Acronymic Mockery, Folk Acronyms

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Sun Jun 13 23:47:24 UTC 2010

At 6:30 PM -0400 6/13/10, Mark Mandel wrote:
>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

Well, one suggestion for their public relations staff might be to
trade in their now besmirched "BP" initialism for something more
customer-friendly, such as the clipronym "BritPet" (with a bulldog as
their mascot).  I think that would be almost as effective as my
earlier thought that they should replace Tony Heyward as apologist in
chief with Hugh Grant, who has some experience at this.


>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 -

The American Dialect Society -

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