3M:  Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing
4-H:  Head, Heart, Hands, and Health
A&P:  The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company
AA:  Alcoholics Anonymous
AAA:  American Automobile Association
AARP:  American Association of Retired Persons
ABC:  American Broadcasting Company
AFL-CIO: American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations
AKA:  Also Known As
AM/FM: Amplitude Modulation/Frequency Modulation
ASAP:  As Soon As Possible
ASCII:  American Standard Code for Information Exchange
AT&T: American Telephone and Telegraph
ATF:  Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms
ATM:  Automated Teller Machine
AWACS: Airborne (or Advanced) Warning And Control Systems
AWOL: Absent Without Leave
BASF:  Baden Aniline and Soda Factory
BASIC: Beginner's All-Purpose Symbolic Instruction Code
BB:  Ball-Bearing
BBC:  British Broadcasting Corporation
BFD:  Big F--king Deal
BLT:  Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato
BMW:  Bavarian Motor Works
BPOE:  Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks
BVD:  Bradley, Voorhies, and Day
BYOB: Bring Your Own Beer
CARE:  Cooperative for American Relief Everywhere
CAT:  Computerized Axial Tomography
CBS:  Columbia Broadcasting System
CIA:  Central Intelligence Agency
COBOL: COmmon Business-Oriented Language
CONELRAD: CONtrol of Electronic-magnetic RADiations
CONUS: Continental United States
CPR:  CardioPulmonary Resuscitation
CVS:  Consumer Value Service
DDT:  DioxyDibromoTricholorethane
DEW:  Distant Early Warning
DNA:  DioxyriboNucleic Acid
DOA:  Dead On Arrival
DVD:  Digital Versatile Disc
EMU:  Extravehicular Mobility Unit (Space Suit)
EPCOT: Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow
ESPN:  Entertainment and Sports Programming Network
ESSO:  S.O. (Standard Oil, the Rockefeller-owned oil company now known as Exxon)
ETA:  Estimated Time of Arrival
Fannie Mae: from FNMA, Federal National Mortgage Association
FBI:  Federal Bureau of Investigation
FIAT:  Fabrica Italiana Automobile Torino
FICA:  Federal Insurance Contributions Act
Flak:  FLiegerAbwehrKanonen (Lit. aircraft defense gun)
FORTRAN: FORmula TRANslation
FUBAR: "Fouled" Up Beyond All Recognition
FYI:  For Your Information
GAF:  General Aniline and Film
GATT:  General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade
Gestapo: GEheime STAatsPOlizei (Lit. secret state police)
G.I.:  Government Issue
GIGO:  Garbage In, Garbage Out
GORP:  Good Old Raisin Peanut (A camping food)
GPS:  Global Positioning System
HBO:  Home Box Office
HDL/LDL: High-Density Lipoprotein/Low-Density Lipoprotein
HDPE:  High Density Polyethylene
HIV:  Human Immunodefficiency Virus
IHOP:  International House of Pancakes
INRI:  Iesus Nazarenenus Rex Iudaeorum (Lit. Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews)
IRA:  Individual Retirement Account
IRA:  Irish Republican Army
ISBN:  International Standard Book Number
ISDN:  Integrated Services Digital Network
ISO:  International Standards Organization, film-speed designation, formerly ASA
Jeep:  General Purpose Vehicle
JPL:  Jet Propulsion Laboratory
JVC:  Japan Victor Company
KGB:  Komitet Gosudarstvennoy Bezopasnosti (Lit. Committee of State Security)
KIA:  Killed In Action
KJV:  King James Version
KLM:  Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij (Lit. Royal Dutch Airline)
LASER: Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation
LCD:  Liquid Crystal Display
LDPE:  Low Density Polyethylene
LED:  Light-Emitting Diode
M&M:  Mars & Murray
MASER: Microwave Amplification by the Stimulated Emission of Radiation
MASH: Mobile Army Surgical Hospital
MCI:  Microwave Communications of America
MG:  Morris Garages
MIA:  Missing in Action
MIDI:  Musical Instrument Digital Interface
MiG:  MIkoyan and Gurevich, Soviet military aircraft designers
MIRV:  Multiple Independently-targeted Re-entry Vehicle
MIT:  Massachusetts Institute of Technology

MO:  Modus Operandi
Modem: Modulation-demodulation
MRI:  Magnetic Resonance Imaging
NAACP: National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
