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Fun with acronyms

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Frank Schultz
September 26, 2012

A show of hands: How many know what POTUS means? The political junkies among you are no doubt proudly shouting: “President of the United States!”

And SCOTUS? Supreme Court of the United States.

There’s even FLOTUS, for the first lady, and SLOTUS, for the wife of the vice president. (The so-called second lady) The veep, of course, is V-POTUS.

All of this got me wondering and musing. First the wondering, which led me to a Web expedition in search of fun facts:

“SCOTUS” was first noted in print in a handbook of telegrapher’s abbreviations in 1879. “POTUS” didn’t show up in the code until 1925.

The original Phillips Code, as it was called, had all manner of abbreviations, including SOW for Secretary of War. Today that position is the Secretary of Defense, but I would advise staying away from SODUS, as “sod” gets you in trouble in some English-speaking lands.

A more recent addition to the –OTUS lexicon is TOTUS: Teleprompter of the United States. (With all these rhyming words, there must be a limerick in there, somewhere.)

Now to the musing, in which you’re invited to join: Why don’t we extend this acronym fun to the Badger State?

My alma mater, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, could be UOWM, which appropriately in these days of tuition increases and skyrocketing student debt could be pronounced, “you owe ’em.” (Full disclosure, I’m participating in this debt-expansion scheme for my son’s education.)

The governor could be GOSOW, for Governor of the State of Wisconsin. Or just GOW, but the pronunciation isn’t as much fun.

How about MOCOM, Mayor of the City of Madison, just MOM, for Mayor of Madison.

The Editor of the Gazette might be EOG, but then how do you pronounce it? An acronym is no good unless it has an easy pronunciation.

Now it’s your turn. What acronyms would you suggest? Keep it clean, but by all means feel free to be funny.



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