CATO -- acronym?

Mark Mandel thnidu at GMAIL.COM
Sun Dec 20 02:07:02 UTC 2009

Assuming that it is pronounced "KAY-toe", i.e. rhyming with "NATO":

For the acronym theory, without distinguishing what the original exact
phrase was: It also rhymes with "JATO", which OED cites from 1944 and
defines as
     a. A take-off assisted by a jato unit.
     b. An auxiliary, usually detachable, unit of one or more jet engines
(usually rockets) for providing temporary extra thrust when an aircraft
takes off. Usu. attrib., esp. in jato unit.
ISTM that there's enough of a direct contrast to support it as a joke.

Against the "CATastrOphe" theory:  The vowels of "CATO" are completely
different from the corresponding vowels in "catastrophe". And are any other
words known to have been derived in that way?

Mark Mandel

The American Dialect Society -

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