Had an RHG (Red Hot Go)
We OTFG (Opened the Flood Gates)
We got BIT (Back in Town)
Yeah, we LOG (Lifted Our Game)
Took a good hard look at ourselves
Fan communities create their own acronyms and abbreviations, to make it easier to speak about the works they love. An AaAO is when this is taken so far that it is so downright confusing you can't tell a story about broadcasting in the CoN from a sex scandal involving Black politicians in the USA.
For example, if you have visited online gaming communities, you've likely seen it already many times. You're simply SOL against the BBEG, so you GFGI to find a FAQ for how to get to the PoPL so you can LG your MP to godly levels and render him FUBAR. And the FAQ is composed entirely of shorthand, rendering it illegible.
Not to be confused with Fun with Acronyms, because that trope is about acronyms that are humorous rather than accurate, as opposed to simply having too many acronyms to remember, or acronyms that you'd have to be an insider of the community to know.
A slew of acronyms tends to follow around luminaries whose multifarious titles and degrees would be impossible to fit on a business card if fully written out. This was the most common form of this trope before acronyms became widespread in names of government agencies and military jargon. See also Knight Fever for those acronyms that stem from British/Commonwealth honours.
When writers include an overload of acronyms, they usually do so in the hope that you'll end up R.O.T.F.L.O.L.Y.F.A.O. Occasionally they'll throw in some acronyms that refer to Deadly Euphemisms along with more benign euphemisms in the hopes that you'll do a mental Double Take and think O.M.F.G.!
Can lead to Acronym Confusion.
- Balaclavaed soldiers armed with a bottle of HP sauce crash through the window in front of a startled general at his dinner table because "an SOS from HQ said that a VIP with an OBE was tucking into a baked potato with no HP!" Everything's better with HP.
- One GEICO ad depicted an office setting where everybody spoke in acronyms, mostly Internet slang, to make a point that we don't need more acronyms, just more ways to save. This includes shortening the "Happy Birthday" song to just "H.B.T. Gordon, H.B.T.Y!"
- In the Simple Samosa episode "Jalebi's Birthday", when Jalebi talks about her various accomplishments to Vada as she is helping him to climb the escalator, she shortens her speech to several acronyms when he tells her to hurry up.
Jalebi: I am C.F.O., C.E.O., C.B.R., B.C.B., O.A.B., V.P., M.V.P., M.D.!
- Tons in InvestiGators are shown, especially from S.U.I.T. Examples include:
- Very Exciting Spy Technology (V.E.S.T.)
- Apparel Research and Manufacturing (A.R.M.S.)
- S.U.I.Ts Other Underground Passages (Code S.O.U.P)
- From Good Morning, Vietnam:
Adrian Cronauer: Excuse me, sir. Seeing as how the V.P. is such a V.I.P., shouldn't we keep the P.C. on the Q.T.? 'Cause if it leaks to the V.C. he could end up M.I.A., and then we'd all be put out in K.P.note
- In Renaissance Man, Danny DeVito's character, who is teaching a class at a military base, is first very confused when a serviceman gives him directions like this, eventually asking if he can "buy a vowel". Later in the movie, once he's gotten used to being on the base, the situation is reversed when a civilian asks him for directions and he gives the same acronym-filled one he received earlier.
- According to Sir Sidney in Carry On... Up the Khyber, his royal titles from Queen Victoria include KCB, AC/DC OBE, BBC, etc., ITV. Available for private pay.
- In the opening scenes of I Was a Male War Bride (1949) — one of the earliest American films to address this trope — French army captain Henri Rochard (Cary Grant) approaches the guard post at an Allied armed forces office building in post-war Germany. He asks the guard for directions to the "OICAMGWAC". (Being Cary Grant, he reads it rhythmically and deliberately so it sounds like "O.I.C. - A.M.G. - W.A.C.") Directed to the first floor, he finds office doors labeled "WAIRCO" (which he reads as "War Administration Industrial Relations Coordinator's Office") and "SOSDPPDD" ("Service of Supplies Displaced Persons Property Disposal Department") before finding the ladies restroom. He begins to misinterpret this as "Labor Administration Department Inter..." when a WAC (Women's Army Corps) tech corporal exits. She directs him across the hall to yet another door labeled "CDMTWR". The meanings of the first and last acronyms are not explained.
- From Loaded Weapon 1:
Luger: There's something between you and this General Morters.Colt: He was my C.O. in 'Nam. CIA listed him as M.I.A., but the V.A. ID'd him and so we put out an APB.Luger: Oh, I see.
- From Spy Hard:
Dick Steele: You carry a UB-21 Schnauzer with a Gnab silencer. That's KGB. You prefer an H&K over an A.K. Your surveillance technique is NSA. Your ID is CIA. You received your Ph.D. at NYU. Traded in your GTO for a BMV. You listen to CDs by R.E.M. and STP. And you'd like to see J.F.K. in his BVDs, getting down with O.P.P. And you probably put the toilet paper back on the roll with the paper on the inside.
- In Die Hard 2, McClane uses this technique to create confusion while he illicitly fingerprints a corpse:
Morgue Worker: Hey! You're supposed to do that at the morgue.John McClane: Not anymore. Got a new SOP for DOA's from the FAA.
- The informational film How Can I Tell If Im Really In Love has a song about the difference between love (or "L-O-V") and sex ("S-E-X") using acronyms, while the teens wear shirts explaining what all of the acronyms mean (except for "P-O-A," because they can't explicitly say "piece of ass").
Well, he was OTM,note yeah he was OTSnote
And he wondered if she was GIBnote
He said I'm HTT,note and my fantasy
Is to be ITBnote of my LTD!
- Adrian Mole generally dislikes abbreviations, preferring to spell out phrases such as National Health Service (usually written NHS) in full. However, occasionally he writes sentences in abbreviations:
- In Weapons of Mass Destruction, the Running Gag that everyone says "a swan can break a man's arm, you know" is replaced on one occasion with "A.S.C.B.A.M.A.Y.K.".
- In Wilderness Years: having hoped that his grandma never finds out that Bert Baxter gave him a bed for the night, he writes "G. knows about B&B at B.B's. She saw B.B. in C&A."
