Do You Know What These Common Acronyms Stand For?


By: Zoe Samuel

6 Min Quiz

Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

A, B, C, D, E, F, G... won't you take this quiz with me? In the world of speech, you're often forced to say whole words, but not in this quiz! From IDK to ASAP, do you know what these common acronyms stand for?

When it comes to language, there are common phrases that everyone is always saying. In the world of literature, authors are talking about points of view. In the army, soldiers are worried about others leaving with no notice. For a wedding invitation, the bride and groom are asking that you please respond. Through all these situations, all the phrases have been shortened to a few short letters.

In the professional world, these acronyms were used and continue to be used quite often, but the rise and fall of T9 and the phenomenon of texting has increased the number of abbreviations ten-fold.

For those who need to step away, they're probably saying BRB (be right back). Before you let your thoughts be known, you might be telling a friend IMHO (in my honest opinion). The world of acronyms has boomed, and when you think about all the possibilities, it's possible to create entire sentences with them! 

The RSVP dates are TBA. Let me know your ETA ASAP. Hopefully, you don't need help on this quiz because you'll have to DIY. Can you solve these common acronyms? Let's find out!

What is IANAL?

I am not a lawyer is a common internet expression meaning you're answering a question that might have legal implications, and don't want to to be held accountable, should the other person then act on what you told them.


What is EOD?

This is a short way to say that something will be delivered by "end of day". It is technically distinct from "EOBD" which means "end of business day" and could refer to having something in before midnight. Just make sure your colleague knows what you mean!


What is LOL?

This acronym is one of the most common. In its early days, some less-connected people thought it meant "lots of love", resulting in a story of a lady who texted dozens of relatives to inform them that, "Tragically, Granddad has passed. Laugh out loud." Oops!


What is CYS?

This is what you say to someone who is having trouble seeing a video or downloading an attachment, and the problem might be that their computer is set up incorrectly.


What is SJW?

Social justice warrior is a term to describe an earnest person who is (allegedly) so keen on social justice that they might sometimes become a little annoying about it. It was coined as an insult by people who do not agree with this approach and has since been reclaimed.



This is the catchphrase of "Ace" Rimmer, the super-cool and sexy alter ego of Arnold Rimmer. Rimmer is a rather pathetic second-level technician on the mining ship Red Dwarf, who winds up living as a hologram after a radiation leak kills the whole crew. His alter ego hails from an alternate universe where he was held back a year in school and became inspired to work extra hard. SMAKIBBFB is only used by deeply nerdy - and extremely awesome - people, who are typically also fans of Doctor Who.


What is POV?

Point of view is an acronym used in movie scripts to designate a shot that is from a character's perspective. It is also used to describe seeing something from someone's perspective, as in, "From his POV, you can see why he would be curious."


What is AWOL?

This is a military term, and it's a big deal. Going AWOL is a great way to be dishonorably discharged and maybe even court-martialled.


What is TBH?

TBH is a common internet acronym dating from the time of early SMS texting, when texters were limited to only 160 characters per text.


What is a SEAL?

SEALs are a key part of the US Navy, and are trained to operate on sea, in the air, and on land. Do not mess with them: they're the best of the best!


What's an APB?

An all points bulletin is what happens when a criminal is at large. It has a little summary of the crime, the suspect, and where they were seen last.


What is ETA?

ETA used to mean estimated time of arrival solely. It does now also mean "edited to add," which is what you say in an online post that you subsequently changed.


What is FAQ?

An FAQ section on a website or in a company handbook or similar, is a good way of not having to answer the same queries again and again. It can be as scant or as detailed as required.


What is PS?

A postscript is an additional point added after the bulk of a text, usually below the signature. Sometimes it clarifies something; sometimes it's a way of including something you just left out.


What is SOS?

Save our souls is one of the shortest messages you can send in Morse, being just one dash, one dot, and one dash. It's what you send when your ship or plane is in trouble, and you don't have time to get more specific. It means, "please send aid!"


What is MIA?

