RE: Acronymics (Was: How to spot a crackpot (was Planetary SETI))

Freeman Craig Presson (
Fri, 16 Jul 1999 00:19:01 -0500

On 15 Jul 99, at 12:30, Weaver, Evan A. wrote:
> [...] And you're not allowed
> to have an acronym in an acronym. You're supposed to expand it. That would
> make it SSPSETIR, which looks very odd.

Whoa -- maybe MLA or someone doesn't like embedded acronyms, but hackerdom is certainly fond of nested and even recursive ones, "Gnu's Not Unix" being a very familiar example (not only recursive but also false in all but a narrow legalistic sense).

My favorite of all time was not nested, but self-referential: TLA for "Three- Abbreviation."

Enough usage also tends to make acronyms into words. A recent example set my teeth on edge: there was a poster announcing a social event at work, which contained "Please RSVP" (translates to "Please respond, please" -- the place runs on "AC current", too, I'll bet) and "we will need your RSVP by [date]."