Author Topic: Words you dind't know were acronyms  (Read 946 times)

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Offline Retired AF Guy

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Words you dind't know were acronyms
« on: May 14, 2019, 20:15:17 »
Under the you learn something new every day:

Two Words You Might Not Know Were Acronyms
May 14, 2019, 2:04 pm

I am on the road but trying to stay in the blogging habit so this is a bit of a throwaway.  But anyway...

You probably know words like SCUBA, SNAFU, laser, lidar,  and sonar are all acronyms.  But here are two you might not know about:

The first word is "posh," which generally means a luxury experience (or Beckham's wife).  But it was originally an acronym for ship voyages from the UK to India.  Because it was a hot trip and there was no air conditioning, the best cabins were on the north side of the ship (at least above the equator) or the east side of the ship (ie facing away from the heat of the afternoon sun).  This would be the port side going to India and the starboard side coming home.  So to get the best cabin you asked for port out, starboard home or "POSH".

The other word is "Pakistan" which is the name of the country that split from India in 1947.  As India was approaching independence, Muslims (who were quite numerous all over in India but particularly in the northwest and the far east) proposed the new states formed form the old British Empire in India include a Muslim state.    They were seeking a state made up of the Muslim-majority whole provinces of Punjab, Afghan, Kashmir, Indus, and Sind.  This forms the acronym PAKIS-tan with the "tan" meaning "land of".  The word Pakistan also means "land of the pure" in Sanskrit.    It was a powerful piece of branding.

As a postscript, these 5 provinces were all in the west.  The original Pakistan also included parts of the state of Bengal in the east which formed East Pakistan.  East Pakistan was actually more populous than the West but the West tended to dominate the country's leadership, leading to E. Pakistan breaking away in the early 70's to form Bangladesh.  The entirety of these 5 states in the acronym were not included in the final borders of Pakistan.  In particular, Kashmir was divided between Pakistan and India and has been the site of a lot of fighting between the two countries over the last 70 years (queue Led Zeppelin song).

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Offline Dimsum

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Re: Words you dind't know were acronyms
« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2019, 20:35:44 »
That was pretty interesting.  The article prior to that on the blog "Kudos to Kim Kardashian" is actually pretty interesting as well - and probably a good lesson that people's crafted personas in social media aren't always true.
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Offline stoker dave

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Re: Words you dind't know were acronyms
« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2019, 07:53:01 »
The origin of the word "posh" as indicated above is an urban legend.

Offline Blackadder1916

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Re: Words you dind't know were acronyms
« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2019, 12:47:23 »
And while the blogger whose interests range from the Kardashians to the etymology of nations' names got the gist of the "Pakistan" story generally correct, if he had done the simplest of research he would have found a more complete explanation.

The term PAKISTAN was first used in a document in 1933 by Choudhary Rahmat Ali, the self-titled "Founder, Pakiistan National Movement", who wrote  ". . . PAKISTAN by which we mean the five Northern units of India viz: Punjab, North-West Frontier Province (Afghan Province), Kashmir, Sind, and Baluchistan."

Mr. Ali was at Cambridge when he was credited with inventing the name of his future nation.  Though a significant figure in the Pakistan nationalist struggle, he was exiled soon after partition and died in 1951, back in Cambridge, England.  And while his "Pakistan" entered common use, his term for South Asia - "Dinia" (an anagram of India) - did not.
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