- The Warrior Cats fandom is fond of this. Acronyms include:
- the series titles (TNP, TPOT, OOTS)
- book titles (TDH, FQ, BP, NW, BotC, T4A, SotC, to name a few... This created a slight issue when Code of the Clans came along, because there was already a CotC from Cats of the Clans. There were even forum threads debating on what to call it - the most common form is C2otC.)
- some characters, places, etc (HF, DF, PoNS)
- related websites (Ww, OF)
- The team of Discworld wizards who work on Hex do this a bunch — Hex is a computer made out of an ant farm and some common household implements, including an FTB (fuzzy teddy bear), a CWL (clothes wringer from the laundry), and the like. A number of these acronyms are references to real-life ones, generally from computing (such as "FTB", a play on "FTP," an Internet protocol). At one point they admit that "initialise the GBL" just sounds more impressive than "pull the great big lever".
- The Dilbert Principle advises employees to use lots of acronyms in describing their accomplishments because "they sound impressive while conveying no information":
Boss: "What was your contribution to the project?"
You: "Mostly QA. I was also an SME for the BUs."
Boss: "Um... okay. Excellent work."
- Every Sherlock Holmes story has its own four-letter acronym. Hound of the Baskervilles, for example, is shortened to HOUN.
- Dave Barry In Cyberspace has a section explaining acronyms commonly used in Internet chat. These include the huge acronym "OJIOGBUOLSWMRTJVAIFWNTMITSIHDHGCOAC", which is naturally short for "O.J. Is Obviously Guilty, But Under Our Legal System We Must Respect The Jury's Verdict, Although It Frankly Would Not Trouble Me In The Slightest If He Drove His Golf Cart Off A Cliff".
- Modelland is positively full of acronyms, strange portmanteaux, and Letters 2 Numbers, to such an extent that if you don't find at least three on a page, you're reading the wrong book.
- Inquisitor Vail thinks Imperial Guard lingo has so many acronyms and abbreviations (FNG: Frakking New Guys, el-tee: Lieutenant, LZ: Landing Zone, TLA: Three Letter Acronym...) it should be reclassified as its own language.
- The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: "h2g2" is the fan-accepted abbreviation for The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy in all its incarnations: radio series, books, TV series, LP record, computer games and film. (two "h"'s, two "g"'s). This is a lot simpler and easier than typing The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy on each and every occurrence.
- All over Wiz Biz series. Programmers love them, everybody else frown.
"Not Lord," Wiz corrected as he dug his fingers into the scaly hide. "LRD." The dragon stretched his neck out luxuriously to expose a spot behind his right ear."LRD?""It's a TLA for Little Red Dragon," Jerry put in from where he was building a triple-decker sandwich."What is a TLA?""Three-letter acronym."Shauna looked puzzled and Moira chuckled. "Never ask them for an explanation. You will only end up worse confused."
- While not an example in itself, the fandom of Safehold loves those. Sometimes even experienced forum-goers have to ask others just what they meant by writing something like:
"So after BGV takes down TLs in N SM, the RSA and ICA can advance on MHoGatA, provided RA doesn't do something, but we've got DE to take care of that." Translation
- The names of the books are also shortened (in order: OAR, BSRA, BHD, AMF, HFaF, MTaT, LAMA and HFQ) and even the appendices at the end of the newer books use them to refer to other parts of the series.
- A Brazilian joke book had its preface open with one where every single abbreviation was PC (two will be changed for translation's sake): "With the end of the CP began the PC era? And PC? Effectively wasn't PC. FC!!!"note
- We Are Legion (We Are Bob): FAITH (the Free American Independent Theocratic Hegemony) really likes acronyms, as a minor Take That! to the current American government. SURGE, SUDDAR, HEAVEN... the list goes on. We never even learn what half of them are supposed to mean.
- Monty Python's Flying Circus: An MPFC LP had this as the basis for a sketch IIRC.
John Cleese: Gentlemen, our MP saw the PM this AM and the PM wants more LSD from the PIB by tomorrow AM or PM at the latest. I told the PM's PPS that AM was NBG so tomorrow PM it is for the PM nem. con.Translation
- The dialogue in The Sandbaggers uses so many acronyms that the DVDs have an acronym glossary as a bonus feature.
- Only Fools and Horses: At one point Del Boy insists that "Modern businesspeople only speak in initials!" He initializes everything — examples include the GLC: "General 'Lectric Company" and PMA: "Positive Mental Attitude". He also tries to initialize "Trotter's Independent Trader's" and Rodney's "Diploma In Computerization", the results of which are duly pointed out.
- JAG uses lots of military terminology. Often played straight, but sometimes played for laughs, as in this bit of dialogue from "Crossing the Line":
Lt. Cmdr. Harmon Rabb: You grounded Lieutenant Isaacs after a substandard landing. The LSO log indicates: OSCB, EGAR, DNKH.Capt. Thomas Boone: That's correct.Maj. Sarah MacKenzie: Can you tell me what those initials stand for, sir?Capt. Boone: OSCB, Over Shot Came Back. EGAR, Eased Gun At Ramp.Maj. MacKenzie: What about, uh... DNKH?Capt. Boone: Well, that's the technical one, Major. Damn Near Killed Herself.
- In the Leverage episode "The Boiler Room Job", Hardison, posing as a fake stockbroker, claims to be a member of several alphabetic organizations, including the JLA.
- A M*A*S*H episode has Hawkeye and Trapper trying to procure an incubator for the 4077. At one point they're summoned to Henry Blake's office and, after turning down his offer of a drink, are introduced to an Obstructive Bureaucrat sent from headquarters:
Henry: Captain Sloan here is with Supply.
Sloan: More accurately, I'm with the 375th Q.M.H.Q., COMSEAPAC, SEOULSEC REPDEP.
Hawkeye: Maybe I'll have that drink.
- London's Burning is littered with Fire Brigade jargon, like ADO, DO, ACO, FIT, FRU, EVAC, BA, DSU, RTA and ALP. Likewise, its counterparts Casualty, Holby City and The Bill.
- Awkward.'s Tamara's way of talking comprises both this and an overload of Buffy Speak.
- Vernon from You're the Worst talks mostly like that:
Becca: Vernon left to go do his rotation, or as he calls it, his "rotaish."
