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  • Before 1999, France's Commando Parachute Group was known in French as Commandos de Recherche et d'Action en Profondeur, and yes, that was the actual acronym.
  • There is a certain French Connection shop at Heathrow Airport, which has its email address written in big block letters: FC.UK
  • The MicroSoft Critical Update Notification Tool. Google it.
  • SCRAM - Safety Control Rod Axe-Man - an emergency shutdown of a nuclear reactor (and is precisely what you'd want to do in the event of a meltdown).
    • In fact, it's unclear whether the acronym was originally even there at the time it's first credited (the Manhattan Project); some of the people involved say it was, some claim it was a backgronym years later.
  • DDT: The debugger on the CP/M Z80 microprocessor platform was called DDT, Dynamic Debugging Tool.
  • ELF, the Executable and Linkable Format, a common standard file format for executables, object code, shared libraries, and core dumps.
    • Which was created along with its debugging data format called DWARF, Debugging With Attributed Record Formats.
  • While the Cisco's Carrier Routing System router, CRS-1 was in development, it was known by the code name of HFR that stands for Huge Fucking Router.
  • The World Health Organization is a rather high-profile example.
  • MILF - Mother I'd Like to Fuck.
    • And for Filipinos, it means Moro Islamic Liberation Front, an Islamist group. Their Arabic name (Jabhat Tahrir Mooroo al-Islamiyyah) doesn't produce any similarly amusing acronyms, unfortunately.
  • The name of the central command of NATO military forces? Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe. Seriously.
  • The term "Special Weapons And Tactics" worked out very well for the public image of SWAT teams. Well enough that they could ignore the fact that, by standard acronym rules, it really ought to have been SWT. SWAT originally stood for Special Weapons Assault Team, but this acronym was rejected by higher-ups in the Los Angeles Police Department for sounding too military. Referring to a police squad as an "assault team" was considered to give the wrong impression, even though that's exactly what SWAT teams are.
  • Missed opportunity for the bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to be called The Bureau of FATE.
  • Souvenir And Novelty Trade Association.
  • Subversion: During the Cold War, the US kept an airborne command center ready to take off with the President at moment's notice in the event of a Global Thermonuclear War. This National Emergency Airborne Command Post had the unpronounceable acronym NEACP, but quickly became unofficially known as 'Kneecap'...
  • As readers of Eric Flint's 1632 novels well know, the 17th-century King Gustav Adolf II of Sweden frequently disguised himself as a commoner to live and work among his people, using the name "Gars": Gustavus Adolphus, Rex Sueciae (Latin for Gustav Adolf, King of the Swedes). Which makes Gustavus Adolphus GAR before GAR became a meme.
  • And this entry could not be complete without the U.S. Navy's Commander In Chief - United States Fleet (C.In.C.U.S., which sounds like "sink us"). The position's name was changed to ComInCH almost immediately after the attack on Pearl Harbor.
  • The names for the Jeep and the Humvee are thought to be a pronounciation of GP (General Purpose) and HMMWV (High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle). (The British Forces slang term "Gimpy" (pronounced 'jimpy') is known to be a pronunciation of GPMG (General Purpose Machine Gun), so this makes some sense).
    • Same goes for the DShK 1938 "Dushka", a Soviet heavy machinegun.
    • Patriot Missiles have the Radio Logic Routing Interface Unit (pronounced ROO-LE-ROO) and Switch Multiplexor Unit (pronounced Schmoo) try telling your fellow (non-air defense) soldiers that the RLRIU is up but the SMU is down....
    • Also, the "widget" in the Widget Series entry is a pronounciation of W.J.T., which means Weird Japanese Thing. (The French counterpart of the WJT is the WTF, or Weird Thing from France.)
      • And the American counterpart is the Weird American Thing, or sometimes the Weird Humorous American Thing.
  • A prolific USENET troll claims to represent a church calling itself the First Universal Christian Kingdom which, according to a Google search, actually exists. There's a phone number, whose operators must be tired of people calling to say "hello, is that the FUCK?"
  • Washington Air National Guard detachment. Funnier in that it wasn't actually spelled out; you just had to guess by context what sort of WANG you were calling for.
  • Province of Ontario Land Registration Information System
  • The LAPD has a section called the Community Resources Against Street Hoodlums.
  • Then there's Glucose Oxidase, quite possibly the most sacred enzyme of all time.
  • Dublin has a light rail system called Dublin Area Rapid Transit. - DART
    • Topping that, San Francisco has the Bay Area Rapid Transit- BART.
      • Those of us a little more north will be getting the Sonoma-Marin Area Rapid Transit line - the SMART line as an extension of BART (running from Cloverdale to San Francisco).
      • And every kid in the area western U.S. jokes about what it'd be called if it started in Fullerton, Felton, Fresno, etc. Supposedly, a Fairfield Area Rapid Transit once existed.
        • Their prayers are answered. The local transport company of Ticino canton, Switzerland, is Ferrovie Autolinee Regionale Ticinese. Linky - check the bit at the bottom.
      • A lot of cities with light rail go out of their way to create acronyms like that. Portland Oregon has MAX (Metro Area eXpress), Atlanta has MARTA (Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority), and so on.
    • We Dallasites also have a transit system known as DART: Dallas Area Rapid Transit.
    • Toledo, Ohio has TARTA (Toledo Area Rapid Transit Authority)
    • Until the late 1990s/early 2000s, the city of Grand Rapids, Michigan had a bus system called GRATA which stood for Grand Rapids Area Transit Authority. Sadly, rides weren't gratis on GRATA and they changed their name to "the Rapid" in the early '00s.
      • Although not a true acronym; the combination of AMerica and TRAcK makes AMTRAK, which is the shortened name for the poorly done rail system of United States of America (which can be abbreviated to USA as a bonus).
  • Dun and Bradstreet's system for providing a unique serial number for businesses is known as the Data Universal Numbering System.
  • The Plain Language Association International (PLAIn) is an organization whose goal is to ease back on the use of obscure Techno Babble in academia, government, law and business.
  • From 1978 through The Eighties, Subaru sold a car-based 4x4 pickup called the "Brat". At first they insisted it was a " Bi-drive Recreational All-terrain Transporter". Wags described it as Barely Recognizeable As a Truck.
