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Oct 10, 2018
This week’s theme
Blend words

This week’s words
anecdata
workfare
backronym
lunk
herstory

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

backronym

PRONUNCIATION:
(BAK-ro-nim)

MEANING:
noun: A word re-interpreted as an acronym.

ETYMOLOGY:
A blend of back + acronym. Earliest documented use: 1983.

NOTES:
In a backronym, an expansion is invented to treat an existing word as an acronym. For example, some believe that the word NEWS is an acronym for North, East, West, and South. In reality, the word is coined from “new” as in: What’s new?
When naming something, sometimes a suitable name is chosen and then an acronym is retrofitted on top of it: USA PATRIOT Act (Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism). The clunkiness of the expansion is a quick giveaway. How about forming a backronym for ACRONYM itself: A Contrived Result Of Nomenclature Yielding Mechanism?
Often, backronyms serve a useful purpose as mnemonics. For example, see Apgar score.

USAGE:
“The name of Maryland’s bill, by the way, was the PRIME Act, named of course for Amazon’s Prime membership program. But the nomenclature of the obsequious backronym was somehow more embarrassing: Promoting ext-Raordinary Innovation in Maryland’s Economy.”
Andray Domise; The Law of Amazon’s Jungle; Maclean’s (Toronto, Canada); Jul 20, 2018.

See more usage examples of backronym in Vocabulary.com’s dictionary.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
When small men begin to cast big shadows, it means that the sun is about to set. -Lin Yutang, writer and translator (10 Oct 1895-1976)

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