March 19, 2002
More Embarrassing Acronyms

Unfortunate choices in nomenclature can often produce unintentinally embarrassing acronyms. An obvious example is Jimmy Carter's declaration that the struggle for energy independence was "the Moral Equivalent Of War" --MEOW.

Some acronyms are only amusing to the few who know Latin. I'll post more as I think of them, but here are two:

  1. POTUS, the Secret Service's term for President Of The United States, is also Latin for "drunk". (Masculine, appropriately enough for all presidents so far: a drunken woman is pota.) I wonder how far it goes back: perhaps to the Grant administration?
  2. The ANSER Institute for Homeland Security publishes The Journal of Homeland Security (circulation steadily increasing, I suspect). The name is short for "ANalytic SERvices", but it is also the Latin word for "goose". Perhaps this is intentional -- it was a gaggle of geese that saved the Roman citadel from sack by the Gauls in 387 B.C. or thereabouts by waking the garrison with their honking -- but I doubt it.

Of course, neither is as bad as Kingsley Amis' fictional 'Sam Houston Institute of Technology', but that was intended as a joke. Time to make up some T-shirts?

Posted by Dr. Weevil at March 19, 2002 10:30 PM