Acronymic Mockery, Folk Acronyms

Mark Mandel thnidu at GMAIL.COM
Sun Jun 13 22:30:26 UTC 2010

Department of Lost Causes

<irony>And you're really going to call them acronyms, not

(Sigh.) Even I have trouble pronouncing /bp/ as an acronym, rather than the
initialism /'bi:'pi:/ = "bee-pee".

On second thought, /bp/ does sound suggestive of a bubble of oil squeezing
its way out into the ocean.

Mark Mandel

On Sat, Jun 12, 2010 at 2:01 PM, Mark Peters <markpeters33 at> wrote:

> Sigh. Maybe this will defunk my message:
> Hey folks,
> I'm writing a column this week on what I'm calling Acronymic Mockery, a
> form of folk acronym,
> specifically, how people are saying that BP really stands for Bungled
> Plugjob, Brazen Polluters,
> Beyond Punishment, etc. I'm trying to get as many other examples as I can
> too. I've found
> plenty involving the CIA, FBI, NRA, and NFL, such as the well-known No Fun
> League and
> People Eating Tasting Animals (PETA). Any other examples come to mind? This
> isn't really
> about folk acronyms proposed as etymology, but what the hell, if there's a
> not-so-well-known
> example, I'd welcome that too.
> If anyone knows of an article about this, that tip would be particularly
> appreciated. I found a
> couple old ones in the Journal of American Folklore, but there must be
> more. Thanks!
> Mark

The American Dialect Society -

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