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Thread: Too long to be an acronym

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Joe Iliff's avatar
    Aug 1997
    Clowns to the left, jokers to the right

    Too long to be an acronym

    World's longest acronym puts TODASTWD to shame
    Fort Worth Star-Telegram
    After years of injecting short strings of jumbled letters into the consciousness of public education, the Texas Education Agency recently presented state superintendents with perhaps its longest example of terseness ever.

    At eight letters, TODASTWD — representing Take Our Daughters and Sons To Work Day — puts to shame the agency’s previous TAKS (Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills), PEIMS (Public Education Information Management System) and TARGET (Technology Applications Readiness Grant for Empowering Texas.)

    The Navy earns top U.S. billing with ADCOMSUBORDCOMPHIBSPAC — which stands for Administrative Command, Amphibious Forces, Pacific Fleet Subordinate Command , listed in the 1997 edition of the Acronyms, Initialisms, and Abbreviations Dictionary.

    Impressive as that is, the U.S. loses to the former Soviet Union, which according to the Guinness Book of Words created the longest acronym ever with NIIOMTPLABOPARMBETZHELBETRABSBOMONIMONKONOTDTEKHSTROMONT (56 letters, 54 in Cyrillic).

    Found in the Concise Dictionary of Soviet Terminology, it means: The laboratory for shuttering, reinforcement, concrete and ferroconcrete operations for composite-monolithic and monolithic constructions of the Department of the Technology of Building-assembly operations of the Scientific Research Institute of the Organization for building mechanization and technical aid of the Academy of Building and Architecture of the USSR.
    At eight letters, TODASTWD is too long to be a good acronym, unless it spelled a word like TOADSTOOL or something. At least ADCOMSUBORDCOMPHIBSPAC can be can be spoken like a word or phrase, "Ad com sub ord com phibs pac".

    Internet speak has a lot of acronyms: brb, fwiw, rofl, etc.. Military speak, too.

    Should we try to develop acronyms for everything, or is that trying to be too cute or sacrificing too much good use of language for convenience?

    Any favorite or most annoying planning acronyms we want to praise or take out of use?

  2. #2
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
    Jun 2003
    at the neighboring pub
    What I find funny is when agency names change because their acronym gets made fun of:

    Texas Natural Resources Conservation Commission: TNRCC
    earned the nickname: TraiN wReCCk
    They are now known as TCEQ: Texas Commission on Environmental Quality

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  3. #3
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
    Mar 1996
    Upstate New York
    Blog entries
    Once of the rules on the Forums is that unfamiliar or regional acronyms should be spelled out in post titles and first posts in a thread. We got tired of seeing "WTF?" thread titles like "Need advice for NEACS-FRTC 2003 ATPG grant requests" and the like.

    Buffalo's regional public transportation system is operated by the Niagara Frontier Transit Authority; the NFTA. I always thought it should be called Frontier Area Regional Transit.

    Quote Originally posted by Suburb Repairman View post
    They are now known as TCEQ: Texas Commission on Environmental Quality
    That works. How do you pronounce it ... "tee-suck"?

  4. #4
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
    Aug 2005
    in a meeting
    I always liked, in a geeky sort of way - Iced Tea (ISTEA) and then Hot Tea (HOTTEA? can't remember what it was now, LOL)

  5. #5
    planning_chick's avatar
    Jan 2007
    State of Revitalization
    A guy I was dating was in the County's Fatal Accident Response Team - it was changed when they received their jackets and realized the problem!

  6. #6
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
    Feb 2004
    on my 15 minute break
    Shoot, military acronyms function quite easily once one becomes familiar with the naming conventions. One need never have seen the PLA (Plain Language Address) before to know/intuit what it means after a certain amount of exposure....COMSUBLANT working backwards would clearly be "Atlantic Submarine Command"

    Certain two to four letter abbreviation combos appear over and over again. Some of the more common ones

    COM - Command
    CMC - Commandant Marine Corps
    INT - Intelligence
    AD - Administration
    COMM - Communications
    LOG - Logistics
    SUP - Supply
    OP - Operations
    PAC - Pacific
    LANT - Atlantic
    NAV - Navy
    TAC - Tactical
    MAR - Marine

    Using just these abbreviations (and there are bunches more) one can mix n match and come up with all sorts of fun-sounding combos that may or may not correspond to any actual activity
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  7. #7
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
    May 2005
    New Town
    When North Texas University in Denton changed its name to the University of North Texas they (unfortunately for those of us who would have liked a good laugh) managed to avoid changing the radio station from KNTU to KUN...well, you get the picture.