    • Similarly, the first Fiat cars brought to the U.S. had a bad reputation, to say the least and were quickly given the slang nickname Fix It Again Tony.
  • Jimmy Carter's effort to encourage rationing of gasoline during the oil shortage of the 70s was called the Moral Equivalent of War, a phrase taken from William Jennings Bryant. Unfortunately, when made an acronym on buttons, it spells out MEOW.
  • The German Military Counterintelligence Agency is called Militärischer Abschirmdienst.
    • German Mad Magazine suggested several times that they renamed the organization to avoid confusion. They also made some suggestions for the new name which were this trope, like MÜD (German for tired), DUMM, WURST and BANANAS (can't remember the details).
  • The identical acronym for the strategy of Mutually Assured Destruction is usually considered quite appropriate.
    • It worked didn't it? "If it's stupid, but it works, it's not stupid"
    • Also its opposite, Nuclear Utilization Target Selection, NUTS. Hence a common question among IR students: Are you MAD or NUTS?
  • GIRL: Guy In Real Life
  • A popular way to remember the names of the Great Lakes is HOMES, Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, Superior.
    • My teacher used to insist it was SHMOE.
    • Similarly, math students are helped in trig by Chief SOHCAHTOA: "sine is opposite over hypotenuse", "cosine is adjacent over hypotenuse", and "tangent is opposite over adjacent".
    • In Spain, schools use the word PATINARÁN ("they will skate") to help children remember the five oceans from largest to smallest: Pacífico, ATlántico, ÍNdico, ÁRtico and ANtártico.
  • Light Anti-tank Weapon.
    • Then there is the Squad Automatic Weapon.
      • A Myth Busters episode had the Build Team use various firearms, including the SAW, to test if it's possible to cut a tree down with bullets. Tory, while discussing the weapons, noted "How ironic" when he got to the SAW.
    • The Special Operations Forces Combat Assault Rifle, in both Light (5.56) and Heavy (7.62) versions.
  • High Explosive Anti-Tank Warhead.
    • There's also High Explosive Armour Piercing, or H.E.A.P., High Explosive Squash Head, or H.E.S.H.... there's tons.
    • Worth mentioning is the MOAB, or the Massive Ordinance Air Blast bomb, at one point the most powerful non-nuclear weapon ever designed, and colloquially known as the Mother Of All Bombs.
      • Unfortunately subverted though with the Armor-Piercing Fin-Stabilized Discarding Sabot which is the primary anti tank munition for the US Military...so people just nicknamed it "The Silver Bullet".
    • You cannot leave any discussion of silly-sounding military acronyms without mentioning the one describing the FIM-92 Stinger and its class of weapons: M.A.N.P.A.D.S., or Man Portable Air Defense System. It may be something all low-flying combat aircraft fear, but that doesn't stop it from sounding like underwear liners for guys.
    • The British L6 recoilless rifle was better known as the Weapon Of Magnesium, Battalion Anti-Tank.
  • At at least one university, the orientation program for Hillel, the Jewish student organization, was called First Year Students at Hillel. Ironic, given how the fish as a symbol is strongly associated with Christianity.
    • Never heard of Gefilte Fish?
  • In the wake of their draconian antipiracy efforts, which have included lawsuits for outrageous amounts based on little to no evidence of any wrongdoing with extortionate "settlement terms", the Motion Picture Association of America and the Recording Industry Association of America gained the less than complementary collective nickname Music And Film Industry Association of America -- MAFIAA.
  • I DARE you to find somebody who actually knows what that acronym stands for. Yes, there's an answer. It's Drug Abuse Resistance Education.
    • In Australia it's Drugs Are Really Exciting.
    • The aforementioned Schools Heightened Aversion Drugs Therapy of Brass Eye is probably a parody.
  • The unmanned surveillance crew at an Air Force base which shall remain unnamed suggested Predator Exploitation Near-real-time Information System for their sub-unit. This was rejected, as was their second choice Predator Observation Station.
    • What? A large set of arranged equipment used for observing and controlling Predator drones from far away? They should have called it the Predator Remote Interface Control Kit.
  • There's a British clothing chain called the French Connection, United Kingdom (all lowercase, so fcuk). They've had a lot of fun putting their brand on shirts, and stirred up controversy opening up shops in the US.
    • They could call it FCUK US.
  • While EPCOT stands for the relatively boring "Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow" it carries another meaning for Disney employees: Every Paycheck Comes On Thursday.
    • To guests touring late into the evening, on the other hand, it's Every Person Comes Out Tired.
      • It can also mean Every Pocket Cleaned Out Thoroughly.
      • To guests staying for the New Years Eve party (Or make use of Boozing 'round the world) it's Trashed instead of Tired.
      • Evil Polyester Costumes of Terror!
    • Residents of Anaheim, California like to use Disney Is So Not Ever Yielding, to reference the stranglehold the company holds over local politics. Disney would like you to know that Orange County would be nothing without them! No acronmym there... they just want you to know.
    • Technically "EPCOT" (all caps) only refers to Walt Disney's original plan for what ultimately became the Walt Disney World Resort. Disney intended the property to be an actual community, with homes and schools and everything, that would serve as a testing ground and a showcase for new technologies and new methods of urban planning. But the company chickened out after Walt Disney died and just decided to turn the property into a collection of theme parks. The theme park "Epcot" was intended to embody the spirit of Walt's EPCOT concept without the political/logistical headaches of governing a town (and with the "new methods of urban planning" changed to "showcase for international cultures"), but it's gradually drifted away from that purpose over the years and most guests don't even know that it was originally an acronym.
  • Northern California has the Anderson-Cottonwood Irrigation District.
  • Subverted with the esoteric programming language, INTERCAL, which stands for "Compiler Language With No Pronounceable Acronym".
  • There is an organisation named Better Environmentally Sound Transportation, whose first major act was to hold a contest: the BEST Commuter Challenge.
  • Countdown's computer is called Cecil, which turns out to mean Countdown's Electronic Calculator In Leeds (where the show is filmed).
  • Bikers Against Drunk Drivers.
