Backronym – Friday’s Word of the Day Haiku


I LOVE today’s word of the day on! Backronym. Not to be confused with its cousin, the acronym, a word formed by using the first letters of a phrase, a backronym is a phrase generated using the letters of existing word or name. The word “Backronym” is itself a portmanteau (Remember that word of the day? A word formed by combining the elements of two words?) Backronym, the word, is formed by combining the word “backward” with “acronym”.

Some of the more common backronyms that you may be familiar with are: AMBER (America’s Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response) Alert, SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), ZIP (Zone Improvement Plan) Code, and my personal favorite, SPAM (Something Posing As Meat). creating backronyms can be fun, inspirational as in the Alcoholics Anonymous words, SLIP (Sobriety Losing Its Priority) and DENIAL (Don’t Even Notice I Am Lying), and functional, as illustrated by the military’s extensive use of backronyms for various operations: CAT (Crisis Action Team), WASP (World War II’s Women Airforce Service Pilots), the US military’s personnel and benefits database, DEERS (Defense Eligibility Enrollment Reporting System), and WOMBAT (Worldwide Observatory of Malicious Behaviours and Attack Threats) project. The military is a prolific promoter of backronyms. I am reminded of my own days as a young Marine taunted by my male counterparts’  cat-calls, “BAM” (Broad Ass Marine). Yes, the possibilities are endless!

My research into this word revealed an online Backronym Maker and a helpful site that gave the history of words assumed to be acronyms that are actually backronyms. The word was coined by Washington Post reader Meredith Williams of Potomac, Maryland who entered and won the paper’s monthly Neologism Contest in November 1983. She defined it as “the same as an acroynym, except that the words were chosen to fit the letters”. And the rest, as they say, is history! Since it is a relatively new word, it’s worth noting that there are opposing views as to whether a word is a true acronym or if it is, in fact, a backronym. It’s a “chicken or the egg” dilemma, but I think it is safe to assume that if a phrase is formed from an existing word, it might be a backronym.

And then, there are “initialisms”, also called abecedisms  (isn’t that an interesting word!) which is a term formed from the initial letter or letters of several words or parts of words, but which is itself pronounced letter by letter. Examples include ABC (American Broadcasting Company), DVD (Digital Versatile Disc), HTML (HyperText Markup Language), IBM (International Business Machines Corporation), and ATM (Automatic Teller Machine) A bit off-topic, I know, but aren’t you glad to know about initialisms too! I know I am! 😉

Here’s a Haiku to put this one to rest. Rather than use the actual word, I decided to create an example of today’s word of the day from the word “HAIKU) Have a great weekend.


Heady Artistic
Inspirations, oft’ Kitschy,
though Understated


Miracles for Fools

fools seek miracles
to save them from calamities
of their own making

For Ronovan Writes Haiku Challenge, prompt words: Miracle & Save.


Photo by TJ Paris

blue sky speckled black
conspirators cackling
ravens on the wing


For TJ’s Household Haiku Challenge based on this photo by his photo and the prompt Words: Melody (Cackle) and Blue.


photo by Carson Arias via Unsplash

When Frieda was young, her older brother tormented her, decapitating and hiding the heads of her baby dolls, stuffed animals and lego toys.

He was a troubled soul, you see, who was later institutionalized after he directed his gruesome compulsion from inanimate toys to small animals.

Poor Frieda was troubled in her own way and her acting out as an adult years later, while seemingly harmless to living things, was no less disturbing; her home, a hoarding nightmare of empty lego boxes piled floor to ceiling and piles and piles of the heads she was never able to find as a girl.


For Sonya’s Three Line Tale Challenge based on this interesting photo by photo by Carson Arias via Unsplash.

The Fixer-Upper

PHOTO PROMPT © J Hardy Carroll

“It has potential.”

“Um, if you say so.”

“Picture this John. The kitchen goes here.” Molly tossed a shelf out of the way, sweeping her arms to display her vision. “This space is perfect for an open floor plan. Just look at those rafters! The bathroom is already plumbed. We just need new fixtures and…and…”

“Molly, you said ‘we’. You remember I’m an accountant right? I don’t know anything about…”

Molly laughed and nuzzled into him, “I know, silly. We can afford a contractor at this price. So…?

He couldn’t say no. “Well, looks like we bought a warehouse house!”

(100 Words)

For Rochelle Wisoff-Fields Friday Fictioneers Flash Fiction challenge inspired by this photo by  J. Hardy Carroll.

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