When did we start speaking in sets of capital letters? Lane Greene looks into the rise of the acronym and its sibling the initialism …
From INTELLIGENT LIFE Magazine, Autumn 2010
Perhaps the perfect modern movie is the cult classic “Office Space”. The anti-hero, Peter, begins his working day with a dressing-down from a droning boss about forgetting to put the cover-sheets on his TPS reports. We never find out what a TPS report is. Nor do we have to; the name alone tells us all we need to know about the life seeping out of Peter’s days, three capital letters at a time.
Acronyms have become so prevalent that they suffer what anything does when coined without end: devaluation. “Oh, my God” still packs quite a punch in the right circumstances. “OMG”, by contrast, is barely effective as a plaything any more.
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