Ben's rando, Virginia's retronyms

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Mon Nov 1 01:26:45 UTC 2010

On Sun, Oct 31, 2010 at 7:32 PM, Alice Faber <faber at> wrote:
> On 10/31/10 10:13 AM, Laurence Horn wrote:
> > At 8:28 AM -0400 10/31/10, Jonathan Lighter wrote:
> >> Did I mention "convo" (conversation), heard a week or so ago? "To keep
> >> the convo going."
> >>
> >> This "-o" business has been going on in Australia more than here for at
> >> least fifty years.
> >
> > But with the pejorative flavor of the ones mentioned below? There
> > may be a more general process of truncation + -o as in "convo" that I
> > think is not the same as the human -o slurs involved in "rando" and
> > its "wino/wacko/weirdo/pscyho"-type sponsors.
> On, a cover site for craftspeople selling their stuff, "convo"
> is standard terminology for an IM-type dialog (say, if I have a question
> about an item being offered for sale). It bothered me at first, but I've
> gotten used to it. I have no idea whether the usage is Etsy-specific, or
> whether they got it from some other site. Also, for what it's worth,
> it's headquartered in Brooklyn (NY).

Several of these non-pejorative Aussie-style truncations + "-o" (let's
call them "truncos") are getting popular in business circles. Along
with "convo", there's "preso" for "presentation", "reco" for
"recommendation", and "illo" for "illustration". More discussion in
the comments here:


Ben Zimmer

The American Dialect Society -

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