- Comes up sometimes in NCIS (it's even in the title) when they start talking about the FBI, the CIA, NSA, NCIS, CGIS, or the rest of the alphabet soup. Or when they're dealing with SECNAV (Secretary of the Navy).
- A sixth series episode of Top Gear (UK) saw James May come up with a satirical classified car advert almost entirely written in three-letter acronyms.
Jeremy Clarkson: ...The essence of it is that, from now on, small car ads are going to be impossible. We're not going to know what on earth they're written about.
James May: I've written one, for a BMW. "For sale, BMW 528. 19k, VGC, TNT, FSH, PAS, AAC, OBC, ICE, ABS, EBD, PDC, DTC, DSC, £15,000."note
Richard Hammond: Nice.
May: "ONO." note
- Young Sheldon: In S2 E22 "A Swedish Science Thing and the Equation for Toast", George starts charging Georgie a P.I.M.A. ("Pain In My Ass") tax for buying cable TV and not sharing it with the rest of the family. Justified, as Mary probably wouldn't approve of George swearing at Georgie.
- From the final episode of Come Back Mrs. Noah.
Mish Con: We have an ETA for RA on TF, which gives a TAT of 72 minus 439. Any questions?
Carstairs: Yes. What the hell are you talking about?
Fanshaw: It means our Estimated Time of Arrival for Re-Entry on Terra Firma will be just over 72 hours.
Carstairs: How do you know all that?
Fanshaw: I've got a degree in Initials.
Carstairs: Well in that case: U-P, Y-O-U...
- There's a lot of this in Line of Duty, where the main character is an AFO for AC-12, investigating corruption in TO-20 and CID, to the point that the Hogmanay 2019 episode of Only An Excuse did a sort of meta-parody, where the characters complained about shallow parodies that only did jokes about the acronyms. On the same year's Hogmanay Live, Susan Calman ran an impromptu quiz in which her guests (including LoD star Martin Compston) had to identify LoD acronyms. He didn't win.
- The song "MfG" by the German rap band Die Fantastischen Vier is composed almost entirely of acronyms and abbreviations.
- Greg Champion's "Red Hot Go" is another example, with an abbreviation almost every line from the first chorus onward, as well as explaining what they stand for. Some lines invert this, such as "My game had been bad (B-A-D)", and "The coach pulled me out (O-U-T)". When Greg introduced this song on a live album, he tested the audience on a few of the abbreviations, confusing them momentarily with STD (spat the dummy) and completely stumped them with JMU ("just made it up").
- "Alphabetical Order" by Joe Walsh.
- "FYI I Wanna F Your A" by Ninja Sex Party
- "Harvey and Sheila" by Allan Sherman
- This is common on pinball forums and websites, where regulars will use acronyms to refer to any game with more than one word in its title. If you're new to the hobby, you're sure to have a hard time deciphering what TOTAN,note NBAFB,note RBION,note WOZ,note METLE,note CFTBL,note or WH20note refer to. And that's before getting into non-title acronyms, such as HUO (home-use only) or VUK (vertical up-kicker)...
- The Party Zone does this with two of its target sets — "WOOC" is "Way Out Of Control", while "EDBM" is "Eat, Drink, & B. Merry".
- Anime Slushie discusses the excessive acronyms used in Magical Girl Spec-Ops Asuka by spelling them out on a chalkboard:
J.S.D.F.G.C.C. - Japan Self-Defense Forces Ground Component Command
E.L.O. - ???
N.P.A.S.S.C.I.F. - National Police Agency State Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility
C.I.T.D.S.C.A. - Counter International Terrorism Division Sensitive Communications Annex
N.P.D. - ???
N.P.A. - National Police Agency
M.G.P.T.C. - Magical Girl Power Training Club note
- Engineer-turned-comedian Don McMillan's "Life After Death by PowerPoint" includes a section on what he calls S.A.O.D. ("Severe Acronym Overload Disorder"). Two examples he puts forth:
- What sort of conversation people are having. "Yeah, I IM'd my CFO about our ROI and CRM and our RFP and it turns out our EPS is really SOL so we better do something ASAP."note
Hypothetical resume's Objectives: "Seeking position as CEO, COO, CFO, CIO, CTO, CMO, CSO, CPO, CYO, VP, EVP, or EIEIO."
- A hypothetical but plausible resume that is nothing but acronyms.
- Dungeons & Dragons: DND tends to suffer from this, because of the number of precise terms; AC, DR, CL (this one's even context-sensitive), DC, etc. etc. Oddly enough, there's no way to abbreviate "Denied your dex bonus to AC" any further.
- Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War wiki has many acronyms made up by players. The Dakkadakka Forum even has tooltips for the most commonly used initialisms. Which isn't to say that the tabletop game itself doesn't have its own crunchers. The best is probably AP — standing for Armor Piercing, the mechanic and rating that counters personal armor, although you could be forgiven for thinking that it meant Armor Penetration, the mechanic that affects vehicle armor. When talking about statlines, expect to see the terms GEQ (Guardsman EQuivalent), MEQ (Marine EQuivalent), and TEQ (Terminator EQuivalent) a lot.
- And if you think that's bad, you should see Exalted. Acronyms like VAP,note PoCB,note SSE,note GSNF,note and SCSnote are all thrown around. Exalted terminology is so flowery that typing all the Charms out in full could take weeks.
- And then you realize none of these hold a candle to HERO System, FREd (itself an acronym). Not only are the 11 some-odd ability scores abbreviated, but then there's the OCV, the DCV, OSL, DSL, RSL, HKA, RKA, OAF, OIF, etc.
- In Rifts every attribute and important rules concept seems to have an abbreviation or acronym in the rules: I.Q., M.A., M.E., P.E., P.S., P.P., P.B., Spd., H.P., A.R., S.D.C., M.D.C., M.D, P.P.E., I.S.P., O.C.C., R.C.C., H.F., and W.P. are examples from the main rulebook. note
- The song "Arse End of the Earth" from Keating! The Musical.
- Hair uses a lot of acronyms in the lyrics of "Hashish" and "Initials." Appearing in both are "L.S.D." and "I.R.T."
- In The Complete History Of America Abridged, Franklin D. Roosevelt announces his plan to beat The Great Depression. It involves a Long List of acronyms which is cut in on by an announcer's voice saying, "Twelve years later..."
