Tag Archives: Haiku



wide eyes and windows
offer onlookers glimpses
of what lies within


For Haiku Horizon’s weekly challenge based on the prompt word, “Window”.

Backronym – Friday’s Word of the Day Haiku


I LOVE today’s word of the day on dictionary.com! 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


Purloin-Friday’s Word of the Day Haiku

Today’s word of the day from Dictionary.com is Purloin. It “entered English in the 1400s from late Middle English purloynen, from Anglo-French purloigner “to put off, remove.” “ In our present usage it means to take dishonestly; steal; filch; pilfer and to commit theft; steal. The Merriam-Webster dictionary adds another element to the basic definition: appropriate wrongfully and often by a breach of trust.

In my usual google search I found that it is a popular word, used in poetry, literature and journalism. My favorite newsie headline is this tidbit from KWCH News:

Topeka man accused of trying to peddle crate of purloined steaks at hookah bar.

…and this one from USA Today:

A simple game about flinging fowl at purloining pigs, Angry Birds carved itself an astounding niche in mobile gaming but it’s not the only game in town.

Speaking of birds, I found the quintessential example of purloiners of the avian variety. Nasty birds, called parasitic brooders who pilfer and overtake the nests of other species, often tossing the original eggs or even eating them, in order to deposit their own. If that is not horrible enough, these shady breeders then abandon their eggs and leave the raising of their chicks to the nest owners. If host bird’s chicks do happen to survive the initial scourge of egg destruction, they often find themselves fighting a losing battle against their larger, ravenous, foreign sibling at feeding time, eventually starving to death. Some brood parasites include the cuckoo and the brown-headed cowbird. Read more HERE.

Of course birds are not the only species that purloin, but I’ll leave those other examples to your imagination! Here are a few Haiku.

Plagiarists purloin
inspiring words as their own
fools with no conscience

Cuckoo bird mothers
leave mothering to others
purloining their nests


Easily Vexed

petulant karma,
unforgiving, easily vexed
la femme bête noire


For Ronovan Writes Haiku Challenge, prompt words: excite (vex) & karma.

Imprimatur – Friday’s Word of the Day Haiku


Missed yesterday…I need a less crazy day job so I have evenings to write. By the time I get home it’s time for bed and then to start again. At any rate, the word of the day for Friday from dictionary.com was imprimatur.

Dictionary.com defines imprimatur as  an official license to print or publish a  book,  pamphlet, etc., especially a license issued  by a censor of the Roman Catholic Church; or simply a sanction or approval; support. The word originated in 1640, Modern  Latin, literally “let  it be printed,” the formula of a book licenser, third person singular  present  subjunctive   passive of Latin  imprimere “to print” (see impress). Originally of state license to print books, later only of Roman Catholic Church.

A peruse of Wikipedia revealed that the word actually dates back to the dawn of printing. In England the Licensing of the Press Act of 1662 required an official license for printing books. The 1662 act required books, according to their subject, to receive the authorization, known as the imprimatur, of the Lord Chancellor, the Earl Marshall, a principal Secretary of State, the Archbishop of Canterbury, or the Bishop of London. Essentially, t was government ordered and sanctioned censorship. Those who broke this law could be sued for libel. The law finally expired in 1695.

Shortly after its expiration the first significant event in the evolution and history of the copyright, the Statute of Anne in 1710 (Anne being Queen Anne), removed the right to print and publish a written work from publishers, printers and the state, returning it to the authors as a way to encourage learning and the sharing of ideas.

Here is an excerpt from the statute: Whereas Printers, Booksellers, and other Persons, have of late frequently taken the Liberty of Printing, Reprinting, and Publishing, or causing to be Printed, Reprinted, and Published Books, and other Writings, without the Consent of the Authors or Proprietors of such Books and Writings, to their very great Detriment, and too often to the Ruin of them and their Families: For Preventing therefore such Practices for the future, and for the Encouragement of Learned Men to Compose and Write useful Books; May it please Your Majesty, that it may be Enacted ..

Thank you Queen Anne! Despite its flaws the statute was a significant game-changer. Eventually copyright law has evolved to include protections for sheet music, audio – voice and music, media broadcasts, film and television, internet content and intellectual property.

But back to our word of the day. I for one am glad that I don’t need to obtain an imprimatur for the words I write here on this blog or for any words I might decide to publish in print. Freedom of expression enriches us all.

freedom to express
needing no imprimatur
enriches the mind


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