Sunday, August 6, 2006

Unfortunate Acronyms in the News

We're always amazed (and often amused) at how often an unfortunate acronym is developed to refer to a concept or organization.

Last month, the US organization National Association of Local Government Auditors (NALGA), based in Lexington, Kentucky, decided to change its name to Association of Local Government Auditors (ALGA). Why the change? Well, "nalga" in Spanish means "butt" or "rump" which made the organization the butt (pun intended) of too many jokes and pranks. If this wasn't bad enough, the organization only owned the .org version of the NALGA domain name. Someone else owns the .com version of the site, and it has nothing to do with government auditors! You can read more at ALGA's new website,

In another recent acronym incident, the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) is trying to revoke the vanity plate owned by 74 year old Pat Niple. For the last 10 years, her plate read "NWTF" which referred to her business, Northwood Tree Farm. The Ohio BMV is apparently saying she can't use NWTF because it could be Internet/chat slang for "Now What the F***"! Never mind that NWTF also refers to "National Wild Turkey Federation" and has over a dozen other perfectly legitimate meanings. There is an BMV appeal process, so it will be interesting to see if she wins.

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Florence said...

Not that it matters too much - in my (Slovene) language alga means seaweed or algae.
Greetings from Cvetka, Ljubljana, Slovenia, Europe

Unknown said...

ALGA also means algae in Spanish, although I concur: NALGA is way, way worse.

But when it comes to unfortunate acronyms, few can compare to Philippines guerrilla Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). Yes. Exactly.

Freelancer said...

In Bahasa Indonesia, alga means also seaweed.