- A Very Potter Musical (AVPM), A Very Potter Sequel (AVPS), and A Very Potter Senior Year (AVPSY), a trilogy of plays by Team StarKid.
- Ancient Domains of Mystery: (ADOM) The guidebook has all kinds of abbreviations that make it downright illegible unless you read the compiled list of acronyms and abbreviations. And the equipment pages in said guidebook have their own specific abbreviations that aren't in the list of abbreviations. One of the biggest offenders is the TotRR, which has tags like Ma+24, =Elec, +WBre, +SeeI, -Deth, and !Demo. Oh, and it increases your DV/PV by 12.
- The original NES Final Fantasy contains hundreds of these due to space issues. Enemy varieties often have their special adjectives cut down to two or three letters, meaning that instead of Grey Imps and Green Ogres, you have to face down armies of much funnier-sounding GrIMPs and GrOGREs. Spell names were also hit particularly hard, with names no more than four letters long. What exactly the spells did was often unclear. ("What the hell is AFIR?")
- Super Smash Bros.: (SSB) guides will have all kinds of acronyms, sometimes making the simplest things hard to read; for instance, DI, or Directional Influence; your ability to move left or right a little bit in midair, etc.
- Dwarf Fortress: Done deliberately by the DF community; talk of the GCS's, FB's, and the HFS prevents spoilers. Also overlaps with Insistent Terminology. The succession LP's also have lots of FWA just FTW.
- Chloe from Granblue Fantasy occasionally slips out some of these:
- She greets the captain a happy birthday by saying "HBD" four times. She also does this again during New Years, saying "HNY". She even teaches Lyria the meaning of "BFF".
- Chloe has a "QT"◊ Raid Sticker. And since players can outright spam stickers when in a raid, this trope can even take full effect in-game when deliberately done by the players.
- Nethack: The IRC channel often combines this with the in-game symbols used to represent the various items; so a late game ascension kit might contain (among other things) [oMR, "oLS, a cursed !oGL and plenty of /oD.
- The GameFAQs Naruto boards has JnJ, PnJ, ET, SST, CT, FRS, 0TK, 3TK, 4TK, 8TK, nTK, MS, EMS
- Mega Man Battle Network: In-Universe, actually. Mostly to preserve memory space, but also has a nice futuristic look. Its Spiritual Successor series, Starforce, does this on the Nintendo DS, simply for the latter reason. It also forces this on the player, due to little paragraph space for the parts you have to write yourself, such as naming your "Best Combos".
- StarCraft I: Most of the Goliath's Stop Poking Me! quotes. The Goliath in StarCraft II has many quotes reused, but also has the previous quote from GoodMorningVietnam.
Goliath: Go ahead, TACCOM. Milspec ED 209 on. USDA selected. FDIC approved. Checklist complete... SOB.
- The Battle for Wesnoth community has a lot of this. HttT, TSG, AoI, SoF, THoT, DA, HI, WM, ZoC, CtH, HAPMA... almost all campaigns, units and gameplay elements are abbreviated; as seen here.
- The Rock Band fan community reduces song names to acronyms, such as GGaHT (that's Green Grass and High Tides).
- World of Warcraft has its own horde of acronyms and abbreviations, Dal, Org, TB, Oc, pat, spriest, Demolock, ToT, ToC, LF5MDPS, H25LK, TG vs SMF... to the point that some instances had similar acronyms that one of them had to be acronymed after its final boss. DM (Dire Maul) and VC (Deadmines, after the last boss, Van Cleef). More information here.
- The Web Game Sryth has a lot of acronyms, most of them fan-made. There's a forum thread that provides a complete list.
- The English-speaking Touhou fan community tend to use these for the titles of the games. The only exception so far is the fighting spin-off Hisoutensoku, which is usually shortened to Soku.
- In the Dota 2 and The Stanley Parable crossover, the narrator of TSP opens dota games with this on occasion.
Stanley Parable Narrator: GL, HF, L2P, VD, MP3, OBGYN, 3DPDB1D9G note
- The Paradox Interactive community has this for most of its games and expansions, as well as popular mods. For example, one might say that you're playing HoI with TFH and BLICE.note The only game to escape this is Victoria. Instead its namesake's nickname is used, Vicky. But it still applies to the expansions and mods.
- Monster Hunter sees quite a bit of use of this in the fanbase. SnS, HBG, LS, GS, Cap, Pots, Cools, Hots are a few. Of those, only Cap is used by the game, and only on the results screen.
- The X-Universe series fandom is so loaded with three-letter-acronyms ("The CBSE OWP was destroyed by an OOS Q carrying IBLs, luckily it ignored the CLS fleet since they had no JDs") that the developers put up a guide to them on the game's FAQ.
- Discussions of Pokémon can slip into this, with some of the more nuanced mechanics being referred to via acronyms such as STAB (Same Type Attack Bonus), EV (Effort Value), and IV (Individual Value). Additionally, competitive battlers use acronyms for tiers and some strategies. Further complicating conversations is that EVs and IVs are referred to differently by the in-game descriptions and the fandom, thanks to both having originally been hidden game mechanics with no official names - by the time there was official terminology, the fans had long since invented their own terms and gotten used to using them.
- Stick around any Final Fantasy X discussion and acronyms starting with "N", each representing a Self-Imposed Challenge, will start to pop up: NSG (No Sphere Grid) and NSGIE (No Sphere Grid, Initial Equipment) to name two examples, and the ultimate Self-Imposed Challenge: NSGNSNCNONENNENBB (No Sphere Grid, No Summon, No Customization, No Overdrives, No Escape, No "No Encounters", No Blitzball).
- On Neopets, this happens frequently within the community. It's particularly common in the Neopian Pound section of the Neoboards, where a single visit can result in seeing dozens of these. It's not unusual to see a thread titled "UC VWN Mara Gelert UFT" (unconverted very well named Maraquan Gelert up for trade), or someone celebrating a recent FFQ (Fountain Faerie quest).
- In Town of Salem, wills are often written with acronyms and abbreviations. For example, the investigator's results for a bodyguard would be "The person could be either a Bodyguard, a Godfather or an Arsonist", it would often be abbreviated as "BG GF Arso".