    • I raise you Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
      • I call and raise Students Against Drunk Driving/Drivers.
        • And parodied by (Was it Bill Engvall or Jeff Foxworthy? Think Foxworth): Drunks Against Mad Mothers.
      • Recording Artists, Actors, and Athletes Against Drunk Driving is merely RAAD.
  • The Personal Halting And Stimulation Response rifle. Sure, it just temporarily blinds its targets, but what red-blooded American soldier doesn't secretly yearn to have a PHASeR rifle?
    • Not to mention the TASER, an acronym of Thomas A Swift's Eletric Rifle. Nevermind that Tom Swift was never given a middle name, let alone the initial "A". It makes the acronym work.
  • There is a parody Christian conservative group entitled Society of Christians for the Restoration of Old Testament Morality.
    • I'm guessing they want to break out the NAPALM, then, given how much of the old testament is about genocide.
  • One bad taste joke after the Columbia disaster was that NASA stood for Need Another Seven Astronauts.
    • In a similar vein, after the Apollo 1 fire, some reporters commented that NASA, which hadn't been very helpful during the investigation of the incident, stood for Never A Straight Answer.
    • More bad taste -- MUNICH: Manchester United Never Intended Coming Home.
    • Still more bad taste -- WACO: We Ain't Coming Out.
    • And an intercultural bad joke: in Spanish, NBA is said to stand for Negros Bastante Altos, "Quite Tall Black Men". Please note that in Spanish "negro" is not an insult by default.
      • In the same way, in Mexican Spanish, FBI is said to stand for Fuerza Bruta Indígena (Indigenous Brute Force)
  • There are two main hypotheses for how Dark Matter works- Weakly Interacting Massive Particles or Massive Compact Halo Objects. WIMPs and MACHOs, anyone?
    • Somehow, it'd be funnier if it was Natural instead of Massive.
    • Bill Bryson suggested that for now, we use the term Dark Unknown Nonreflective Nondetectable Objects Somewhere.
    • Robust Associations of Massive Baryonic Objects
    • A person critical of the theory proposed to call it Fabricated Ad hoc Inventions Repeatedly Invoked in Efforts to Defend Untenable Scientific Theories.
    • On a related note, string theory and other attempts at "theories of everything" meant to explain all of physics in a simple, intuitive way are known as Grand Unified Theories.
  • There are persistent rumours that the US Military was, at one stage, developing the Off Radar Ground Attack Standoff Missile until someone mysteriously decided to rename the programme. Of course this may just be someone's idea of a joke.
    • Heavy Anti Radar Missile is real, though.
  • The Free/Libre/Open Source Software community seems to be quite fond of this one:
    • GNU's Not Unix being the most obvious example. (It refers to the fact that GNU intends to be similar to Unix, but contains no code from Unix.)
    • Or there's the slightly unfortunate GNU Image Manipulation Project, which, as the name states, is a sub-project of the previously mentioned GNU.
    • Another GNU project, with a less unfortunate (but still odd) name, the GNU Network Object Model Environment, or GNOME, a graphical user interface designed for GNU but usable on practically any OS similar to or based on Unix (such as BSD and Solaris).
    • A simple recursive acronym wasn't silly enough for the GNU kernel: it has a pair of mutually recursive acronyms -- and a bad pun. It's called the GNU HURD (HIRD of Unix Replacing Daemons, where HIRD stands for HURD of Interfaces Representing Depth).
    • Samba isn't an acronym but comes very close - it was the first English word containing the letters S, M and B (in that order) - SMB being the protocol Samba interoperates with.
    • Wine Is Not an Emulator. And it really isn't. (It's a compatibility layer for running Windows applications on other operating systems, not unlike what 64-bit versions of Windows have for 32-bit Windows programs or early versions of Mac OS X had for Mac OS Classic programs.)
    • And don't forget LAME, which originally stood for Lame Ain't an MP3 Encoder. Unlike Wine, it is.
    • Linux, though actually a portmanteau of "Linus"(Torvalds)+"UNIX", has sometimes often been given the joke recursive-acronym interpretation "Linux Is Not UNIX".
    • And Fine Is Not EMacs. And they wonder why Linux isn't a mainstream OS. Sheesh.
      • Between servers, Ubuntu and Fedora, it very much is. Which brings us to a standard FLOSS server bundle known as... Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP (or Perl).
      • Once there was Emacs. The prototype Lisp machine had an Emacs-like editor called EINE (EINE Is Not Emacs). The Symbolics Lisp machine editor was called ZWEI (ZWEI Was EINE Initially). Fortunately, we were saved from DREI (DREI is Really Emacs Inside).
    • The Amnesic Incognito Live System (a privacy tool)
    • Ionization FRont Interactive Tool (3D data visualizer, now generic, but originally for stellar fireworks and named appropriately)
  • Palestian organization Ḥarakat al-Taḥrīr al-Waṭanī al-Filasṭīnī is known as FATAH or 'victory' because HATAF would mean 'sudden death'.
    • Simlarly HAMAS means "zeal" and stands for Harakat al-Muqawamah al-ISlamiyyah (the Islamic Resistance Movement).
  • The French and Germans developed a missile called Haut subsonique Optiquement Téléguidé (High Subsonic Optical Guided). It can carry a HEAT warhead.
  • From World War II we have Pipe Line Under The Ocean or PLUTO
    • Which lays itself open backronym suspicion because normally people don't consider the English Channel an ocean.
    • In Germany there was the ironic acryonm "Gröfaz" (sometimes spelled "GröFaZ) for Hitler, lampooning the propaganda of the Nazis - Größter Feldherr aller Zeiten, "greatest commander-in-chief of all times.
  • There's apparently a computer-based analysis tool for Nonnumerical, Unstructured Data Indexing, Searching, and Theorizing. In what is probably an attempt to not look too crude, the official acronym used by research papers throws in an asterisk in the middle to be NUD*IST...
  • Richard Nixon's re-election campaign was styled the Committee to Re-Elect the President, meant to be initialized as CRP, but after the Watergate scandal broke, people deemed another interpretation to be more apt.
    • Parodied by Mad Magazine as the Committee to Reelect the American President.
    • And by Marvel Comics with the Committee to Regain America's Principles.
