Backronyms

This is an acronym:

FERO

It stands for Federal Electronic and Robotic Operations. Acronyms are made by taking the first letter of each of the words you want to use and using these letters to create a new word. Lots of people have heard of acronyms, but few have heard of their weird cousin, the backronym.

Backronyms are similar to acronyms in that the letters each stand for a word; however, the process for making them is backwards. Instead of taking words you want to use and turning them into a new word, you take an existing word and make each of its letters stand for a word.

My favourite example comes from the American hip hop group Wu Tang Clan. They got their name from 武当山 (Wu Dang Shan), a place in China, but they later turned it into a backronym, which stood for Witty Unpredictable Talent And Natural Game.

Another good example comes from right here in Singapore. If you’ve been here for even a single day, you’ve probably heard of the resort island Sentosa. Sentosa is a Malay word, but some of the locals who don’t enjoy the place have come up with a backronym:

So Expensive and Nothing To See Anyway

The a from and is not included in Sentosa but it is still pretty clever. I should say, though, I don’t agree with this backronym — I love Sentosa.

Do you know any interesting acronyms? Comment below! 



Mark Schenker

Originally from the United States, Mark has been teaching English abroad for the past five years. He worked in Japan before moving to Singapore. He loves learning new languages and takes pride in helping English Language Learners.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked.*

Archives

United Language Centre1 Coleman Street, #09-09B The Adelphi, Singapore 179803 info@unitedlanguagecentre.com