- The Nintendo Switch rerelease of Tadpole Treble has a new song added, "Aisle Isle", that is stuffed full of acronyms, singing the praises of the final boss. ELE-94 is short for Electronic Lead Engineer, the autopilot A.I. of an airplane that crashed into tadpole pond.
Tell your BF, GF, BFF, your OBGYN
Your XXL MD or SO, AM or PM.
Tell AJ, BJ, CJ, DJ, PJ and TJ,
Because the CIA, the TSA and NRA
The USA, USSR, UAE and UK,
Your HOA, BBA, NFL and NBA
GOP, DNC, LGBT communities
All agree ELE's GOAT, so QED!
- Due to the nature of MMORPGs, they tend to develop their own vocabulary over time, especially when forming PUGs. In SWTOR it's not uncommon to see lines in group chat with something like "LF 2T 1DPS ToS GF"
- A comical example occurs in the Strong Bad Email "mile", in which — due to the Cheat's chunky art style — badly-animated Strong Bad has almost no space on his computer screen and starts resorting to initials:
Strong Bad: (spoken) So yes, Jimmy-Jimmy, there have been parades honoring the Cheat. But don't let that from stopping you from organizing your own.
Strong Bad: (typing) So yes, Jimmy-Jimmy, there have been p's h-ing the C. B.d.l.t.f.s.y.f.o.y.o.
- Basil Ganglia from Hanazuki: Full of Treasures shares a telepathic link with other giant brains like him that he calls the ECNYWYWAPO (pronounced "ECK-en-yew-yew-APP-oh"), which stands for "Elite Cerebral Network You Wish You Were a Part Of".
- The season opener of Red vs. Blue Season 15 has a reporter entering a restricted area because she strings off enough initalisms, some of which aren't military or even abbreviations, to confuse the guard.
Dylan: At ease, soldier! We're BADDAD: Bomb Action Detection Decision and Defusion. (the guard says bomb squad just left) That was RAR, Rapid Action Response. We're FIAT, Forensic Identification Analytic Tech. I'm Corporal Regina and this is Lance Corporal DuCroix. (...) No time! We have a live LOLRPG upstairs with a BPRD of over 5000! (...) We're expecting an LSAT RTAA in the next 8 minutes! (...) It's a Class 1 FUBAR FOSHO. (guard notes her assistant doesn't talk) He's a French Analysis Repair Transfer. No English, but he's the best LCARSDDR in the entire AOL. Ain't that right DuCroix?
- In DarkMatter2525's animation "If Jesus Returned", after Jesus is Mistaken for Terrorist at the airport, he gets busted by the SWAT, TSA, NSA, NYPD, FBI, CIA, ATF, and finally ASS (Acronym Security Squad).
ASS agent: Hey guys, NATO is pressuring POTUS to follow SOP, so make this guy MIA ASAP!
- Ryotaro Dojima, from Peachi's Persona 4 comic:
Ryotaro Dojima: We've got no clues about the perp. We don't even have a sus because the sec with a mo's got a perf al.
Adachi: Sir, what are you even—
Dojima: Shut UP, Adachi.
- MS Paint Adventures from Problem Sleuth onwards, so much that the wiki has an Acronym Cheatsheet.
- Terminal Lance: is drawn by a Marine, for Marines. Non-Marines are strongly advised to have the Wikipedia page on USMC acronyms and expressions open and ready for reference.
- Edward Verres, from El Goonish Shive:
Edward Verres: Okay, fine, but if anyone asks, you're cosplaying as an OC from your DC superhero FF.
Grace: I'm what?
- Skin Horse: Pretty much what you'd expect when you have G.O.D.O.T., the Genetic Organism Designed Only for Thought. G.O.D.O.T. was used by the military to create acronyms, and then to create backronyms until it went mad because it was given a project title it couldn't backronymise.
- A Bug's Life has Flik shouting out random abbreviations to Atta in order to make his meeting with the "warriors" sound official and top-secret. His choices? "F.Y.I.", "B.Y.O.B."...
- In one episode of Yogi's Treasure Hunt, Top Cat calls the treasure hunters this way:
Top Cat: Attention! This is T.C. calling with an A.P.B.. Report to the treasure room A.S.A.P..
- An episode of Hong Kong Phooey had Sgt. Flint asking for a criminal's M.O. on an A.P.B., and Rosemary said "A.O.K. I'll get right on it P.D.Q.!"
- The Danger Mouse episode "Journey To The Earth's 'Cor!" had our heroes in the center of the earth with DM's car frozen in mid-air. They come to a door marked "C.H.M.F.F.G." (which Penfold phonetically pronounces as "Chimuffguh"). It stands for "Car Holding Magnetic Force Field Generator."
Penfold: Ooh...how'd you know that?
DM: I read the script!
- In the Phineas and Ferb episode "Backyard Aquarium", Dr. Doofenshmirtz shows off his latest -inators:
Doofenshmirtz: Say hello to the Platypus-Secret-Agent-Arrival-In-Order-To-Foil-My-Evil-Plot-Capture-inator! Or as I like to call it: my P.S.A.A.I.O.T.F.M.E.P.C.-inator.
Doofenshmirtz: Behold! The Hot-Dog-Vendor-Revenge-inator! Or my H.D.V.R... (begins counting on his fingers) ina...I...I have to work on my acronyms.
- According to Homer Simpson, BTO are Canada's answer to ELP, and their big hit was TCB.note Also, according to him, that's how they talked in The '70s.
- Blythe Baxter from Littlest Pet Shop (2012) often uses acronyms in place of short sentences, such as G.M.M.T. ("Good morning, Mrs. Twombly"), or D.W.A.A.T. ("Don't worry about a thing"), claiming it's a "way more efficient way" of saying things. Mrs. Twombly, the elderly owner of Littlest Pet Shop, even lampshades this at one point.
Mrs. Twombly: Don't these youngsters realize it takes twice as long to decipher their silly abbreviations as it does to state them normally in the first place?
- Spongebob Squarepants: In the episode "Banned from Bikini Bottom" there's The United Organization of Fish Against Things That are Fun and Delicious or T.U.O.O.F.A.T.T.A.F.A.D. for short.
