An acronym is a word created from the initial letters of several words that make up the name of something. Many acronyms are TLAs (Three Letter Acronyms). Technically, the letters should form a word itself, as in ASH (Action on Smoking and Health) or MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving), otherwise it's an initialism, or even an abbreviation, but let's not get purist.
Acronyms can be very useful, if you're familiar with them, but if you've no idea what they stand for, they're damned annoying. I've always loved them; and my life changed for the better one day years ago when a colleague introduced me to acronymfinder.com.
My friend works in a business (the construction industry) that loves them, too. He favours ECI (Early Contractor Involvement) in projects that may include TBMs (Tunnel Boring Machines) and often necessitate NCRs (Non Conformance Reports). I once looked over an important document to be used in litigation by a company he worked for in Denmark (I was a copy editor in book publishing in those days). It had been written by English-speakers but it still took me half an hour to proofread a page.
The Aussies love acronyms even more. Listening to ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) News, you'll need a basic grounding in current acronym usage otherwise you won't know what they're on about... even in a traffic report. You'll hear about congestion on the ICB (Inner City Bypass) and in the CBD (Central Business District) and maybe by the RWH (Royal Women's Hospital) on the Lutwyche Road.
This summer in Queensland has been dominated by harsh weather: we've had serious flooding in SEQ (South East Queensland), although the GC (Gold Coast, below) escaped; and FNQ (Far North Queensland) experienced the scariest category 5 STC (Severe Tropical Cyclone) in living memory. Watching the massive storm's approach on BOM's (Bureau of Meteorology) radar maps was disturbing. The system extended inland as far as the border with NT (Northern Territory), which is practically unheard of. The SES (State Emergency Services) were outstanding throughout. There are fears about the impact of both these events on the GBR (Great Barrier Reef).
Elsewhere in recent weeks there have been floods in NSW (New South Wales) and northern Victoria. Fortunately the GOR (Great Ocean Road) was spared a weather catastrophe. And there have been raging bushfires in WA (Western Australia). ACT (Australian Capital Territory) and SA (South Australia) seem to have escaped so far.
When we first moved to Queensland we were warned about controversial issues such as DST (Daylight Saving Time*); the MDB (Murray Darling Basin**); and ATSIs (Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islanders). We witnessed a federal election last winter and that highlighted a whole host of other issues. The ALP (Australian Labour Party) and the LNP (Liberal National Party) locked horns over the NBN (National Broadband Network); IDPs (Indigenous Displaced Persons); MDGs (Millenium Development Goals); IR (Industrial Relations); the impact of the GFC (Global Financial Crisis... or more likely Geelong Football Club if you live in Victoria); OC (Organised Crime); and the processing of asylum seekers in PNG (Papua New Guinea). Unfortunately, there was precious little debate about AGW (Anthropogenic Global Warming)... or RIFAs (Red Imported Fire Ants) for that matter.
If you live here, you have to have EFTPOS (Electronic Financial Transaction at Point of Sale) in order to go shopping, when you might venture into BCF (Boating Camping Fishing) or BWS (Beer Wine Spirits). Be careful in the latter, however, because they have RBTs (Random Breath Tests) in Australia. Never mess with the QPS (Queensland Police Service) or the ATO (Australian Tax Office). And make sure you know what PWD (People With Disability) signs mean.
If you live in the outback, you're sure to have an ATV (All Terrain Vehicle) and you may even own an ACD (Australian Cattle Dog).
Wherever you are, there'll be an RSL (Returned and Services League) club, where you can hang out – not worrying about having to BYO (Bring Your Own) liquor – and talk about sport, principally the AFL (Australian Football League), which isn't football as the rest of the world knows it, of course. This summer you might have got excited about the Ashes, and even been to the MCG (Melbourne Cricket Ground) or SCG (Sydney Cricket Ground). If you couldn't get a ticket, you could have followed it OBO (Over By Over) on the SMH (Sydney Morning Herald) website. The Ashes were quickly followed by ODIs (One Day Internationals).
Some people like acronyms so much they claim the word acronym is an acronym – Abbreviated Coded Rendition of Name Yielding Meaning. Clever-arse acronymising is the very worst acronymic sin, IMHO†.
* Queenslanders are divided on whether or not to stick with AEST (Australian Eastern Standard Time) all year round or observe DST during the southern hemisphere summer
** A huge river catchment extending into QLD, NSW, SA and Victoria, covering 1,061,469 square kilometres, or 14 per cent of Australia's landmass, and containing more than 40 per cent of the country's farms, hence its nickname, the 'food basket of Australia'. The MDBC (Murray Darling Basin Commission) steers a perilous course between profitability and sustainability in the management of the region's resources
† In My Humble Opinion