    • And by the late Kenny Everett in his repeating Dallas/Dynasty parody Dallasty; the last episode of such in each show ended with "credits" which were of course absurdly long and scrolled past far too rapidly to read, and at the very end said (for a second or two) "Creative Research Associates Production" -- stacked vertically so that the "CRAP" lined up and could clearly be read as such.
  • The gene "Zbtb7" was formerly known as the "POK erythroid myeloid ontogenic factor", which was often shortened to Pokémon. Pokemon USA naturally threatened to sue, as they didn't want Pokemon to be associated with the gene that may be the trigger for cancer, of all things.
  • Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, happens to be seasonally-dependent classical depression. Who says shrinks don't have a sense of humour?
    • Or S.O.S.A.D, which would be Sudden Onset Seasonal Affective Disorder. And it is SO SAD.
    • Then there's the Standard American Diet...
    • Sad and coincidental, but Social Anxiety Disorder's, also known as social phobia's acronym spells out SAD, and many people with the disorder to tend to be sad because of the way it mixes with their life.
  • The Scotland Yard computer system is the Home Office Large Major Enquiry System. Because HOES would just be silly.
  • One of the three main schools in Laurens County, GA is West Laurens High School: Where Learning Has Style.
    • And, similarly, there's West Laurens Middle School: Where Learning Means Success.
  • In a 2007 paper in Chemical Communications, a group of Chinese academics coined an extremely unfortunate acronym for copper (Cu) nanotubes. The same paper also had bismuth nanotubes. Their journal article on the work managed to get published in an English-language journal with their nomenclature intact. This is possibly the only time a Chem. Comm. article has been cited by Viz.
  • The TV channel UKTV Gold was renamed G.O.L.D., which apparently stands for Go On, Laugh Daily.
  • There is always the Office of Naval Intelligence.
    • Although at first glance this appears to be an Oxymoron, it gets funnier if you know that an "Oni" is a Japanese ogre known for wielding giant iron clubs.
  • The name of the USA PATRIOT Act stood for Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act". The act's primary effect was to increase the government's wiretap and surveillance powers.
    • Richard Stallman repurposed the acronym as the U SAP AT RIOT Act.
    • The government's been doing this a lot lately. Since then we've had the America Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education, and Science Act of 2007 and the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act of 2010 (though the latter didn't pass the Senate).
    • This Economist blog post contains a list of American laws that have Fun with Acronyms. AYUDA, anyone?
  • An unfortunate one: NASA Education Resources Director.
  • The Fisherman's Information Bureau. "It was this big! Really!"
  • Someone at the government was having fun when they came up with the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (a continuation of health care benefits after you lose your job). That, or it's proof of government infestation by terrorists with hoods and metal masks...
  • The name of the party supply company brand Elope stands for "Everybody's Laughing On Planet Earth."
  • In 2000, when the Reform Party of Canada merged with a faction of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada, the new party (the Canadian Alliance) came very close to calling itself the Canadian Conservative Reform Alliance. However, the media added Party, causing the arrangement of the words to change.
  • In the Netherlands, schools and universities are sometimes associated with religious organisations. Universities also tend to turn their names into acronyms (like U.v.A.: Universiteit van Amsterdam, University of Amsterdam). Cue hilarity when the Catholic University in Tilburg (Katholieke Universiteit Tilburg) rapidly changed its name to Catholic University of Brabant. Take a guess what the less-than-flattering name for female genitalia is in Dutch?
    • Likewise, Belgium has the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, which gets shortened to KULeuven, and not KUL. Because kul is Dutch for nonsense.
  • The unsucessful landing craft from the European Space Agency's Mars Explorer was called Beagle, and one of the Beagle's tools was the Payload Adjustable Workbench.
  • Britain has the National Union of Teachers.
    • There's also the British Association of Plastic Surgeons, or BAPS. [1]
  • The Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb, or as it's better known to people who know about it, Mother of All Bombs, was the largest conventional bomb when it was created in 2003. In case the above examples haven't made it sufficiently clear, the U.S. government as we know it today thrives off this trope. Afterwards, the Russians decided to one-up this with the even bigger "father of all bombs."
  • That Bring A Real Friend poster on Totally Radical? That's a real-life version of both that trope and this one.
  • In military aviation, there is HERO--this stands for Hazards of Electromagnetic Radiation to Ordnance. (A strong enough radio signal can cause detonators to spontaneously fire. HERO restricts the use of radio devices.
  • The US military tried the damnedest to subvert this trope with the DUKW, an amphibious truck of outstanding quality produced in WWII. D for designed in 1942 [of course!], U for utility, K for all-wheel drive and W for dual-axle. Everyone ignored the inconvenient W and called them "ducks".
  • This works out awesomely for the Cleveland Institute of Art, or CIA.
    • This also works for the Culinary Institute of America.
    • At the University of California, Berkeley, there is a student organization that used to be called the California Investment Association. In 2009, they changed their name to Berkeley Investment Group.
  • The Defense Research and Engineering Network. (Hint: Read it backwards.)
  • eBay used to deal with certain problems through its Safe Harbor Investigations Team
  • "ZAPHOD" to "Zeta Artifical Peacekeeping and Hazardous Observation Device".
  • From computational fluid dynamics, the Advection Upstream Splitting Method and its variants (yes, it's pronounced like that). It's a flux function that can be used in Monotone Upstream-centered Schemes for Conservation Laws, and has been used in codes together with a library called the Structured Adaptive Mesh Refinement Application Infrastructure...
  • Giving Transformers fans amusement is the fact that there's a real-life NEST organization - the Nuclear Emergency Support Team.
  • For a brief period in the late '80s, early '90s, the British armed police units were assigned the designation of Fire-Arms Response Teams (or, according to some sources) Fast Armed Response Teams. Someone pointed out the acronym, and now they are the less amusing Armed Response Unit.
    • The public utility district in Snohomish County, WA (US) also created the Fast Action Response Team to deal with large power outages. The name was quickly changed.
  • The National Institue for Health and Clinical Excellence decided to omit the Health when they came up with their acronym. It seems like they did it on purpose just so they could call their guidelines the NICE Guidelines.
