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Word of the Day
Friday, May 26, 2017

Definitions for backronym

  1. an existing word turned into an acronym by creating an apt phrase whose initial letters match the word, as to help remember it or offer a theory of its origin. For example, rap has been said to be a backronym of “rhythm and poetry.”
  2. the phrase itself. For example, “port out, starboard home” is a misleading backronym for posh.

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Citations for backronym
Butterfield, who liked the cheekiness and loved the sound of the word, coined a "backronym" to justify it: searchable log of all communication and knowledge. He got his way. Jeff Bercovici, "Slack Is Our Company of the Year. Here's Why Everybody's Talking About It," Inc., December 2015
Hence the name, CARMELO, which my colleague Neil Paine (our senior sports writer) and I later developed into a silly backronym (Career-Arc Regression Model Estimator with Local Optimization). Nate Silver, "We're Predicting The Career Of Every NBA Player. Here's How." FiveThirtyEight, October 9, 2015
Origin of backronym
One backronym familiar to every parent of a newborn is that of the Apgar score. The expansion for Apgar is “Appearance, Pulse, Grimace, Activity, Respiration.” Actually the Apgar score is named after Virginia Apgar (1909-74), a US anesthesiologist who developed the test in 1952 to evaluate the effects of obstetric anesthesia on neonates. Backronym entered English in the late 20th century.