In the last few days, during the course of day-to-day work, I’ve come across a whole load of new TLAs – that is, Three Letter Acronyms – and I thought it might be high time to collect the whole set, so here are the beginnings of my A to Z of TLAs. Do feel free to teach me some more…

A – ASM = Assistant Stage Manager {courtesy of Moblogger OJ and the BBC} or AFP = Advertiser Funded Programming or ACL = Anterior Cruciate Ligament (which footballers damage just when they are most needed) {courtesy of Paul Chappel} or ATV = Automated Transfer Vehicle [launched by the ESA (= European Space Agency) in March 08 bound for the ISS (International Space Station)] or = Appointment to View {courtesy of Hideous Productions} or ADP = Automatic Data Processing or ASD = Autistic Spectrum Disorder {courtesy of Siren’s Cry} or AWS = Amazon Web Services (see 4iP) or API = Compulsory Advance Passenger Information for the Spanish authorities (required if you are flying from the UK, Republic of Ireland, Switzerland or Morocco to Spain) {courtesy of Ryanscrewthemforeverypennyair} + Application Programming Interface or AIG – American International Group or AET = After Extra Time (in sad rememberance of Carling Cup Final 1st March 09 in which Spurs lost on penalties AET) or ATM = Airtime Management (Channel 4) or AFM = American Film Market or ACR = A Certain Ratio (Factory Records band as seen in 24 Hour Party People)

B – BNC = Bayonet Nut Connector (“y’know, the locking connectors like what you use to join co-ax together”) {courtesy of Mat} or BFF = Best Friend Forever {courtesy of Lisa Devaney} or BOF = Beurre Oeufs Fromage [a blackmarketeer in wartime occupied France – read in Murder in the Marais by Carla Black] or BBC = Bucks Boarding Centre {sticker on the tube today 11.1.08} or BAA= British Animation Awards {4mations} or BRB = be right back or BTP = British Transport Police or BOA = British Olympics Association (to mark this first day of the 2008 Beijing Olympics 08/08/08 ) or BEA = British European Airways (BBC Radio 4 1968 Day-by-Day) or BoE = Bank of England (to mark the credit crunch meltdown) or BBW = big breasted woman or BYO = bring your own bottle or BIP = Brand Information Page ( jargon) or BOD = Brian O’Driscoll (in commemoration of Ireland-England 6 Nations international at Croke Park at which BOD scored a telling try and drop goal 28th Feb 09, watched at McKevitt’s in Carlingford) or BME = British Music Experience (launched 3.3.09 by Harvey Goldsmith at the old Millennium Dome) + Black and Minority Ethnic or BFC = Britain’s Forgotten Children, forthcoming season on Channel 4 starting 9.v.09 – not to be confused with BFG = Big Friendly Giant (Roald Dahl) {courtesy of Jodie Morris} or KFC = Kentucky Fried Chicken or BSG = Broadband Stakeholder Group (which I helped establish in 2000) or BSD = Bullshit Detector {courtesy of The Clash – and me} or BSL = British Sign Language {courtesy of OAD Alex Horstmann}

C – CTA = Call to action {courtesy of Adam Preloaded} or CSF = Comic Sans FTypingerror / Cerebro-Spinal Fluid {courtesy of Mobloggers Seaneeboy and Hildegard} or CPF= Close Personal Friend {Mojo – used with irony i.e. celebs/musos you don’t really know properly but pretend you do} or CPR = Courtesy Professionalism Respect {NYPD} or CDO = Collateralized Debt Obligations [what made Goldman Sachs even richer this year – i.e. dumping them] or CBT = Cognitive Behaviourial Therapy or Computer-based Training (so if you do an online course you could find yourself doing CBT CBT) or CSF = Cheltenham Science Festival (where we recently filmed Richard Dawkins speaking on Charles Darwin) or CPO = Chief Petty Officer or CPM = Cost Per Thousand or CIM = Come in Mouth or CPD = (Continuing Professional Development) + Compulsive Price Disclosure [as in ‘Oh this top, £5 from Primark’ or ‘these shoes, £20 in the sale’] {courtesy of Technokitten, she’s outdone herself} or CDN = Content Delivery Network {courtesy of Mint Digital} + Cultural Diversity Network