    • Clearly, they were unaware of the National Institute for Co-ordinated Experiments, above.
    • It was initially just NICE, but was then merged with the Health Development Agency, at which point the "Health and" bit was added.
  • * Ahem* ...Situation Normal: All Fucked Up
    • Or "Fouled", in polite company.
  • One of the least effective laws in the US is the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography And Marketing Act of 2003. Since less than 1% of all spammers care about it, they reeeeeally need to replace it with a CAN'T SPAM law.
  • Many many particle physics experiments: A Toroidal LHC ApparatuSS, or ATLAS, just to name one (very well known) example.
  • Someone was either exercising a somewhat juvenile sense of humor or displaying some ignorance when naming the Armed Forces Radio and Television Service, used to provide radio and TV programming for US armed forces personnel, Defense Department civilians, and dependents while outside the continental US. Naturally, this gets pronounced, when spoken, as "a-farts".
  • Macho: Men Acting Childish Horrible and Obnoxious.
    • Bitch: Beautiful, Intelligent, and Totally in Charge of Herself.
  • Brandeis University's debate team is called Brandeis Academic Debate And Speech Society. It is, appropriately enough, awesome.
  • The British Government's interdepartment crisis response committee is named after where they meet, hence Cabinet Office Briefing Room A. Frankly with an acronym like that they should be the ones causing the disasters
  • Following a poll on their site to decide what to name the new ISS module ending up with the name "Colbert" winning (through write-in votes, no less), NASA instead chose to name a new zero-g exercise machine for use on the ISS the Combined Operational Load Bearing External Resistance Treadmill.
    • NASA, like many American federal agencies, is practically made of this trope. For example, there's a flight control position known as SPARTAN. The "N" stands for "coNtrol."
    • There's more than just SPARTAN. Witness:
      • Electrical Generation and Integrated Lighting Systems Engineer, responsible for the shuttle's electrical systems.
      • Flight Dynamics Officer, responsible for the flight path of the shuttle, pronounced FIDO.
      • Mechanical, Maintenance, Arm, and Crew Systems, responsible for the shuttle's mechanical systems. (Sound it out.)
    • The ISS gets in on the action, too:
  • The British mental-health charity Schizophrenia: A National Emergency, or SANE. The National Association for Mental Health, on the other hand, calls itself MIND, even though that's not an acronym.
  • Beginner's All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code.
  • Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing (a framework used for SETI@Home and other distributed computing projects), presumably a reference to the Calvin and Hobbes collection Scientific Progress Goes "Boink".
  • Aversion: New Zealand Visual Effects of Awesome powerhouse W E T A Workshop doesn't stand for anything except the freakishly huge cricket it's named after. Word of God is they tried to have fun with it and got as far as "'Wellington [the city they're based in] Effects and Technical...' and then we drew a blank!"
  • The African-sounding WGASA train at the San Diego Wild Animal Park is actually shorthand for Who Gives A Shit Anyway, which was written on a memo after no one could come up with a name for the train. Apparently whoever decided to use it knew what the word "wgasa" meant and almost got in trouble for it too, at least according to Snopes. They named it that sort of as a joke and because they couldn't think of anything else. To save face, the zoo came out with the hastily-created backronym "World's Greatest Animal Show Anywhere".
  • Everyone knows that we're in the Middle East fighting a war for Operation Iraqi Liberation Freedom! (currently called Operation New Dawn).
  • The proposed Mars scout mission called ARES (Areal Regional-scale Environmental Survey of Mars) is funny because Ares is the Greek name for the god of war, in Latin known as Mars.
  • When the Norsk Teknologisk Høyskole[2] was due for a rename, they originally wanted to go with N''orwegian U''niversity of T''echnology and S''cience, but sadly had to settle for Norsk Tecknologisk og Naturvitenskapelig Universitet[3]
  • Gerald Ford's campaign against economic inflation: Whip Inflation Now. The campaign never got beyond printing "WIN" buttons.
  • One recently launched weather satellite is the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-P. So yeah, GOES-P. Rather awkward.
  • An Australian slang acronym DILLIGAF pronounced as it looks, is an increasingly popular reply to any annoying questions you are not interested in saying. It stands for: Do I Look Like I Give A Fuck?
  • The standardized tests in the state of Virginia are called "the SOLs". The acronym stands for Standards of Learning, but to the other 49 states, "SOL" means "Shit Outta Luck.
  • Any company in the US looking to build a power plant often runs into opposition from NIMBYs and BANANAs. Not In My Backyard, and Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anyone, respectively.
  • FUBAR stands for Fucked Up Beyond All Reconition.
    • And, when used by ambulance personnel of FUBARed casualties that are still alive, but untreatable, it gets the suffix But Unfortunately Not Dead Yet.
  • INTErnational Gamma-Ray Astrophysics Laboratory or INTEGRAL.
  • The Pinelands Institute for Natural and Environmental Studies, or PINES, a program at the Burlington, NJ County College that studies... guess.
  • Superconducting QUantum Interface Device. A very cool invention but sadly unsquid-like.
  • The Association of Community Organizers for Reform Now had far more to do with the fact that it spelled ACORN than what it stood for.
  • Electron Gamma Shower computer code system. Something to do with electrons and protons and simulators. We do know another meaning for "EGS", do we?
  • Oliviero Stock and Carlo Strapparava developed Hahacronym, a "computational humor system" that basically creates acronyms according to given themes, such as "Main concept: writing; Attribute: creative", which, when fed with CAUSTIC gives us "Creative Activity for Unconvincingly Sporadically Talkative Individualistic Commercials."
  • That Other Wiki says the early versions of the MRE rations of the US military were giving a number of nicknames based off the acronym MRE to say how they taste like crap.
    • Examples: Materials Resembling Edibles, Mr. E (mystery), Meals Rejected by Ethiopians, and Meals Refusing to Exit (referring to the constipation that ensues after consuming it), to name a few.
  • Many would-be heavily spammed webpages insist you type in a CAPTCHA, or Completely Automated Public Turing Test To Tell Computers And Humans Apart. Give or take a "T" or three.
  • College Of Notre Dame Of Maryland is a Christian college with a very good lacrosse team.
