Word Nerd: Our weird obsessn. w. abbrevs.

22 Aug

English-speakers often say “as busy as a bee”. No doubt bees have stuff to do, and they do what they can each day. But it doesn’t actually seem like they’re racing against deadlines and have no time to talk, does it? They seem to have plenty of time to buzz between or during their pollinating and nectar-gathering errands.

Above: Bee peeping (Image by Gordon, used under CC BY 2.0 licence)

Above: Bee peeping (Image by Gordon, used under CC BY 2.0 licence)

It’s us humans who seem too busy to communicate. We believe we don’t have time to spell or say entire words. And hence we abbreviate.

And that was why, many years ago, a colleague told me he was taking a day off to get an RCT. I had no idea what he meant, and to be honest I was a bit afraid to ask. It turned out he had to go to the dentist to get a root canal, but was too busy to say so (the T in RCT is for treatment, in case you’re wondering).

I’m sure I’m not the only person who has heard people asking for the WC when they are looking for a loo, restroom, washroom, toilet, bog, lavatory. So many words to choose from – so why “WC”? Sometimes I want to ask if they’re enquiring about the World Cup. No? Workers’ Compensation, maybe? How about White Castle? Worthless Check? Wearable Computing? But I don’t do that, because it’s cruel when someone is suffering a dire emergency.

Then there’s KISS. I don’t know why people feel clever when they use it, considering they feel compelled to immediately follow up by spelling it out (“Keep It Simple, Silly” – ha, ha, ha). Another of my pet peeves is PFA. Seriously? At Indian internet speeds, you can type “please see the attached file” 100 times while waiting for your 50 KB Word document to upload. The problem does not seem to be lack of time. Looks more like laziness to me.

Are there any abbreviations that make you gnash your teeth? Email us or leave a comment below!


Above image by Arden (used under CC BY 2.0 licence)

Check out previous Word Nerd posts here!


By BrainGain Staff Writer

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