D – DOG = Digital On-screen Graphic [those watermarky things on the corner of on-line video and digital tv channels] or DTO = Download to Own {courtesy of Gareth RDF} or DIC = Dubai International Capital [who want to dic about with Liverpool FC] / Death is Coming [medical term] or DSS = Dinosaur Space Service [Astrosaurs] or Dgl = Donegal {courtesy of Maura Logue of Ballyshannon} or D2T = Direct to Tribe [“marketingspeak – not 1 to 1, not 1 to many, but 1 to some”] {courtesy of Technokitten} or DCD = Digital Cinema Distribution {courtesy of UK Media Desk} or DRC = “(not so) Democratic Republic of Congo” {courtesy of Practical Psychologist} or DSA = Daily Supplementary Allowance or DPA = Data Protection Act or DFI = Different Fucking Idea (production crew codeword on TV shoots) {courtesy of Sarah Mulvey, Commissioning Editor, Documentaries, Channel 4} or DIY = Don’t Involve Yourself (Roy on The Archers 28Nov08 ) or DFP = Documentary Film Program (1/09 the Channel 4 BRITDOC Foundation and Sundance Film Festival announced a new partnership with the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program to take the innovative documentary pitching forum, the Good Pitch, on the road in North America) or DHC = Director of Hatcheries and Conditioning (Brave New World – Aldous Huxley)

E – EOF = End Of File {courtesy of Mat} or EDP = Education Projects {Pirate, heart of the Kafkaesque bureaucracy of Channel 4 commissioning} or EAB = Education Advisory Board {courtesy of Channel 4 Education – some lovely peeps involved} or ETB = Embarrassing Teen Bodies (coming Oct 08 ) or EPC – Elasto Plastic Concrete {courtesy of Practical Psychologist} or ECM = Editions of Contemporary Music + Every Child Matters or ECB = England & Wales Cricket Board (Wales doesn’t get its dubya) + European Central Bank

F – FRO = fuck right off (as in “I’m going to FRO now” rather than as a term of abuse – courtesy of Cowbite) or FFS = for fuck’s sake or FoI = Freedom of Information or FDR = Franklin Delano Roosevelt or FTW = For The Win (geeks, courtesy of Mike Butcher, TechCrunch) + Fuck The World (bikers) + Forever Two Wheels (motorcycle enthusiasts) or FSA = Football Supporters’ Assocation + Financial Services Authority

G – GSM = Global System for Mobile communications {courtesy of Alfie Dennen} or GEH = Gormley Event Horizon {courtesy of Billy Liar} or GCT = Grand Central Terminal {courtesy of Bronx Elf} or GIB = Government Investigation Bureau {Zac Power} or GTA = Greater Toronto Area {encountered by chance in the Facebook Group ‘Single Muslims looking for their Soulmate in the GTA’} or GOK = God Only Knows [commonly used on doctors’ notes – from The Guardian: Medical Shorthand 8.2.08] or GBS = George Bernard Shaw or GFE = Girl Friend Experience or GBH = Grievous Bodily Harm + Godalming Borough Hall or GPF = Global Protection Force (Jack Stalwart books by Elizabeth Singer Hunt, current favourite of Enfant Terrible #2 – see GIB) or GSE = Grapefruit Seeds Extract {courtesy of Denise on Medicine Chest} or GYO = Grow Your Own (came across thanks to my Landshare project with River Cottage) or GBF = Gay Best Friend (“every girl’s gotta have one”) {courtesy of Kate Quilton}

H – HRD = Human Resource Development {courtesy of Practical Psychologist} or HEI = Higher Education Institution or HoF = House of Fraser (as in “I’m nipping out to HOF”) {courtesy of Alma Demirdzic & Lizzy Keene} or HLC = Hideous Lady’s Cardigan {Nationwide TV ad} or HFR = Horseferry Road or HON = Health on the Net {courtesy of MedicineChest Ltd} or HTH = hope that helps