    • As Baltimore residents like to point out, only Catholics could come up with a school with that acronym and not realize it.
  • Fabrica Italiana Automobili Torino. The cars' reputations for falling apart lead to the Backronym Fix It Again, Tony.
  • How have we gotten this far without mentioning the ridiculous acronyms for women's divisions in the United States military during World War II? Only the Marine Corps didn't have a silly name for its women's branch.
    • Army: Women's Army Auxiliary Corps gives us WAAC and later WAC.
    • Navy: Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service gives us WAVES.
    • Army Air Force: Women Airforce Service Pilots gives us WASP.
    • Coast Guard: Semper Paratus Always Ready gives us SPAR.
    • The Royal Navy's women's branch was called the Womens Royal Naval Service, pronounced "wrens".
  • Ever wonder why some Christians have a fish on their car? In Greek, the phrase "Jesus Christ, God's Son, Saviour", gives the acrostic ICHTHYS (ΙΧΘΥΣ), which means "Fish."
  • Dollar General currently requires their empoyees to wear a pin with the store logo with C A R E S written in red vertially. Each letter also expands into Customers Always Recive Exclent Service.
  • Mobile Army Surgical Hospital. (Perhaps you've heard of it already.)
  • Laser Inertial Fusion Engine, perhaps quite appropriate if it bears fruit.
  • The first deployed solar sail: Interplanetary Kite-craft Accelerated by Radiation Of the Sun. Ikaros is the Greek spelling of Icarus (which is Latin).
  • There's a further education facility in Tralee, called the Institute of Technology. Strangely, they always refer to it as the Institute of Technology, Tralee.
  • The Chess player Mike Surtees has developed his own, somewhat non-standard, ideas as to what constitutes a good way to play the first few moves of the game. His name for these ideas as a whole? Revolutionary Opening Theory.
  • Together Everybody Achieves More.
    • In german, you get Toll, ein anderer macht's. (Great, someone else will do it)
  • My grandma once told me that in Italy under Austrian domination (19th century), people would go to the theatre and watch Verdi's operas, and cheer 'Viva VERDI', which doubled nicely into "'Vittorio Emanuele Re D''Italia" (Victor Emmanuel, King of Italy).
    • A related one is the Spanish "Viva El Rey De España" (Long Live the King of Spain) during the Republic.
  • Older computer names were practically made of this trope, especially in the 50's.
    • You have MANIAC Mathematical Analyzer, Numerical Integrator, and Computer (used to make calculations for the hydrogen bomb, actually playing with the trope since it's creator stated he was tired of silly acronyms)
    • SAGE: Semi Automated Ground Enviroment, responsible for defending the United States from Soviet bomber attacks
    • SABRE sounds cool until you find out what it is. Semi-Automated Business Research Environment. Its a ticket reservation system
    • ORACLE Oak Ridge Automatic Computer and Logical Engine (A cousin of MANIAC, used for many of the same things)
    • BESK: Binär Elektronisk Sekvens Kalkylator aka Binary Electric Sequence Calculator. Swedish for bitter and a a type of alchohol locally produced in the Lund region where the computer was operated. Picked after they were denied CONIAC (say it cognac).
    • ENIAC short for Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer,
  • Military brats sometimes claim that the title stands for either "Born, Raised And Transferred" or "Brave, Resilient, Adaptable, and Trustworthy."
  • In the US Air Force, you have the B-52 Stratofortress, AKA the Big Ugly Fat Fucker.
    • (Or Big Ugly Fat Friend if you are at an air show or near someone's kids.)
  • Also from the US Air Force, the Civil Engineer squadrons come in two flavors: Prime Base Engineer Emergency Force and Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operations Repair Engineer Squadron.
  • The BAE Systems Tornado Advanced Radar Display Information System. (The Panavia Tornado is a jet fighter)
  • A new bit of technology in the Air Force for reducing the amount of weight soldiers carry is in development. It involves carrying equipment in pouches about the belt, and is called the Battlefield Air Targeting Man-Aided kNowledge (Yes, BATMAN), complete with grappling hook (though it's used for drawing power from low-hanging power lines). A lot of it is used for communications equipment, it seems.
  • Princeton University has an extremely conservative alumni organization called The Concerned Alumni of Princeton whose sole purpose seems to be to complain vigorously about any and all changes the University has undergone since approximately 1910 (with co-education, minority enrollment and -- in the 1980s, at least -- the presence of salad bars in the dining halls being among their big bugaboos). In the 1970s, the campus humor magazine started referring to them as the Concerned Reactionary Alumni of Princeton.
  • The Scripps institute makes regular use of a Floating Instrument Platform in oceanographic research. The FLIP is a non-powered ship which the Navy tugs out to sea, where it flips 90 degrees, leaving one end sticking up above the surface and achieving perfect stability in the roughest weather.
  • Generally, SWAT is the acronym of special weapons and tactics. But after an incident, some people use this to describe the police of a certain country.
    • Stupid Work & Action Team.
    • Sorry, we aren't trained.
    • Sorry, we are terrorists.
    • Stupid, weaponless and tactless.
    • Shit, Waste and Trash.
    • Sorry, We Are Turd.
    • Sugod! Wait! Atras! Tago! (Attack! Wait! Retreat! Hide!)
    • Shit! Wala Akong Tear gas! (Shit! No tear gas!)
  • Brian Cowen, Taoiseach (Prime Minister) of Ireland's nickname "Biffo" is said to stand for Big Ignorant Fucker From Offally
  • Bend Over, Here It Comes Again, an expression used in the US Military to obvserve that an unpleasant recurring situation they can't avoid is about to happen.[4]
  • In developed by DARPA: Biochronicity and Temporal Mechanisms Arising in Nature and Robustness of Biologically-Inspired Networks.
  • The Ford Edsel's name was backronymed to mean Every Day Something Else Leaks
  • Punjab, Afghania, Kashmir, Indus, Balochistan
  • The Reducing Americans' Vulnerability to Ecstasy Act.
  • Skeptics sometimes refer to alternative medicine as So-Called Alternative Medicine.
  • The Israeli mabar classes, originally Hebrew acronym for maslul bagrut ragil (regular matriculation path), are practically classes for semi-‘special’ students. Hence it is given many parodic backronyms, such as ‘merukazim be‘ezrat ritalin’ (concentrated using ritalin).
