What Does Backronym Mean?

The term “backronym” is a portmanteau of the words backward and acronym. Bacronyms happen when people ascribe individual word structures to an acronym, rather than the other way around. For this reason, the backronym is often called a “reverse acronym.”


Techopedia Explains Backronym

Backronyms can be minted in a number of ways. Many online definitions suggest that backronyms are usually based on either humor or “folk etymology.” One common example of a backronym is when NASA named an ISS treadmill the Combined Operational Load-Bearing External Resistance Treadmill (COLBERT) after Stephen Colbert. In other instances, people might create a backronym to criticize the functionality of something. For a theoretical example, workers producing an engine or machine part under the brand “DWA” might say the letters stand for “Doesn’t Work At All.”


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…