MIA is a military acronym that has now joined common parlance. It is a horrible thing to be, no matter your workplace - but usually, when it happens in a regular office, the odds are you come back in one piece.


What is BYOB?

Bring your own bottle is what you tell guests on an invitation to a party where you can't afford to cater all the alcohol yourself. It's not considered rude at all; since most of your friends are awesome folks who would never show up empty-handed anyway.


What is EQ?

EQ is shorthand for "emotional intelligence," despite the fact that it has a "Q" in it. This is because it is derived from IQ, which means "intelligence quotient." EQ was coined as a term to describe a sort of intelligence that isn't about raw computing power, but is instead about how well a person connects to and reads other people - a valuable trait (or skill) indeed!


What is DIY?

DIY refers to home repairs or arts and crafts that you do when you don't want to hire someone - either because you're feeling thrifty, because you enjoy a challenge, or because you want something with true sentimental value.


What is TBA?

TBA is what you say when something is decided but yet to be announced.


What is FYI?

FYI is one of the most common acronyms in use today. When used politely, it's a way of drawing someone's attention to a fact, as in, "FYI, the meeting is in Jane's office." When used insultingly, it's a way of sarcastically telling them something that should be obvious, as in, "You're standing on my foot, just FYI."


What is NAFTA?

NAFTA is a free trade agreement negotiated by legislators and executives from both sides of the aisle. It has been controversial since its signing, and it is possible that it may be altered in the near future, though it is not clear when or how.


What is RADAR?

RADAR was invented in 1935 in Britain by a scientist, Sir Robert Watson-Watt, with a delightfully scientific-sounding last name. Watson-Watt's invention was used to detect enemies coming by sea or air.


What is SCUBA?

SCUBA was invented by French scientists, Émile Gagnan and Jacques-Yves Cousteau. It was commonly called an aqualung, but SCUBA is so fun to say that it soon became the more popular choice.


What is SWAT?

A SWAT team is a heavily armed and highly trained police team sent in to handle dangerous situations, such as when there are hostages to be rescued. They are borderline military and are not deployed lightly.


What is a CARE package?

CARE was founded to send relief from relatively unscathed Americans to European relatives or friends whose lives had been turned upside down by the war. It is now called Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere.


What is a BAE?

A bae is like a boo, it's true, but unlike a boo, it is an acronym. It means this is your special boo and comes before all the other people in your life. It's a fine thing to have one - and an equally fine thing to be one!


What is NIMBY?

NIMBYism is when the locals organize to object to something new in their area. This might be a legitimate complaint, like not wanting a coal mine to open next to a primary school, or it might be a rather dodgy issue of simply not wanting people who don't look like them to live nearby. Sometimes, a NIMBY is merely protecting something they love; other times they are small-minded.


What is IMAX?

IMAX is more expensive due to the monstrous size of the screen and the more immersive nature of the experience - but some people think they're paying another $10-15 on top of the regular movie ticket just to get a monster headache.


What is WD-40?

WD-40 is an oil and water-displacing spray invented in 1953. It took 40 versions to get the recipe right, hence the name.


What does M&M stand for?

Mars and Murrie were the inventors of M&Ms, but wisely made the candy small enough to only fit their shared first initial on the shell.


What is YAHOO?

While it is a popular tech geek joke that Yahoo stands for "Yet Another Hierarchical Official Oracle", it is just the name of the company.


What does SMART stand for (as in the car)?

The SMART car was a hybrid brought to market by Swatch watches and Mercedes. The name is a portmanteau, and the car is pretty darn awesome.


What is RSVP?

This is a French saying, meaning literally "please reply." It's what you do when someone invites you to a party. In the age of Facebook, the idea of "maybe" as a legit RSVP has entered common parlance - but many partying purists would never contemplate sending anything but a hard yes or no!


What is HOLLAND?

HOLLAND was one of many salacious acronyms sent during WW2. Others included NORWICH - "(k)nickers off ready when I come home"; and EGYPT -%0D"my ardent lips await your arrival". Since telegrams charged by the word or even the character, brevity was key!


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