- Also, the titular educational reel in "Boat Smarts" is brough to us by C.O.B.B.U.T.K.S.B.S.P.O.T.R.A.O.O.B.A.T.: Citizens Of Bikini Bottom United To Keep SpongeBob SquarePants Off The Road And Out Of Boats All Together.
- The Hair Bear Bunch: Bananas the Gorilla is disguised as a doctor treating Square Bear (feigning an injury to get three hots and a cot from zookeeper Peevly). He identifies himself as Dr. Rudolph Von Faker—M.D., Ph. D., A.B. and P.D.Q.
- In the Gravedale High episode "Save Our School", a health inspector named Nitpicker had a habit of giving abbreviations for everything, like saying D.D.W. for "downright dirty water" or L.T.S. for "life-threatening situation". Thankfully, he clarifies the meaning behind all the abbreviations immediately after stating them.
- Kaeloo: In one episode, Stumpy tries to get a girlfriend by talking to random girls online. When one girl replies to his message, she uses a lot of acronyms like ROFL and BWL, which confuses him so much he ends up rejecting her.
- In the Hercules: The Animated Series episode in Spartan Academy, Icarus has two lines full of military acronyms, with the second having him note he doesn't know what many those abbreviations mean, he just likes talking like that.
- TV Tropes itself. Those new to the community might have to have CMoA,note YMMV,note and YKTTWnote explained to them.
- Truth in Television: The United States armed forces do this, to the point where two members of the same branch (say an artilleryman and a tanker, both Army) can't understand each other. Much worse if it's members of two different branches: especially if it's Army and Navy. They abbreviate in different ways: the Navy likes to use entire syllables. (thus, Commander IN Chief PACific FLeeT—> CINCPACFLT. SUBmarine SAFEty program —>SUBSAFE. NAVal SPECial WARfare GRoUp—>NAVSPECWARGRU. Feed those abbreviations to an Army soldier to watch him try to separate it letter by letter.)
- The Armed Services see this extensively. "Private Bob! Gimme a SITREP on the PMCS of that APC ASAP!".
- A lot of personnel use this for Fun with Acronyms. A radar operator might call in "An unidentified B-1-R-Delta (bird) possible hostile G-U-Eleven (gull) class" Or a technician might report an "ID-ten-T (id10t) user error" or "Equipment inoperable in O-F-F Mode"
- The latter is taken from a supposedly real maintenance discrepancy log in which a pilot reported a device did not work while in the O-F-F position. The corrective action is said to have stated that no actions taken because it is not supposed to work in that position.
- It is said (somewhat tongue-in-cheek) that the American armed forces run on TLAs,note ETLAs,note and MTTLAs.note
- One very common military acronym that often confuses civilians is "POV", which stands for "Personally/Privately-Owned Vehicle" (or "POC", swapping "Vehicle" for "Conveyance")note . It's used to distinguished private vehicles from Government-Owned Vehicles ("GOV"), tactical vehicles, rental vehicles, public transportation, etc.note
- It's taken to the extreme that sometimes you get recursive or nested acronyms, where one acronym actually refers to another. For example, the RUM-139 is an anti-submarine missile (i.e. a guided rocket that drops a torpedo in the water). It's called the VLA, which stands for Vertically Launched ASROC. What's an ASROC? It's an Anti-Submarine Rocket, which was the name of the weapon (designated RUR-5) that the RUM-139 was adapated from. But even ASROC was not it's original name; during develompent, it was called the RAT for Rocket Assisted Torpedo.
- A lot of personnel use this for Fun with Acronyms. A radar operator might call in "An unidentified B-1-R-Delta (bird) possible hostile G-U-Eleven (gull) class" Or a technician might report an "ID-ten-T (id10t) user error" or "Equipment inoperable in O-F-F Mode"
- Civilian aviation inherited this from the military for the same reason they use it: brevity is important over crowded radio channels and there are lot of technical terms in use. For example: "I'm gonna study the SOP, refer to the FAR/AIM and the POH, then go up and practice an ILS, VOR, NDB and GPS approach out of EVB. Oh, not GPS, cause RAIM is inop."
- Or: "I am going to study the standard operating procedure, refer to the federal air regulations aeronautical information manual and the pilots operating handbook, then go up and practice an instrument landing system, very high frequency omnidirectional range, non directional beacon and global positioning system approach out of New Smyrna Beach municipal airport. Oh, not global positioning system, because the receiver autonomous integrity monitoring is inoperable." Suddenly the acronyms seem godsend instead of an annoyance.
- Try reading a METAR some time. It's a heavily abbreviated weather report designed to condense as much information as possible into a message that can be transmitted very quickly, and be understood regardless of the reader's native language (which is to say, it's pretty much all data and no language at all). They are commonly used by pilots who need to plan their trips according to what the weather will be like on the way to their destination.
- Also related to the military's use of acronyms is the unique language of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Given that the organization's staff was originally largely military, it should come as no surprise that just about everything anyone at NASA might refer to has an acronym - which frequently is a disguise for a needlessly-wordy description. Extra points are apparently given if one makes an acronym that is pronounceable as a word.
- Even more points if an acronym refers to another acronym. The government contractor that had the contract to test the liquid-fueled rocket engines for the Space Shuttle had several other government contracts too. There was a separate name for the division that performed each contract. This one was officially known as NTOG, which stood for NASA Test Operations Group.
- Laptop computers used to use a type of expansion slot known as PCMCIA, an acronym for the Personal Computer Memory Card International Association, the group of companies that got together to develop the hardware standard. Owing to what a mouthful the acronym was (not to mention how non-descriptive it proved to be once you bothered to unroll it), the acronym is jokingly said to mean "People Can't Memorize Computer Industry Acronyms". The name was eventually changed to the much shorter "PC Card", before the format was replaced entirely by Express Card.
- Old hacker anecdote: When asked what "the biggest problem in computing in the '90s" would be, one hacker is said to have quipped, "there are only 17,000 three-letter acronyms". When you have joke acronyms bemoaning the plethora of acronyms in your profession, it's pretty bad.
- There's an old song by Allan Sherman Harvey and Sheila that celebrates the acronyms of life in the USA.
- Anybody who studies biology for long enough, particularly metabolism or genetics, quickly finds the acronyms getting out of hand. We have acronyms made of acronyms.