  • Also in Israel, there is an organisation based in Tel-Aviv named ‘Mo‘adon Kniya Khakhama’ (wise purchase club), meant for shopping in stock or something like that, using the acronym mekakh (haggling). Heh.
  • The national energy company of Denmark: Danish Oil and Natural Gas. Hehehee ...
  • There's a Nigerian terrorist organization rather wittily (and ironically) named the "Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta." Only, they're less about MENDing things and more about blowing stuff to pieces.
  • The United States has the Tea Party, a political movement protesting government spending (named after a similar protest related to the nation's founding). In at least one place, someone has asked "Haven't we been Taxed Enough Already?"
  • TEOTWAWKI.
  • The use of "wasp" as a slur is based on an acronym, White Anglo-Saxon Protestant.
  • An in-development combat medic/rescue automaton. As an article for Cracked.com put it:

 "EATR Robot" stands for Energetically Autonomous Tactical Robot ... Robot. It also stands for a machine that literally eats people. So those initials are a really big coincidence, when you think about it.

  • What about the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing?
  • WIKI is often thought to be short for What I Know Is, when it's really is the word for "quick" in the native language of Hawaii.
  • During its development, the C# Programming Language was known as COOL (for C-like Object-Oriented Language). It was partially changed for trademark reasons.
  • Averted with SOS, which is popularly rumored to mean "Save Our Ship" or similar, but actually never stood for anything: it's actually just the quickest and easiest-to-remember 3-letter call sign to be renderable in Morse code. "Save Our Ship" is, however, a backronym devised in the same spirit as others on this page.
  • There are those who believe that the words 'National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration' were chosen because they spell NOAA (i.e. 'Noah').
    • And NOAA has done it's own number on acronyms. The first weather satellite was named TIROS: Television InfraRed Observation Satellite. When they had simultaneosly orbited several of them, they made the TOS: TIROS Operational System, which was subsequently improved to become ITOS: Improved TOS.
    • With all the acronyms used (including, but not limited to Storm Prediction Center, National Weather Service, National Hurricane Center, forecast model names of Global Forecast System, Weather Research Forecast, Advanced Research WRF), NOAA could also stand for the National Organization for the Advancement of Acronyms.
  • In the UK there used to be a pro-smoking lobby group called Action Research in Substances of Enjoyment. They claimed thead acrostic ARISE, but it wasn't long before it was pointed out that, by the rules of acrostics, theirs was actually the far more appropriate ARSE.
  • In South Africa during The Apartheid Era, the government's intelligence agency was called the Bureau Of State Security, or BOSS.
    • Also, there's a political party in South Africa at present called the Congress of the People, or COPE. In addition, there was once a political party in South Africa called the Sports Organisation for Collective Contributions and Equal Rights, or SOCCER: SOCCER was a very minor party though.
  • The old text-message slang WOMBAT, or Waste Of Money, Brains And Time.
  • Pres. Barack Obama's 2011 State of the Union address featurd the catchphrase "Win the Future". Sarah Palin jumped on the fact that Obama's speech was full of WTF moments.
    • Which is silly, because we all know what WTF means: World Taekwondo Federation
  • NASA once launched a probe to study the planet Mercury called the MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry and Ranging orbiter, or MESSENGER. Appropriate for the planet named for the messenger of the gods.
  • In many cases, this is also Fun with Foreign Languages. For example, Spanish-speakers who used Oracle's Advanced Networking Option would have lot of jokes to make. The manual is practical enough.
  • The United States Navy SEa, Air and Land Teams.
  • Eliezer Ben-Yehuda (אליעזר בן־יהודה, "Eliezer son-of Yehuda") was the codifier of Modern Israeli Hebrew. His son, Itamar Ben-Avi (איתמר בן אב"י, "Itamar son-of Alef-Bet-Yod") was the first native-born speaker of this variety of Hebrew. His surname Avi was a Hebrew acronym of Eliezer Ben-Yehuda's Hebrew initials א-ב-י. Simultaneously, the word "avi" (also spelled אבי) is Hebrew for "my-father", making Itamar "son-of my-father".
  • A long standing joke in the naval services is that Marines stands for My Ass Rides In Navy Equipment Sir.
  • PETA, depending on who you ask, means either People for Ethical Treatment of Animals or People Eating Tasty Animals.
    • Another fact about the acronym PETA is that "peta-" prefix means a very large number, the fifteens power of ten, i.e. Quadrillion. A very good name for an organization which wants to intervene with everything.
  • While you may be told that Cop stands for Constable on Patrole, this is false. Another word said to originate from an acronym is F.U.C.K., which actually has a multitude of different acronyms. (The best known are For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge and Fornication Under Consent of the King. The latter usually comes with an urban legend about how couples would have to obtain the ruler's permission in order to marry or conceive a child.)
  • SPAM doesn't actually stand for anything. The official response when asked what it stands for is Shoulder of Pork and Ham, but a more accurate answer would be Something Posing As Meat.
    • Actually it's officially a portmonteau of "Spiced Ham".
  • DELTA Airlines is often Backronymed as "Don't Expect Luggage To Arrive.
    • There are others that call it "Don't Expect Luxury Travel, Asshole", in case the previous one didn't paint a good enough picture of the general opinion of the airline.
  • The Vancouver Art Gallery. As a matter of fact, during the Olympics, admission to the VAG was free.
  • The Committee of Union and Progress. There is one reason and one reason alone that it's a shame that they never expanded outside of Turkey and became the International Committee of Union and Progress, and the reason is this: I see you pee.
  • More awesome than silly, but Poland's special forces unit is called the "Grupa Reagowania Operacyjno-Manewrowego" or "Operational Mobile Reaction Group" in English. GROM itself? Polish for "Thunderbolt". Badass.
  • Polish communists created in The Eighties an organisation called Patriotic Movement for National Rebirth, or in Polish, Patriotyczny Ruch Odrodzenia Narodowego
  • Anti-lock Brake System; a backronym in English, preserving the original TLA. The core technology was designed in Germany by Bosch, who called it Antiblockiersystem.
