Tag Archives: acronyms

‘Wasp’

    MEANING   (often used with mild derision): a person who belongs to, or is thought of, as being part of a white, upper middle-class, northern European, Protestant group that dominates economic, political and cultural activity in the USA       ORIGIN   This acronym from white Anglo-Saxon Protestant is first recorded in […]

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R.S.V.P.

R.S.V.P.

    R.S.V.P. is an initialism from French répondez s’il vous plaît (literally respond if you please), meaning please reply, used at the end of invitations to request a response. It first appeared in English in the early 19th century. For example, in Domestic Duties; or, Instructions to young married ladies, on the management of […]

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‘chav’

‘chav’

  a waxwork of Tony Blair dressed as a chav, in Madame Tussauds       MEANING   (British; informal and derogatory): a young lower-class person typified by brash and loutish behaviour     ORIGIN   This noun is either from Romani čhavo, meaning an unmarried Romani male, a male Romani child, or from English […]

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cabal

cabal

  Charles II (circa 1653) by Philippe de Champaigne       MEANINGS a secret or exclusive set of people a small group of intriguers, especially one formed for political purposes a secret plot, especially a political one     ORIGIN   The English word Kabbala, also spelt Kabbala, Cabbala, Cabala, or Qabalah, which dates […]

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‘VIP’

‘VIP’

  The VIP Express is the only C-54C made. In the past year it set six records in flying over 44 nations—whose flags are painted on its nose. magazine Flying – September 1945       The initialism* VIP stands for very important person, or, in the earliest recorded instances, personage or people. (* An […]

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‘IOU’

‘IOU’

  Wilkins Micawber as illustrated in a 1912 edition of David Copperfield     An IOU is a signed document acknowledging a debt. IOU is now understood as representing the pronunciation of I owe you, but it was (perhaps) originally an acronym of I owe unto, followed by the name of the creditor.   In 1893, […]

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captcha

captcha

      A captcha or CAPTCHA is any of various authentication systems devised to enable a computer to distinguish human from computer input, typically in order to thwart spam or to prevent automated misuse of a web site. The word also denotes a manifestation of such a system, especially a string of distorted letters […]

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copper – cop

copper – cop

        The noun cop, meaning police officer, is sometimes explained, by folk etymology, as being the acronym of constable on patrol (or of chief of police). (Such a fanciful expansion of an existing acronym or word is a backronym. Also read Acronyms & backronyms and On ‘posh’)   Neither is the word cop, or copper, […]

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