- In Chemistry, abbreviation is necessary to use the completely-descriptive but incredibly long formal names of most chemicals. Or they're simply referred to by some kind of informal or brand name. At the extreme end of this scale is Titin, the largest known protein, which has an incredibly lengthy chemical name. How lengthy? Titin's full name has 189,819 letters.
- Many Mormons, or LDS note , know what RM, BYU, PEC, BYC, YM, YW, and many others mean note .
- A lot of work places (especially corporate ones), have company-specific acronyms and abbreviations
- Target has elaborate titles for employees, such as the Guest-Service Team Leader, abbreviated to G.S.T.L.
- Pizza Hut has C.H.A.M.P.S. (Cleanliness, Hospitality, Accuracy, Maintenance, Product, Speed) for a guide to their food service
- Wikipedia has several lists of acronyms. Be forewarned: A person can easily get lost on a Wiki Walk through these pages. Good starting points include:
- Their main article on acronyms and initialism
- Their list of acronyms and initialism
- Their list of U.S. government and military acronyms
- Their article on orphan initialism
- The project's guideline on abbreviation use in articles and essay against overuse of abbreviations in project pages
- Wikipedians tend to use lots and lots of abbreviations: "MOS" for "Manual of Style", "AGF" for "Assume good faith", "AfD" for "Articles for Deletion". Parodied in the essay "WTF? OMG! TMD TLA. ARG!
- While we're at it, the Wikipedia article for Alphabet Soup, a metaphor for exactly this trope.
- Augustine's Laws, a satirical yet serious book on how NOT to run a military research and development program, has a chapter on this topic. It includes a graph of acronym activity index listing government papers that have acronyms for over 10% of their words, and declares an "acronym gap" between the West (26 letters in the Roman alphabet), the East (32 letters in the Cyrillic) and Far East (14,000 characters in the Chinese).
- The Soviet/Russian bureaucracy ran on abbreviations and acronyms. The secret police in particular were at times the Cheka (from the abbreviation ChK, or Che-Ka for the "Special Committee"), the GPU, OGPU, NKVD, MVD and KGB, not to mention the modern FSB (all Russian-language abbreviations). GULAG was another abbreviation - note that many abbreviated names in Russian are formed of the first syllables of individual words; lager means a prison camp. A lot of them were "State" (Gosudarstvo)-Something, so they ended up with the GosKino studios (State Cinema) as well as "MosFilm" and the infamous post-Soviet gas company GazProm. Immediately after the revolution, popular names for children were even abbreviations of revolutionary concepts or the names of dignitaries, for instance Vladilen (Vladimir Lenin). In Solzhenitsyn's First Circle novel, there is a female character sporting the name Datoma, which is short for "Daughter of the Toiling Masses" as rendered into English (though the Russian version would still have a similar sound to it). Solzhenitsyn's famous word "zek", meaning gulag inmate, was formed from the abbreviation "Z/K", denoting zakluchenniy or prisoner. A Russian/Soviet poet, writer and translator Korney Chukovsky devoted a whole chapter to Soviet bureauspeak in general and misuse/overuse of abbreviations in particular in his book on Russian language "Alive as Life Itself".
- Anyone who's ever tried text messaging with anyone under the age of 25 has probably run into this. Anybody older that that probably needs to look up things like: IDK, SMH, MHM, ROTFL, LMAO, NP, WU, TY, etc. Some aren't too difficult to figure out, but then they throw in emoticons and half words, and the messages are so far from English that you need a decoder.
- This has led a number of news organizations to accuse youngsters of communicating in "code" to hide their true intentions from their parents. This, in turn, has now been mercilessly parodied with the "Is Your Teen Texting About..." meme, in which a list of very common initialisms are given wildly different definitions themed around some particular topic. For Lord of the Rings fans, "LOL" becomes "Love Our Legolas" and "WTF" becomes "We Thank Faramir". Or maybe they're talking about Italian food and they mean "Lots Of Lasagna" and "Where's The Fettucine" instead.
- Also, there's a tendency in online conversations to refer to media properties and creators by their initials, even if they're being mentioned for the first time. Seems to happen especially in video game discussions, where some massively popular games are referred to exclusively that way — WOW, LOL, GTA, and PUBG come to mind. But then you'll run into That Guy who just drops a pile of capital letters into a conversation and at best you might be able to guess from context what medium it's in.
- In Germany, acronyms and abbreviations had been largely a preserve of the military and academia, but after the First World War they spilled over into everyday life, partly under the additional influence of the names of commercial enterprises etc. (for instance Degussa, which stands for "Deutsche Gold- und Silberscheideanstalt - "German gold and silver refining facility"). This tendency became mocked in a few jokes and is still sometimes referred to as Aküfi (Abkürzungsfimmel, "abbreviation craze").
- Those Wacky Nazis were infamous about it, some of their acronyms and abbreviations like SS (Schutzstaffel, Protection Squadron) and Gestapo (Geheime Staatspolizei, secret state police) even entering other languages. On the other hand, they were also mocked with abbreviations, indeed the very word Nazi (short for Nationalsozialist) has negative connotations to Nazis, as before it was applied to Hitlers party it had been a diminutive form of the Catholic given name Ignaz (German form of Ignatius) and carried similar implications as the name Rube in America. Another well known example was the acronym Gröfaz (also spelled GröFaZ) for "Größter Feldherr aller Zeiten" (greatest commander of all time), which sounds like the name of a mean little gremlin. This spread among Germans after the battle of Stalingrad and mocked both the Nazi proclivity for abbreviations and acronyms as well as the way Hitler had been hailed as the greatest military commander of all time after the fall of France in 1940.
- In Hebrew, all letters are consonants with vowel sounds being small symbols added underneath the consonants, when they are written at all. This means that, unlike in English, any combination of Hebrew letters is pronounceable as a proper word. This may be the reason why both ancient and modern Hebrew are full of words that originated as acronyms, and they are especially popular in modern Israeli military slang.
- The common names of birds are standardized, and each is given a four-letter code. For example, American Crow is AMCR.