    • And, of course, there is Roy G. Biv (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet).
    • And, of course, there is "Bad Boys Rape Our Young Girls, But Violet Gives Willingly" for the resistor color code: Black, brown, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet (duh!), gray, white.
  • There's a Minnesota organisation for treating depression. Depression Improvent Across Minnesota, Offering a New Direction. Put it together, and you get DIAMOND.
  • The rather unfortunately named Friends University of Central Kansas is actually just (and always has been) the less unfotrtunately named Friends University (or F.U.). Still joke-worthy, though.
  • Petco Park (home of the San Diego Padres) contains a personalized brick purchased by PETA that reads "Break Open Your Cold Ones! Toast The Padres! Enjoy This Champion Organization!".
  • The AMEOBA (Advanced Multiple Organized Experimental Basin), a device that can "print" letters on the surface of water.
  • Golf is widely believed to be an acronym of Gentlemen Only, Ladies Forbidden, but this is not actually the case.
  • The EPIC (Evidence-based Practices Informing Computing) project
  • American Indians in the sixties started Concerned Indian Americans, which became the American Indian Movement when they realized what they'd just spelled.
  • Though not all of the animals in these taxa have baculums, these are the orders with baculums: Primates, Rodents, Insectivores, Carnivores, and Chiroptera. A baculum is a penis bone.
  • The white supremacist group White Aryan Resistance. A subversion, given the exogamy of pre-Christian Nordic peoples and their practices of Blood Brothers and adoption (and the fact that before being introduced to Abrahamic faiths, nobody hated the Jews in particular more than anybody else), Allan Berg's killers belonged to Will Of The Aryan Nation.
  • As noted in Textbook Humor, Alan Brinkley's American History: A Survey mentioned the Southern Tenant Farmers' Union in a section on The Great Depression. While the initialism's other significance was probably unknown when the organization was founded, Brinkley has persisted in using it even after receiving letters from teachers and students, so he's presumably in on the joke.
  • Wisconsin Tourism Federation relised what the acronym was and promptly changed it to Tourism Federation of Wisconsin.
  • The photic sneeze reflex, a strange condition that causes someone to sneeze when exposed to bright light, is also called the Autosomal dominant Compelling Helio-Ophthalmic Outburst Syndrome.
  • Your gaming console's processor is likely based on the Performance Optimization With Enhanced RISC – Performance Computing architecture.
  • CAMiLEON: Creative Archiving at Michigan and Leeds: Emulating the Old and the New. And yes, they were deliberately going for "chameleon".
  • Microsoft's certifications. After you pass the exam, you're listed as a M'icrosoft Certified Professional. Worth a chuckle if you recall Trons Master Control Program.
  • Actor Robin Atkin Downes' initials are RAD. Which he certainly is.
  • Some institutes go by the unfortunate acronym UTI, which also stands for Urinary Tract Infection. There's also a lot of middle schools with the acronym PMS.
  • In California there is the Santa Clarita United Methodist Church. Their website? SCUMC.com
    • A similar gaffe was avoided by a United Methodist Church in Berkeley, which calls itself the Berkeley Methodist United Church to avoid having BUM in their acronym.
  • In 1992, Dr Phil Hammond, from The BBC medical satire show Struck Off And Die, stood for election against the then Health Minister as the Struck Off and Die Junior Doctors Alliance -- "S.O.D.J.A.", presumably pronounced "sod ya!".
  • RADICL (Research Assessment, Device Improvement Chemical Laser), a 20kW Chemical Oxygen Iodine Laser (COIL) tested by the United States Air Force around 1998.
  • Yahoo Yet Another Highly Organized Oracle
  • While SBS is officially an acronym of Special Broadcasting Service, in the mid-2000s they devised a backronym that's been at the centre of their promotional material ever since: Six Billion Stories (and counting...). Alternatively, Sex and Bloody Soccer.
  • Urban Legend claims a Texas school was nearly named the Sam Houston Institute of Technology (or Teaching).
  • In British medical terminology (at least in the GUM field) there's Unprotected Sexual Intercourse
  • When the weekly Premium Bond prize draw was introduced in Britain in the 1950s the winning numbers were selected by the quaintly-named ERNIE (Electronic Randon Number Indicator Equipment). The machine has been replaced several times but the name has stuck.
  • Chemists who perform Nuclear Magnetic Resonance experiments love this trope. Some of the NMR experiements with more interesting ones include:
    • Incredible Natural Abundance Double Quantum Transfer Experiment (INADEQUATE)
    • Cross-relaxation Appropriate for Minimolecules Emulated by Locked Spins (CAMELSPIN)
    • Cyclic Ordered Phase Sequence (CYCLOPS).
    • Insensitive Nculei Enhanced by Polarization (INEPT)
    • Double Quantum Transitions for Finding Unresolved Lines (DOUBTFUL)
      • There's a host of others, some of which can be found here.
  • The Ocean Research College Academy in Washington State
  • Probably the most well known podcast with a large and intelligent community out there is unfortunately called This Week in Tech. They, in fact, named the entire studio they run as the "T Wi T" Studio.
  • Lest we forget the controversial Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011 (PROTECT IP Act), more popularly known as PIPA.
    • Which is itself an example, as pipa (πιπα) is slang for a blow job in Greek.
  • The Oregon Health & Science University has the Drug Effectiveness Review Project.
  • There is an anti-abuse organisation alled Stop Abusive and Violent Environment.
  • The Australian military includes a combination spoon/can opener/bottle opener with its field rations called the Field Ration Eating Device. The troops often call it the Fucking Ridiculous Eating Device.
  • Individuals interested in 'Locksport' (studying and practicing how to defeat locking mechanisms for recreational purposes, rather than for unlawful ones) may be a member of The Open Organization Of Lockpickers, or TOOOL.
  • At the National Air & Space Museum, there's an unmanned, remotely piloted aircraft on display that was called HiMAT short for Highly Maneuverable Aircraft Technology.

Notes

  1. Figure it out yourself!
  2. Norwegian Institute of Technology
  3. Norwegian Technological and Scientific University
  4. Where's the fun in that acronym, you say? It sounds funny to say it as a word. BOHICA!

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