Archive for the ‘Acronyms’ Category

Kraken! And GEICO!

August 23, 2015

This recent tv ad for GEICO entertained me enormously:

A description, from the iSpot.tv site:

At a golf tournament, a golfer prepares to make a shot over the water. Just before he goes to swing, a kraken emerges from the water and grabs the golfer and his caddy, swinging them around with its tentacles. While all this is happening, the golf commentators continue quietly narrating the event. When you’re a golf commentator, you whisper — It’s what you do. If you want to save 15 percent or more on car insurance, you switch to GEICO.

(#1)

Now, some notes: on the Kraken, and on GEICO and the”It’s What You Do” ads.

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Who Made That?

January 20, 2014

In the NYT Magazine (on Sunday the 19th), a “Who Made That?” piece by Daniel Engber on the captcha. Some weeks ago, another one of these pieces on laugh tracks on television.

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Acronym of the week

May 1, 2013

From the NYT Science Times yesterday, in ” ‘Cured of AIDS’? Not Yet” by Donald G. McNeil Jr.:

“We should seek out, test and get people into treatment as soon as we possibly can,” Dr. [Anthony] Fauci said. “That way, you can get people into the position the Visconti cohort is in.”

(“Visconti cohort,” for Viro-Immunologic Sustained Control After Treatment Interruption, is a shorthand way of referring to the patients studied by the Pasteur Institute, in France.)

Someone labored hard to concoct that acronym.

A bonus from the same article, this “split infinitive” that caught my eye:

In this country, it is unusual for an infected pregnant woman to not see a doctor even once before delivery.

I probably would have moved the not up in the structure, to give not to see, but I’m not sure why; I certainly have no aversion to so-called split infinitives. Perhaps the writer systematically prefers to keep VP adverbs (like not) with the VP they modify (so that the infinitive marker to then combines with a full, modified BSE-form VP); there are certainly writers who do.

 

Acronymic pun

April 22, 2013

John Gintell, just back from the NEFFA festivities, has posted this Pearls Before Swine cartoon from January 27th on Google+:

 

Big GROAN (great roar of acronymic nausea).

 

The dobro

January 3, 2013

NYT obit (by Bill Friskics-Warren) for Mike Auldridge on the 1st:

Mike Auldridge Dies at 73; Lent Dobro Fresh Elegance

Mike Auldridge, a guitarist who became one of the most distinctive dobro players in the history of country and bluegrass music while widening its popularity among urban audiences, died on Saturday at his home in Silver Spring, Md.

Ah, the dobro. I assumed that it was originally a folk instrument, from some Slavic land, with a name in the local language. Well, not quite, as the obit went on to explain:

A resophonic (or resonating) acoustic guitar, the dobro produces sound by means of one or more spun metal cones instead of a wooden sound board. (The instrument’s name is a contraction of Dopera and brothers. Dopera was the surname of the Slovak-American brothers who patented an early version of the instrument in 1928.)

The name is what Ben Zimmer has labeled an acroblend, a combination of acronym and portmanteau (Ben uses blend to cover intentional combinations as well as inadvertent ones), for which I’d prefer the label acromanteau, or — naming the type from a prominent example — Nabisco (originally from National Biscuit Company)

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sprouts

December 5, 2012

From Geoff Nathan on ADS-L, the Pearls Before Swine cartoon from yesterday:

Geoff offered Rat’s derivation of sprouts as a prime example of of etymythology, and that it certainly is. Discussion on the strip’s site, meanwhile, took up the question of sprouts ‘sprouted seeds used as an ingredient or accompaniment in food preparation’ vs. sprouts ‘Brussels sprouts’; as far as I know, no one puts Brussels sprouts in sandwiches, and Goat’s sandwich surely has alfalfa sprouts or something similar in it. (more…)

For short

October 18, 2012

From an appointment on October 2nd with an orthopedist, the clipping nec fac /nɛk fæk/ for necrotizing fasciitis (from the doctor). This was a new abbreviation of the disease name for me; I was accustomed to the initialism NF /ɛn ɛf/ (from other doctors). And I wondered about the /fæk/ piece of the clipping, where I would have expected /fæʃ/ or /fæs/, given the full pronunciation of fasciitis, with one or the other of these  as the first syllable.

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Potentially embarrassing acronyms

July 12, 2012

In the Economist of June 30th, in a story “Shaking it all up”) on the long-standing armed insurgency in Mindinao (the southernmost region of the Philippines):

This, however, failed to satisfy the aspirations of the main separatist group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF — the insurgency is so old that its acronym predates embarrassment).

The insurgency goes back to the early 1960s (as the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), formally established as MILF in 1984), while the initialism (for “Mother/Mom/Mum I‘d Like to Fuck”) goes back to the early 1990s.

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Nerf Vortex Nitron Blaster

February 24, 2012

Today’s Zippy (like a number of other Zippy strips) revels in the sheer sound of an expression, in this case a brand name:

That’s Nerf Vortex Nitron Blaster, a line of trochaic tetrameter (with short first foot) — so satisfying to say over and over again, like a mantra.

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NICE ‘n’ RICE

September 8, 2010

This is day 8 of my Adventures in Cellulitis, an extended occasion that has consumed most of my time and, one way or another, pretty much kept me from posting on this blog, Language Log, and AZBlogX. Specifically, “cellulitis of the hand” (the left hand, in this case), as the medical forms put it.

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