just check the dictionary people to see how many new words are added and how many are acronyms that make it into every day speech.
It’s fun to do and it’s fun to think about. Take AITS for instance. It refers to those young people who may be on their own, but who have not ‘grown into’ there adult lives yet. It can go anywhere from 18 to 30 years old depending on maturity. Of course, there was this one woman, in her 40s, who told me that she feels like an ‘AIT’ all the time!
You know, I do believe I understand what she means………………………………..