Education: The Agonies of Acronymania

Today's acronyms, designed to be time-and labor-saving devices, are often harder to use than the words they are meant to replace. Consider the monsters that the Navy alone has spawned: EP-DOPAC (Enlisted Personnel Distribution Office-Pacific Fleet) and PAMIPAC (Personnel Accounting Machine Installation-Pacific Fleet). Worse, they have now grown so prolific that MAD may stand for anything from Mutual Assured Destruction to the New York Stock Exchange symbol for the Madison Fund —with 13 other alternatives in between.

Constant Hazard. The very word acronym is a neologism, which a Bell Laboratories researcher created in 1943 from the Greek akros (tip) and onyma (name)....

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