- If one speaks the Indonesian language for some time, one will notice that Indonesians love to abbreviate just about anything. Notable examples include:
- Puskesmas= Pusat Kesehatan Masyarakat (Community Health Center, think of clinics)
- Kopaska= Kommando Pasukan Katak (Frog-Diver Command, think Indonesian equivalent to Navy SEALs)
- DPR= Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat (People's Representative Council, one of the legislative houses).
- TNI= Tentara Nasional Indonesia (Indonesian National Military Forces).
- KPK= Komisi Pemberantasan Korupsi (Anti-Corruption Agency). Not to be confused with KPK= Kelipatan Persekutuan terKecil (Least Common Multiple)
- And many others.
- The Church of Scientology has seldom met an abbreviation it didn't like. Examples include OTs (Operating Thetans, people enlightened through Scientology), Orgs ('Organisations', Scientology buildings and departments), SPs ('Suppressive Persons', enemies of Scientology), and the GO ('Guardian's Office', the Church's intelligence department, later renamed to the OSA or 'Office of Special Affairs').
- Computers in general. You can count the number of hardware that isn't commonly referred to by an acronym or abbreviation with one hand.
- Similarly early programming languages and assembly language is made up of really short words. Assembly in particular is usually restricted to 4 letters.
- Electronic musical instruments are similar. Not only do they naturally require the use of technical terms, no matter on which tech level they are, but using synthesizer terminology in full would inevitably border on Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness, so using abbreviations like BPFnote , LFOnote , FMnote , VAnote and of course MIDInote is a lot easier. Also, space on front panels and displays is limited, and the writing has to be large enough to be readable on gloomy live stages, so the instruments themselves are overusing abbreviations even more egregiously.
- Franklin D. Roosevelt created roughly 100 government agencies in order to help jumpstart the economy during The Great Depression. They all had acronyms, and were derisively referred to as "alphabet soup". Not surprisingly, FDR was also the first President to be popularly known by his initials.
- Modern medicine is loaded with acronyms and abbreviations. It's actually important that this is done, as it allows medical professionals to rapidly give short but extremely detailed descriptions in emergency situations where seconds literally count.
- The Dutch are very keen to use acronyms wherever they can (a.u.b. or s.v.p. for "please", i.v.m. for "due to", a.s. for "next" as in "next Sunday", or b.b.h.h. for "currently not at home"), and are especially notorious for their countless abbreviations (Bi.Za. for the Ministry of the Interior, B&W for the Mayor and Aldermen, GGD for the municipal health agency, KNGMG for the Royal Dutch Geological Mining Trust). The most telling is probably the abbreviation used for dictionaries that list abbreviations: afk. w.b.
- The Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Queer Questioning Intersex Asexual Allies Pansexual community, or LGBTQQIAAP. Most people would agree that LGBT is enough to get the point across.
- Amateur "Ham" Radio operators, especially those that learned Morse Code when it was a requirement, use many of these as a matter of course. Short list: CQ, QSL, QSO, YL, XYL, OM, QRM, QRN, DX SK...
- In order: "Is anyone listening", "can you confirm receipt" (or a physical postcard confirming a contact), "conversation", "Young Lady" (any unmarried female), "eX-Young Lady" (any married female), "Old Man" (any male), "Man-made interference", "Natural Interference", "Long Distance", and "silent key" (a deceased ham).
- In practice, Morse combines this trope with Department of Redundancy Department. This is to combat QSB (fading), so if one part of the message fades out, you can pick up the next repetition. A typical QSO (see above), begins thus: "CQ CQ CQ DE A0XYZ A0XYZ A0XYZ K", where CQ is a call to any listening station to respond, DE means "from" or "this is..", A0XYZ is the sender's callsign, and "K" signals the sender is awaiting a response.
- Some abbreviations that originated with telegraphy (of either the wireless or wired kind) have attained a wider usage. Examples include POTUS (president of the United states), SCOTUS (supreme court of the United States), WX (weather) TX/RX (Transmit/Receive), XTAL (crystal, as in a crystal oscillator), U/UR for You and Your/you're, as well as the spelling sez for says. While on the subject of Morse code, the sequence SOS (...—-...) doesn't actually stand for anything. It's a procedural signal (prosign), meaning the whole sequence of dits and dahs is sent as a single letter without the usual spaces. The term SOS is a mnemonic device to remember the signal, since S is three dits, and O is three dahs.
- Linux and UNIX are wrought with Acronyms (ALSA: Advanced Linux Sound Architecture), Backronyms (etc/ : Edit To Configure), Recursive Acronyms (GNU: GNU's Not UNIX), and ALLCAPS terms - like UNIX itself - that look like acronyms, but aren't. When in doubt - consult Word of God.
- The insurance industry falls into this very often due to having commonly defined covers which often require long names that need to be mentioned many times a day. LOLnote , the LOLnote on this GPLnote policy barely covers the MedMalnote . We'll need to add an EPnote either here or the MDnote where the TSInote looks low compared to the requested ROD,note though the latter will increase the FSL.note
- Braille uses a bevy of short forms called contractions even in books and on signs in order to save space. Single letters can stand for whole words when written on their own, thus b is "but", c is "can", d is "do" etc. Other contractions use groups of more than one letter, thus fr for "friend" and nei for "neither". Braille also has single cells that stand for whole words, "and", "for", "of", "the", and "with". These single cells can be used as part of a larger word very similar to leet speak or text messages, thus "band" becomes "b&". "form" becomes "FOR+m" and so on. It starts getting complicated when you get words that can be contracted in more than one way, like "weather" as "W+EA+THE+R" or "W+EA+TH+ER". There are even cells that have different meanings depending on where they appear in a word, dots 2-3, called "lower B" can mean "be" when written alone or at the beginning of a word, "-bb-" in the middle, and a semicolon at the end. Here's a handy chart.
- International relations and similar fields have a slew of acronyms, mostly pertaining to things like international laws and groups of people who control things (although the UN, itself an IGOnote , is a likely culprit if you need somebody to blame). Luckily, due to the amount of possible acronyms that may be encountered (because international relations and its kin are interdisciplinary fields), this trope gets downplayed because books and other writing in said fields tend to explain what their acronyms are, either in glossaries or explicitly.
- In boxing, the term "alphabet soup" emerged out of frustration for the glut of sanctioning bodies,note all of whom crown their own champions, making it increasingly difficult to have a single, unified "undisputed" champion at any weight class.