Featured Web site of the week: http://acronyms.thefreedictionary.com/push
Letters—the building blocks of literature. Letters make words. Words make sentences. Sentences make…well, you get the idea. But I recently realized that I am a member of several groups that go by their initials, or a group of letters that don’t form a word.
For instance, I am a member of CWC, or the California Writers Club. And to be more specific, I am in CWC-BB, which is the Berkeley Branch of the club. (Although I argue that since Berkeley is where the whole club started and all the other branches spun off from it, Berkeley should rightfully be the trunk, not a branch.) Now in the right context, people know what I’m talking about when I say CWC. But once I step out of the community of California writers, CWC could refer to any number of things. Well, not just any number. There are 51 recognized usages of CWC, according to the Free Dictionary’s Web site. Cricket World Cup, Central Wyoming College, and Cyclotron Wave Converter are just a few.
Same is true of my other groups. Although to me BBS is the Berkeley Broadway Singers (a 70+ member choral group that sings Broadway show tunes and jazz standards), to those who use initials for chatting online, BBS stands for Be Back Soon. To birders, it brings to mind the Breeding Bird Survey. In India, you’d probably be more likely to think of the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics. If you lived in England, BBS could very well refer to the British Boomerang Society. (I’m not making these up!)
I volunteer at our local middle school as a writer coach, so for the eighth graders I work with regularly, WCC stands for Writer Coach Connection. But in the world of medicine, WCC could either be a White Cell Count or Well-Child Check. Quite versatile, WCC could also mean either the Women’s Correctional Center or the Women’s Chamber of Commerce. And oddly enough, it too refers to the World Cricket Cup (See CWC above.)
The only group I belong to with unique initials is SCBWI, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Because the name is rather long and cumbersome, members often try to acronym it, pronouncing the letters “skwibby.” (Yes, acronym can be used as a verb—I looked it up.) But these organizations aren’t true acronyms because an acronym must be pronounced as a word, e.g., NAFTA, OPEC, or SCUBA (Self–Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus).
We all know that FBI stands for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, but did you know it also stands for Full-Blooded Indian? Famous But Incompetent? Fairytale Believers Incorporated? Visit this absolute treasure trove of useless but interesting information—it’s guaranteed to waste precious time. So what are you waiting for? A PUSH (People Unproductively Sucking Hours)? Okay, so I made the last one up…