I was reading an article on the BBC website the other day and came across the ‘backronym’, which I’d never heard of before and which I immediately loved. I looked it up right away on wikipedia.

It is at its heart a reverse acronym, created to echo an original word or acronym. So, to borrow from wikipedia, where Radar is an acronym for Radio Detection and Ranging, the Amber Alert program was named after a girl called Amber went missing, but was later changed to stand for America’s Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response, a backronym.

Cool, eh? We can create any number of our own humorous backronyms and use them to mock our ‘acronymic’ institutions.

Here’s the thing though: the backronym the BBC used in its article was the most interesting of all. Apparently, the word camp in its adjectival meaning is derived from kamp, standing for ‘known as male prostitute’, and harking back to the dingy old days when homosexuality was illegal. Not sure about that, myself, but was delighted to learn of the existence of the word backronym.

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