I – ITB = Invitation to Bid {courtesy of the UN via Practical Psychologist} or ITT = Invitation to Tender {courtesy of Mike Flood Page of Illumina Digital} or ICT = (no, not the dull one but) Inverness Caledonian Thistle (the northerly football team) or IBS = Irritable Bowel Syndrome {Embarrassing Illnesses online, Maverick TV} or IOC = International Olympics Committee [to mark the Olympics hand-over 24.8.08 ] or IED = Improvised Explosive Device (heard in a recent news report about Afghanistan) or ICE = US Immigration & Customs Enforcement (The Visitor) or ITT = Initial Teacher Training or IMO = International Maritime Organisation + In My Opinion or ISA = Intelligent Speed Adaptation (mooted technology for limiting car speeds, in the news 12.08) or IRL = In Real Life {courtesy of Mike Butcher of Techcrunch} + Indy Racing League + Ireland or IoM = Isle of Man (George Best Airport, Belfast) or ICC = International Criminal Court (who yesterday 3.3.09 issued a warrant for the arrest of Omar al Bashir, President of Sudan who then withdrew the licences to operate of various NGOs in a new Waltz with Bashir) or ITF = Indie Training Fund (where I spoke on Multiplatform interactive media yesterday 3.3.09 at the invitation of MFP [Mike Flood Page of Illumina Digital] but unfortunately my taxi arrived at ITF = International Transport Federation, so a real life example of the dangers inherent in TLAs) or IFB = the Irish Film Board aka Bord Scannan na hÉireann or IOT = In Our Time (with Melvyn Bragg on BBC Radio 4)

J – JIT = Just in Time or JLC = Justin Lee Collins {courtesy of Top Gear} or JKG = John Kenneth Galbraith

K – KPS = Kosovo Police School {courtesy of Practical Psychologist} or KTN = Knowledge Transfer Network {courtesy of TSB courtesy of DTI} or KGB = Komitjet Gosudarstvjennoj Bjezopasnosti / Committee for State Security + Knowledge Generation Bureau (owners of 118 118)

L – LDM = Life Defining Moment {courtesy of Practical Psychologist from his new book} or LGR = London Greek Radio (coming to you live&direct from North Finchley) or LSD = Light Space and Drawers [from Skins, when Chris was learning the ropes as a trainee estate agent] or LBD = Little Black Dress or LOL = laugh out loud or LCT = Luxury Car Tuning {courtesy of spam} or LTS = Long Term Solution {courtesy of Daily Networker} or LCC = London Cats Club, a Flickr group I just noticed with one member (go on, help her out) or LHC = Large Hadron Collider [8 Sep 08 to mark the start of a grand experiment] or LFB = London Fire Brigade or LHR = London Heathrow or LBV = Late Bottled Vintage (port)

M – MPU = Mid Page Unit [i knew what they were – flat ad spaces within the editorial content of websites – but had never heard what it stood for] or MSM = Mainstream (offline) Media or MDC = Movement for Democratic Change [who probably should be running Zimbabwe at this point] and Milk Development Council or MPT = Movement Poise Thrill {courtesy of Body Data Space} or MTS = Medium Term Solution {courtesy of Daily Networker} or MAV = Mothers Against Violence as featured in Secret Millionaire (series 3 episode 1 5/8/08 ) or MAC = Motorised Ambulance Convoy [Christopher Landon: Ice Cold in Alex] or MJQ = Modern Jazz Quartet (inspired by listening to Joe Locke {courtesy of Tom Marcello}) or MHQ = Mission Head Quarters {courtesy of Practical Psychologist, just back from a stint with the UN) or MAP = Membership Action Plan (what Georgia & Ukraine need to get into NATO 12.08 ) or MLF = Martha Lane Fox (Channel 4 Non-Exec, fellow member of the C4 EAB = Education Advisory Board) or MTP = My Tiny Plot (which I came across while working on Medicine Chest) or MVP = Most Valuable Player – from NBA via CNN (Lebron James is 08-09 MVP)

N – NTK = No to Knives {courtesy of Royal Armouries} or Need to Know {courtesy of Dave Green} or NGA = Next Generation Access {Broadband Stakeholders’ Group} or NCA = News and Current Affairs {courtesy of Jon Rowlands, Renegade Pictures} or NQR = Not Quite Right [commonly used on doctors’ notes – from The Guardian: Medical Shorthand 8.2.08] or NFI – no fucking idea or NSU – Non-Specific Urethritis (” ’the clap’ to you and me” – courtesy of Practical Psychologist) or NID = Naval Intelligence Division (For Your Eyes Only James Bond exhibition at the Imperial War Museum 1.6.08 ) or NCT = National Car Test, the Irish MOT + National Childbirth Trust or NFI – No Fucking Invite {courtesy of Ed Baker at the video dictionary Wordia} (“when you don’t get invited to a party/gig – and all your friends have been invited” – ‘I’ve been NFI’d’) or NED = Non-Executive Director {courtesy of Martha Lane Fox} + unruly layabout youth (Scottish, most likely derived from acronym for ‘non-educated delinquent’ according to The Septic’s Companion)

