Reverse engineering acronyms

I was thinking about yesterday’s post and wondering just how difficult it is to reverse engineer an acronym. For example, even knowing the general context, could you actually look at the acronym NOW and figure out that it stands for “National Organization of Women?” Or is the search space simply too large?

It’s certainly easy enough to construct acronyms:

Any Clever Rubric Of Neologisms You Might Suggest,
Awfully Corny, Rather Often Nutty (Yes, Maybe Silly),
Alas Clearly Representing Odd, Not Yet Mature Sensibilities
And Casual Rituals Of Nerdy Young Masochistic Semanticians.

But going the other way is a lot trickier. Even if you already knew the context in which they were written, would you be able to look at “AWOL” or “OMG” or “KISS” and figure out their individual component words?


2 thoughts on “Reverse engineering acronyms”

  1. Ah, very clever!

    You got it exactly right except for the last two words.

    If you figure out the right replacement for those last two words, then you will reveal the entire story of why this seemingly innocuous action is sometimes seen as a “crime” in many parts of America.

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