56 Acronyms and Initials All Spelled Out


So that's what it stands for!

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1. If you've ever been caught staring at your zipper and wondering what YKK stands for, it's Yoshida Kogyo Kabushikikaisha, which roughly translates to Yoshida Company Limited. Also, your fly is down.

2. TASER stands for Thomas A. Swift's Electric Rifle.

3. The greatest name in the history of clothing and outdoor recreational equipment is Leon Leonwood Bean.

4. 3M is an abbreviation of Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing.

5. M&M's stands for Mars and Murrie's. (That is, Forrest Mars and Bruce Murrie.) Before you think that M&M's are some confectionery American dream, Mars and Murrie were the sons, respectively, of the Mars and Hershey fortunes. And while we're on the subject of chocolate brand named origins, the Three Musketeers originally included three smaller bars: one vanilla, one chocolate, and one strawberry, but when the ingredients became too expensive during World War II, the Three Musketeers became all chocolate.

6. The "Q" in Q-tips stands for Quality. They were originally called "Baby Gays."

7. BMW? Bavarian Motor Works.

8. Smart Car began as a collaboration between Swatch and Mercedes, and sounds better than "Swatch-Mercedes Art Car."

9. ASICS gets it's name from the Latin phrase "Anima Sana In Corpore Sano" - Mispronouncing things is my THING! - which means "A sound mind in a sound body." Which is pretty high-brow for shoes that look like THIS.

10. ADIDAS is not short for "All Day I Dream About Soccer." The name comes from founder Adi Dassler.

11. TCBY now means "The Country's Best Yogurt," but it once meant "This Can't Be Yogurt," until they were sued by rival frozen yogurt concern "I Can't Believe It's Yogurt." 

12. The "A" and "W" of "A&W" are Roy Allen and Frank Wright.

13. Frederick August Otto Schwarz founded his famous toy store with his brothers, but then cut them out of the naming rights. In a related story, the vlogbrothers channel on YouTube shall now be know as "John Green is the greatest. Hank is poopy."

14. The "R" in Toys R Us isn't an initial; it's just bad grammar. However, the Toys R Us mascot, Geoffrey, pictured here, here, and here - God, we love giraffes on this show - used to be known as Doctor G. Raffe. And his liver looks like that!

15. The "K" in K-mart stands for Kresge, for founder Sebastian S. Kresge.

16. The "J.C." in J.C. Penney stands for James Cash.

17. When you say you're going to the "ATM Machine" to type in your...

18. ..."PIN Number," you are being redundant. Also, you are saying an unnecessary number of words.

19. Michael J. Fox's middle name? ...Andrew.

20. Wander over to your bookshelf and you'll find an alphabet soup of writers' initials. Like, before writing Catcher in the Rye and becoming all reclusive, Jerome David Salinger worked as an entertainer on a cruise ship.

21. Elwyn Brooks White, of Charlotte's Web fame, also the White behind Strunk&White, the famous English-language style guide.

22. The November 22, 1963, death of Clive Staples Lewis was overshadowed by the death of another famous person known by his initials: JFK (John Fitzgerald Kennedy).

23. Then there's Howard Phillips Lovecraft

24. John Ronald Reuel Tolkien

25. Pelham Grenville Wodehouse

26. Thomas Stearns Eliot

27. David Herbert Lawrence

28. Herbert George Wells. No wonder these people went by their initials!

29. Lucy Maud Montgomery

30. James Matthew Barrie

31. Wystan Hugh Auden

32. Alan Alexander Milne

33. Philip Dey Eastman

34. Hunter Stockton Thompson

35. and Philip Kindred Dick. Let's just pause for a moment and thank Phillip K. Dick's parents. Good people.

36. All right, I'll do a couple more: Arthur Charles Clark

37. Edward Estlin Cummings

38. Joanne Rowling didn't have a middle name, so when her publishers wanted another initial, she gave herself a "K" for "Kathleen," which was the name of her favorite grandma. By the way: Harry James Potter, Hermione Jean Granger, and Ginger Bilius Whatshisface.

39. If you want a career in politics, particularly a career in American presidential politics, you're gonna need a good middle initial, like James Knox Polk...

40. or Rutherford Birchard Hayes

41. or Chester Alan Arthur

42. or James Abram Garfield

43. or Warren Gamaliel Harding

44. The "M" in Richard M. Nixon stands for Milhous. Everything's coming up Milhous.

45. And Harry Truman's middle name? Just "S."

46. Someone worked extremely hard to make USA PATRIOT Act an acronym. It stands for "Uniting & Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept & Obstruct Terrorism."

47. The ZIP in ZIP Code is Zone Improvement Plan.

48. GEICO was originally short for "Government Employees Insurance Company."

49. The speaker company JBL is named for founder James Bullough Lansing. Bullow? Bulluff? BullOG? Beuloff? I'm sure one of his descendants is going to let me know.

50. CVS originally stood for Consumer Value Stores; over time, it just became CVS.

51. H&M is Hennes & Mauritz.

52. The shipping company DHL is named for founders Adrian Dalsey, Larry Hillblom, and Robert Lynn.

53. The abrasive cleaning pad SOS means "Save Our Saucepans."

54. SCUBA means Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus.

55. LASER means Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation.

56. And, lastly, DFTBA, of course, stands for "Darling, Fetch the Battle Axe." And "Don't Forget to Be Awesome."