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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soccer

soccer

  Queen’s College Cambridge football team (1900-01)     Soccer football, as it is called in America, is the English Association Football, differing considerably from the other forms of English football (Rugby and Gaelic) and very markedly from the American Intercollegiate game. Handbook of Athletic Games for Players, Instructors, and Spectators, comprising fifteen major ball […]

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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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