NASA:  National Aeronautics and Space Administration
NATO: North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Nazi:  NAtional soZIalist
NBA:  National Basketball Association
NBC:  National Broadcasting Company
NCC:  Either Naval Classification Code or Naval Construction Contract (From Star Trek, NCC-1701)
Necco:  New England Confectionery COmpany
NFL:  National Football League
NHL:  National Hockey League
NIMBY: Not In My BackYard
Nitinol: NIckel, TItanium, and Naval Ordinance Laboratory
NORAD: North American Air Defense Command
NOW:  National Organization of Women
NPR:  National Public Radio
NSA:  National Security Administration
OCR:  Optical Character Recognition
O.K. (Okay): "Old Kinderhook," a reference to President Martin van Buren, who was born in Kinderhook, NY
OPEC:  Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries
OSHA: Occupational Safety and Health Administration
Pakistan: Punjab, Afghan border states, Kashmir, Sind, and BaluchisTAN
PAN:  Partido de Acción Nacional (Mexico's main opposition political party)
Pap:  George Papanicolaou, inventor of the test
Parsec:  Parallax second
PBS:  Public Broadcasting System
PDQ:  Pretty Damned Quick
pH:  Pourvoir Hydrogene (Lit. power of hydrogen)
Posh  Port Out, Starboard Home (from wealthy English travelers' request for shadier, and therefore cooler and more comfortable, accommodations when traveling to India)
POTS:  Plain Old Telephone Service (Basic service used by local exchange telephone companies.)
POTUS: President of the United States
POW:  Prisoner of War
PPP:  Point to Point Protocol
PRI:  Partido Revolucionario Institucional (Mexico's ruling political party)
PSI:  Pounds per square inch
PT:  Patrol Torpedo
PVC:  PolyVinyl Chloride
PX:  Post eXchange
Q.E.D.: Quod erat demonstrandum (Lit. Which was to be demonstrated)
QANTAS: Queensland And Northern Territory Aerial Service
Radar:  RAdio Detection And Ranging
RAM:  Random Access Memory
RCA:  Radio Corporation of America
RDA:  Recommended Daily Allowance
RFD:  Rural-Free Delivery
Rh [Factor]: Rhesus monkey factor
RKO:  Radio-Keith-Orpheum
RNA:  Ribonucleic Acid
ROM:  Read-Only Memory
ROTC:  Reserve Officers Training Corps
RSVP:  Respondez S'il Vous Plait (Lit. Please respond)
Saab:  Svenska Aeroplan Ab. (Lit. Swedish Airplanes, Inc.)
SAM:  Surface-to-Air Missile
SAR:  Search and Rescue
SASE:  Self-Addressed, Stamped Envelope
SCSI:  Small Computer Serial Interface
SCTV:  Second City TeleVision
SCUBA: Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus
SEAL:  SEa, Air, and Land
SETI:  Search for ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence
SHAZAM: Derived from the names, Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles, and Mercury
SNAFU: Situation Normal-All "Fouled" Up
SOP:  Standard Operating Procedure
Soweto: SOuthWEst TOwnship
SPF:  Sun Protection Factor
SRO:  Standing Room Only
STP:  Scientifically Treated Petroleum (also, Standard Temperature and Pressure)
SWAK: Sealed With A Kiss
SWAT: Special Weapons And Tactics
TANSTAAFL: There ain't no such thing as a free lunch.
TARFU: Things Are Really "Fouled" Up
TBA:  To Be Announced
TGIF:  Thank God It's Friday
TIFF:  Tag Image File Format
TNT:  TriNitroToluene
TNTC:  Too Numerous To Count
TTFN:  Ta-ta for now
TTY:  Teletypewriter
UHF:  Ultra-High Frequency
UNESCO: United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization
UNICEF: United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund
URL:  Uniform Resource Locator
VCR:  Video Cassette Recorder
VHS:  Video Home System
VISTA: Volunteers In Service to America, a Great Society government agency
VSOP:  Very Superior Old Pale, a brandy rating
WAC:  Women's Army Corps
WAVES: Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service
WC:  Water Closet
WD-40: Water Displacement, Formula 40
WNL:  Within Normal Limits
WYSIWYG: What You See Is What You Get

Alberto Ríos
Department of English
Box 870302
Arizona State University
Tempe AZ 85287-0302
(480) 965-3800
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Date last modified:
Monday, May 27, 2002