Phat [was Re: gay/ghey/ghay]

Douglas G. Wilson douglas at NB.NET
Fri Jun 4 06:44:34 UTC 2004

>Given "fubar" as well, though, and several other acronyms of the same
>sort, all from military argot (Jesse cites a few in his _F Word_),
>another possibility is that the acronym and phrase came into being


However "fubar"/"foo-bar" seems to be something of a special case, with a
bag of worms attached:

... I haven't made any attempt to sort this out. I do doubt "fubar" as a
genuine acronym because the supposed expansion includes the word "all"
which doesn't really belong.

>I doubt that people were saying "snafu" and "fubar"
>for a while, and then realized that, hey, those letters can be made
>to stand for the initials of "situation normal all fucked up" and
>"fucked up beyond all recognition" respectively!

I think this exact scenario is plausible for "snafu"! But the "while" might
have been only an hour or a week. Suppose (just as a random example)
somebody made a casual alteration of "snaffle" (in the sense
"delay"/"check") to "snaffoo": "Snaffooed by those idiots at the shipyard
again! These nuts don't match those bolts and we can't do anything!" [Or
assume any other origin of the spoken word, including the possibility of a
genuine but different acronym.] Then after a "while" somebody asks, "What
is this word 'snaffoo' that everybody is using around here lately?" and
somebody makes up an acronym-expansion and the rest is history. Given a
military milieu, the "fu" might have sort of automatically implied "f---ed
up" from the first time it was uttered, of course. The "situation normal"
part has the smell of a backronym. I could be wrong, of course.

-- Doug Wilson

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