What do AIDS, CD-ROM, and NATO have in common? You will probably recognize them as being acronyms (initial letters from a set phrase pronounced as a separate word).
See what other abbreviations have sneakily been masquerading as English words:
Gestapo: Based on the German term for ‘secret state police’, Geheime STaatsPOlizei. Still scary but way easier to pronounce.
Gulag: Combines two initials and three letters in the final word of Главное управление лагерей (Glavnoe Upravlenie LAGerey) to create ГУЛаг (GULag) meaning Chief Administration of Camps. The Gulag was originally a Russian government agency used to sequester undesirables into forced labor camps but eventually the term came to mean any prison camp.
Laser: Light Amplification by the Stimulated Emission of Radiation.
Radar: Radio Detecting And Ranging
Scuba: Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus
Snafu: Situation Normal. All Fouled Up. Feel free to insert the F curse word of your choice; this is a family blog!
Sonar: SOund Navigation And Ranging.
Taser: One of the more surprising origin stories, this acronym is based on the favorite childhood novel of the NASA researcher who developed the device, Tom Swift and his Electric Rifle.
Historically, words like CIA or LOL were considered initialisms, not acronyms, because the abbreviations didn’t create a new word but only repeated the letters. Recent dictionaries have begun to categorize them together.
So Yahoo.com (Yet Another Hierarchal Office Oracle) for acronyms and I’ll TTYL.