21 Words You Probably Forgot Are Short For Something

Don’t get me wrong — abbreviations are THE BEST, but sometimes they make us forget things that are even more awesome. Like, why would anyone ever want to stop saying “cabriolet”?

1. Taxicab = Taximeter + Cabriolet

2. Emoticon = Emotive (emotion) Icon

Emoticons can be traced back to 19th century satirists, but the contemporary digital emoticon was credited in 1982 to Scott Fahlman of Carnegie Mellon University.

4. Smog = Smoke + Fog

5. Velcro = The French Words “Velours” (Velvet) + “Crochet” (Hook)

This is what Velcro looks like up close, btw.

6. Tanzania = Tanganyika & Zanzibar

In 1964, The United Republic of Tanganyika joined with the islands of Zanzibar to form United Republic of Tanzania.

7. Motel = Motor (Motorists’) Hotel

8. Microsoft = Microcomputer + Software

9. Movie = Moving Picture

10. Chortle = Chuckle + Snort

11. Taser = Thomas A Swift Electric Rifle

“Dont Thomas A Swift Electric Rifle me, bro”

12. Pixel = Picture Element

13. Vitamin = Vital + Amine

Coined in 1912 by the Polish biochemist Kazimierz Funk, the term comes from vital amine, meaning amine of life.

14. Bit = Binary + Digit

15. New York Knicks = Knickerbockers

The term refers to the style of pants worn by Dutch settlers in the 1600s. They were rolled up just below the knee and these came to be known as “knickerbockers” or “knickers.”

16. Snark = Snide + Remark

18. OK = Oll Korrect??

NOBODY KNOWS!! Some theories include that it comes from an abbreviation fad that began in Boston in 1838 when humorists began using exaggerated misspellings. Some have suggested the term goes further back and is of Choctaw Indian and/or West African origin.

19. Cyborg = Cybernetic + Organism

Lester Cohen / WireImage

20. Newt Gingrich = Newton Gingrich

His full name is actually Fig Newton Gingrich.

New York Magazine asks 100 random Americans, “What Is Newt Short For?”

21. And one Tumblr user’s brilliant finding:


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