Thursday, October 30, 2008

Specious tidbits ultimately providing incorrect details

When my assistant told S, the Spanish teacher, I was going to be on "Game Show!", S immediately asked me:

"What acronym does wow stand for?"

I was bemused. "In what context?" I asked, thinking she was thinking of the name of some group or event.

"Just the word wow, what does it stand for?"

"I have no idea," I said.

She smiled proudly. "Wonder of wonders."

This is a woman who, as she will eagerly tell you, has read not a single book in two years. She's not very educated and is satisfied with simple explanations for things, so she's the perfect target for those totally retarded emails about word origins and for that old stand-by for the gullible, backronyms.

Wow is not derived from "wonder of wonders."

And, from the same general bag, golf isn't derived from "gentlemen only, ladies forbidden." And posh (probably) isn't from "port outward, starboard home."

Remember: if the word origin is cutesy and easy to remember, it's probably specious. So don't pass it on; let it stop. (That's Stationary Totally, Onward Prohibited.)


Michael5000 said...

You forgot to mention that "fuck" definitely does not come from an abreviation for "For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge."

Is that Tom Waits in your banner?

Chance said...

Fuck! I missed it!

Yes, that's old Tom.