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Thursday, 15 October 2009


This is a fantastic website with so many great ideas encapsulated in different word forms e.g. initialisms, acronyms, and general abbreviations.

Here are a few of my favoutites:


Brotherhood Of Man (under the) Fatherhood Of God. Paternalistic - and thoroughly patronising - expression of traditional values still held by many, including some who lead us. Accepting modern politically correct adaptations, BOMFOG attitudes typically sit snugly alongside the marginalisation of women and all other historically brow-beaten groups. Nowadays more importantly, BOMFOG thinking undermines humankind's independence and development. Nigel Rees, the commentator and language expert refers to BOMFOG as an acronym for a pompous meaningless generality. This interpretation - and the wider implications of BOMFOG - have a very relevant modern resonance with a certain arrogant deluded leadership style (akin to Theory Y, but altogether more deeply insidious) that we often see in the western world, which seeks to suppress and control all good and honest folk - people like you and me, capable of mature independent thoughts and actions of far greater purity and truth than those exhibited by our leaders, supported incidentally by much of our media. Leadership - and government, and any organized system - should be a force for genuine individual aspiration and emotional maturity. Regrettably however many sorts of leadership - especially of significant scale - eventually degenerate into control, manipulation, sham, and BOMFOG principles. By the way the term BOMFOG is linked most famously with certain very grand quotes attributed to the Rockerfellers (Nelson and John D) around the mid 1900s, generally pronouncing how a new world can be established, based on their own (superior, western, 'enlightened') view of life, and the assumption that holding such a view somehow includes the right to impose it on others. Sounds familiar?...


Bitch, Moan and Whine/Whinge. Behaviour that can be exhibited by a group when stressed, demotivated or unhappy with their situation. Also a common subject area in meetings where the purpose and facilitation perhaps requires a more a positive focus or perspective. (Ack Denise) If you are a manager or team leader and ever find yourself having to handle a BMW session, give the group encouragement, responsibility and suitable freedom to identify and pursue constructive response, change and improvement. Focus on positive response rather than blame. Here are a couple of helpful quotes in this connection: "You have a choice whether to be part of the steam roller or part of the road.." (unknown) and "If you're not part of the solution you must be part of the problem.." (the commonly paraphrased version of the original quote: "What we're saying today is that you're either part of the solution, or you're part of the problem.." by Eldridge Cleaver 1935-98, founder member and information minister of the Black Panthers, American political activist group, in a speech in 1968). More relevant motivational quotes are on the quotes page. BMW is also interpreted in some police circles (ack P&J) as Break My Windows, being a reflection of the car make's tendency to attract envious attack, either through envy or because the mark is a favourite among gangsters who attract aggressive attentions. Additionally (ack Ed P) BMW is interpreted to form other ironic meanings such as the somewhat offensive Built by Migrant Workers; the irresitibly smile-inducing Big-up My Willy, and probably funniest of all to the folk who particularly resent the car brand and what they think it stands for: Bought Mainly by Wankers. There are some other automotive-related interpretations of BMW in the automotive aconyms list, interestingly including (ack G Boyle) Bersten Mal Wieder, which is apparently used by German folk, and means 'Bust Again'.


Come Home I'm Pregnant. Another acronym gem from the 2nd World War, and potentially applicable today for husbands on prolonged residential training courses, drilling rigs and overseas work assignments - see also ITALY, HOLLAND, SWALK, BURMA and NORWICH, etc. (Thanks Sandy Fox)


Currently Residing In The Where Are They Now File. The full expression perhaps originated, certainly features and achieved prominence in Rob Reiner's 1984 classic rock band spoof masterpiece movie This is Spinal Tap. A radio DJ refers to the band in this way. It's not the most easy to pronounce acronym, but is a fine example of the genre nevertheless. The term is widely applicable for all ideas, fashions, trends, personalities, must-haves, etc., which were once actually or hoped to be significant, but are now lost, hidden or conveniently forgotten. Use it to illustrate the fleeting nature of success, the whimsical nature of swarming humankind, or the fact, simply, that every dog has its day. What can seem in people's lives utterly crucial today, will almost certainly be insignificant given a little time. (Thanks P Smith for suggesting it.) See the CRITWATNF game.


Do I Look Like I Give A Flying Fig? Polite version. Alternatively again DILLIGAF, which omits the 'Flying' element. And the variation (ack A Burger) Does It Look Like I Give A Fig? The possibilities are almost endless. Popularly used for emphasising a lack of time or concern for a particular issue arising. DILLIGAFF illustrates a personal view which could result from pure apathy, or more excusably from having more essential responsibilities and priorities, hence the expression's use in the modern heathcare industry, and similar sectors where there's more demand than resource to meet it. DILLIGAFF is the opposite to empathy, and can also be used to illustrate the 'apathetic worker' syndrome. (Ack Dr N Roney and S Didlick and the many others.)


Elated Darling, I'm Near, Book Usual Room, Grand Hotel. Lovers code from way back. You see, people have been using social and flirting short-hand for generations - before texting was ever imagined, see also SWALK, NORWICH, etc.


Fecal Air Rectally Transmitted. Daft and amusing restrospectively devised acronym, so it's technically a 'backronym'. The word fart in fact is derived from Old High German 'ferzan' (pronounced fertsan) from older Germanic roots 'fertan', both of which are clearly onomatopoeic (sounds like what it is), as is the modern-day word, unchanged in English since the 1200s. Words and language might change over time, but the sound of a fart is one of life's more enduring features.

And many, many more!!

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