Phat [was Re: gay/ghey/ghay]

Wilson Gray hwgray at EARTHLINK.NET
Thu Jun 3 04:15:46 UTC 2004

On Jun 2, 2004, at 8:58 PM, Douglas G. Wilson wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "Douglas G. Wilson" <douglas at NB.NET>
> Subject:      Re: Phat [was Re: gay/ghey/ghay]
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>> (Can anyone
>>> think of any other nontechnical terms - not initialisms like
>>> "TGIF" -  that have acronymic origins?)
> I guess it depends on what's labeled "technical". There's "awol",
> there's
> "scuba", there's "moped" if you loosen up the definition of "acronym",
> some
> more.
> But there aren't too many in conventional use really.
> I doubt that "snafu" is an 'honest' acronym etymologically (which would
> require that there was a previously existing expression "situation
> normal
> ..."): likely the word was invented to imitate "snag", "snarl", etc.,
> and
> then assigned an expansion as an imaginary origin: but of course I
> could be
> wrong again.
> -- Doug Wilson

FWIW, when I was in the Army, stationed at Andrews Barracks in what was
then West Berlin in the early 'Sixties, we enlisted men formed a
pseudo-fraternity called WGAF, pronounced "wegaf." The letters stood
for "We Give A Fuck," with the negative connotation. But those in
authority were told that this stood for "We Guard America's Freedom."
Hence, when a sergeant said, e.g. "I want five warm bodies for latrine
duty," we would chorus, "Wegaf, sergeant!", making it appear that we
were so gung-ho (often hypercorrected to "gun-ho") that we were eager
to do a job that "took the meat."

-Wilson Gray

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