    When I lived in Uganda, it seemed every single NGO and its associated programs used acronyms - it was out of control. PAPSCA, UNDP, USAID, ACFODE, ACORD, ADD, are some I can remember (though not much of what they stand for) and the list goes on.
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  8. #8
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
    Mar 2004
    Where the weak are killed and eaten.
    Quote Originally posted by luckless pedestrian View post
    I always liked, in a geeky sort of way - Iced Tea (ISTEA) and then Hot Tea (HOTTEA? can't remember what it was now, LOL)

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Tom R's avatar
    Jul 2002


    Quote Originally posted by Dan View post

    Buffalo's regional public transportation system is operated by the Niagara Frontier Transit Authority; the NFTA. I always thought it should be called Frontier Area Regional Transit.

    When I was in the Army in the late 60s FTA meant something entirely different.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
    Mar 2004
    Where Valley Fever Lives
    Blog entries


    Nothing screems bureaucracy like acronyms that serve only to confuse the public! If government really gave a Rats Arse about the public, there would be a law banning acronyms from being made .....maybe it would be called:

    The Simplification of Names and Often Big Acronym's Sometimes Seriously Causing Ludicrously Unneeded Bewilderment or better known as


    He he he he....The One Strikes again......
    “The way of acquiescence leads to moral and spiritual suicide. The way of violence leads to bitterness in the survivors and brutality in the destroyers. But, the way of non-violence leads to redemption and the creation of the beloved community.”
    Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
    - See more at: http://www.thekingcenter.org/king-ph....r7W02j3S.dpuf

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Emeritus Bear Up North's avatar
    May 2003
    Northwestern Ohio

    Into The Wayback Machine

    This thread brings back memories of this Bear, a young cub, in the mid-1960's, probably about a Junior in high school.....

    I would listen at night to WBZ (AM) radio, broadcasting from Boston. The middle-of-the-night jock was named Dick Summers (sic?) and his program was called "The Nightlighters Club". One of his concerns was for an American populace that was moving away from helping each other, even in time of emergency need.

    Summers latched onto an acronym called NAG.....Nightlighters Against Gutlessness. His main example was the attack, in mid-day in New York City, of a young woman. Dozens of bystanders watched the attack and did nothing and this really riled Summers. Thus, the name.

    Listeners could even send away for a little pendant. The pendant had the initials NAG on it and it had a small slot that the wearer would insert a U.S. dime. The dime signified the price of calling for help if somebody is in trouble. ("Drop a dime" was a common phrase for baby boomers. We used the dime at a "phone booth". You know what that is? )

    Of course I sent for the pendant. I probably lost it years ago. Memories.

    As a bit of a follow-up, I sent Dick Summers a long letter from a group (that I made up) called TOLEDO. I explained that we were planning to come into Boston Harbor and visit the WBZ studios. The acronym TOLEDO......

    Here it comes......

    Toledo Ohio Lake Erie Duck Organization.

    True story. I really was a nerd.

    Bear From TOLEDO

  12. #12
    Cyburbian jmello's avatar
    Mar 2005
    Clayobyrne, CB
    Latin Americans love acronyms! The enviromental agency in Brazil is IBAMA.

    Mexican governmental agencies include:
    SAGAR, Agriculture & Rural Development Ministry.
    SECODAM, Administrative and Expenditure Development Ministry.
    SEDENA, Defense & Military Ministry.
    SEDESOL, Social Development Ministry.
    SEMARNAP, Environment, Natural Resources & Fisheries Ministry.
    SEMATUR, prices & reservations for the Sea of Cortez ferry.
    SENER, Secretary of Energy.
    SEPOMEX, Postal Service of Mexico.

    The United States seems to favor four letters or less when it comes to acronyms.

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