Top 10 words that are acronyms and we don’t know, these little surprises that we…

So there, I see you coming, like suspicious, like I’m going to take you out OPCA, BENELUX or PAIN (which everyone knows means Silly but Nutritious Small Food). No. You will take FULL THE MIRETTES. Language is a constant surprise.


According to some sources, Pakistan, a republic founded in 1947, is named after an acronym developed in around 1930 by Choudhary Rahmat Ali, founder of the Movement for Pakistan. This acronym corresponds, in English, to the regions and internal communities of the country: Punjab, HASfghan, Kasmir, Indus, Sind and BaluchisTan. But this etymology is disputed, already because academics believe that the letters designate other regions, but especially because the name would in fact be a neologism composed of Pak (“ pure in Urdu) and Stân with a linking i (“ country in Urdu) which means ” land of the pure“. There, you know everything, everyone is happy.

2. NERF (the gun)

(And not the stuff in your body). These little shits that allow you to make a lot of jokes at the office or with friends have an acronom, or an acronym-name. NERF means ” Non-expanding recreational foam“, i.e. Non-Expandable Recreational Foam. If we were Jacques Toubon, we should therefore say MRNE. And above all, stop shooting people.


Contract killers around the world use them every day without knowing that when they point their red thread at the forehead of their future victim, they are using a ” light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation », or light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation, which they probably don’t care about, but not us, not us, because we are thirsty for knowledge. In any case, the technology is very recent, since the first laser was developed in the 1960s.


It would seem that the word nylon is actually the acronym of the first name of the five wives of the chemists in charge of the discovery of textiles, in the 1920s. These first names were indeed: Nancy, Yvonne, Louella, Olivia and Nina, which also suggests that all these people have since died, since none of these first names are ever given to anyone. The urban legend that says NYLON means ” Now you lose, old Nippon! (“Now you lose, old Japanese!”), in reference to the material used for the parachutes of American soldiers during the Second World War, is totally false. Sorry not sorry.


The technology that can detect heavy speeders on the highway is, in English, a ” radio detecting and ranging, or a detection and estimation of the distance by radio waves, if we translate hastily. The system gave the acronym radar, and the final architecture of the device was completed at the dawn of the Second World War.


The word TASER, which designates the small object aimed at paralyzing people without killing them by administering an electric shock, has a funny origin. It is an acronym for “Thomas Appleton Swift’s Electric Rifle”. In reality, it is a tribute to a children’s series featuring the character of Thomas Swift armed with his electric rifle, written by Victor Appleton in the 10s. Too mim’s.


The word sopalin comes from the “Société des Papiers-Linges” which marketed it. And not linen. Or soup in Spanish. Or the sick brain of a guy looking for a lousy name for a lousy object.


“Emergency Medical Aid Service”. Yes, we suspected that it was not a word of Hellenic origin designating the emergencies in Athens. But anyway, it’s always cool to know. Before dying of a cerebral hemorrhage.


Watch out: the ABBA group is named after the first names of its founders: HASgnetha Fältskog, BEnny Andersson, Björn Ulvaeus and HASnni-Frid Lyngstad. Everyone has their letter. We can’t say that a winner has taken everything.

10. AIDS

Acquired immune deficiency syndrome. Yes, we know that we knew a little about that. But OK. The top 10 is still better than the top 9.

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