Did you know…?

The word acronym is itself an acronym:

Abbreviated Chronological Reorganisation of Old, New and Young Mustards.


It’s easy to look askance at them now, what with the proliferation of LOLs, TLAs and their like, but before acronyms existed, the world moved at a much slower pace. Indeed, a number of prominent historians have attributed the Industrial Revolution at least in part to the invention of acronyms.

More History

Acronyms were first developed in 1878 by a secret consortium of manufacturers of mustard and other condiments (note that condiments should not be confused with their fresh-in-the-mouth prophylactic homonyms, although both are best when ingested orally, and garlic-flavoured condiments are equally effective as prophylactics, and thus promoted by certain religious groups in their cuisine.)


This condiment cabal were attempting to corner the market relating to congealed foodstuffs, but had been hampered in their efforts previously by unreadable meeting minutes, containing – as they did – long and unwieldy food additive names like polypropylene glycol copolymers, acetylated distarch phosphate, beta-apo-8′-carotenic acid ethyl ester, sodium hexamethaphosphate and disodium ethylenediaminetetraacetate (which is a right mouthful, but don’t dare get it in your mouth!).

Meeting Minutes

Earlier attempts to shorten these terms using a system of winking and bird calls floundered on an inability of these captains of industry to control their twitchy eyebrows, not to mention which, it was difficult to capture these subtleties in written form.

Eyebrows, aka curtains to the windows to the soul

Some brief definitions follow…

Mustard: A plant. Also a hot sauce, but not like hot sauce, which is something different produced by the same conglomerates and the same ingredients but a different tasteless food colouring.

Note: Although it is not as tough as diamond, many things cannot cut the mustard, so beware when using ‘the good cutlery’.

Note: Mustard is also very keen, like some people’s sense of smell. Mustard is not, however, a sense of smell, but it is a colour, and goes very well with plum.

See? ¡Que bueno!

Note: Mustard the condiment does not go well with plum; it goes well with canard, as mentioned previously, and with honey, in a glaze. A glaze is a faraway look that comes over one after imbibing too much honey and mustard, and can be liberally applied to bacon before putting it in the oven at 180 Centigrade.

Canard: An unfounded untruth, from the French for a live partially-flighted duck-billed meat-and-pillow-stuffing container.

Willard: Much more than just a slightly creepy name belonging to butlers and psychopaths with mother issues, Willard is also an effusive interjection used by hooligans when their footy team’s nastiest player attempts to saw off the right leg of the opposing team’s most talented player, using only his studs and his not-insignificant inner rage (perhaps brought on by being named something thoroughly unsuited to his profession…  Willard, for example). See also, double’arddoublard.

Shouldard: involuntary cutaneous reaction brought on by contemplation of fellows like Willard.

We can remember the differences and similarities in this famous doublet:

Mustard and canard may go together,

but willard and shouldard are never forever.

And ever. Amen.

— Bob Marley ft. J Christ and the Apostle John


How about you? Do you agree?

Have you ever read words on a screen and thought, I can understand this, even though if I close my eyes, all of this fades away into dark nothingness and oh my God is there even a purpose to living?

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