O – ORT = Oxford Reading Tree {courtesy of Mr O’Shannessy, Our Lady of Muswell School AKA OLM) or OMG = Oh my god! or OBL = Osama Bin Laden (the Osama but not an Osama) or OSS = Office of Strategic Services [formerly COI = Central Office of Information, at the time of FDR – Philip Kerr: Hitler’s Peace] or ODC = Ordinary Decent Crime (as opposed to terrorism – Radio 4 Today 27/9/08 ) or OWO = Oral Without Condom or ONS = Office for National Statistics to be found at NSO = National Statistics Online (overseen by UKSA)

P – PPC = Pay per Click [I heard it used by a marketeer this afternoon to mean paid for search on web search engines – when I asked, it took her a good few seconds to remember what the letters actually stood for] or PFJ = People’s Front of Judaea {courtesy of Practical Psychologist} or PWD = Public Works Department {courtesy of Empire’s Children} or PSP = Public Service Publisher (if you’re Ofcom, and something more straightforward that fits in your pocket if you’re an everyday mortal) and Personal Support Plan (if you’re a teacher) or PQQ = Pre-qualification Questionnaire {courtesy of Mike Flood Page of Illumina Digital} or PVT = Public Value Test {BBC} or PDI = previous disco injury [“occurs in persons over 40” – courtesy of Maura Logue] or PDA = Public Display of Affection or PDW = Programme Data Warehouse (Channel 4 IS) or PMQs = Prime Minister’s Question Time or PWL = Percy Wyndham Lewis (exhibition at the NPG [National Portrait Gallery] 7.09 ) or PCA = the Professional Cricketers’ Association (trade union for the men in white) or PSG = Paris Saint-Germain (in Il y a longtemps que je t’aime) or PWI = Possession with Intent (to supply) (Richard Price’s novel Samaritan) or PHF = Paul Hamlyn Foundation (who I visited recently to explore synergies) or PAD = People’s Alliance for Democracy (Thai “yellow shirt” movement, whose leader was shot yesterday 16.4.09) – not to be confused with Pad Thai = Thai-style fried noodles or PLP = Parliamentary Labour Party

Q – QVC – see TSV or QoS = Quantum of Solace or Question of Sport (Simon Mayo & Mark Kermode’s film reviews on BBC Radio 5)

R – RSM = Resident Sergeant Major {courtesy of Practical Psychologist} or RFP = Request for Proposals {courtesy of Alfred in Prague} or RSA = Regional Screen Agency + Royal Society for the Arts + Ridley Scott Associates) or RFO = Regularly Funded Organisations {courtesy of the Arts Council via Mike Smith of Carbon Media} or RMU = Retail Merchandising Unit {Make Your Mark in the Mall} or RMC = Ready Mix Concrete {courtesy of Practical Psychologist} or RAF = Rapid Action Force (the men in blue protecting the India vs England cricket test match 12.08) or RPG = Rocket-propelled Grenade {courtesy of the outstanding Waltz with Bashir} + Role-Playing Game or RBS – Royal Bank of Scotland AKA Right British Swindle/Scandal or ROG – Ronan O’Gara {courtesy of Practical Psychologist} or ROA = Rave on Air (annual event at Ravensbourne College on whose Broadcast Advisory Board I sit) or RPS = Rock Paper Scissors – check out my new game

S – SWA = Site Wide Applications, after first 4 years of development became WCL {courtesy Channel 4 New Media} or SNS = Social Network Service/Site {courtesy of Matt Locke} or SPV = Special Purpose Vehicle – meaning a not-for-profit organisation {courtesy of Caroline Norbury of South-West Screen} or SPV = Spectrum Pursuit Vehicle {Captain Scarlet} or SIV = Special Investment Vehicle {mentioned on Radio 4 by Niall Ferguson, Harvard Professor of History and presenter of the Channel 4 series Empire} or SSO = Single Sign On {BBC – courtesy of Azka Malik} or SSI = Single Sign In {Channel 4 – courtesy of Azka Malik} or SPD = Space Patrol Delta {courtesy of Finlay Gee, age 5} or SLT = Science Lecture Theatre {unearthed by renowned archaeologist Nick Golson} or SIV = Simian Immunodeficiency Virus {courtesy of Chris & Xand van Tulleken, the Medicine Men} or SDM = Sustainable Defence Mechanism {courtesy of Practical Psychologist from UNFCCC, the UN Climate Change agency} or SID = Sound Inner Dialogue {courtesy of Practical Psychologist and his Assertiveness training know-how} or Seismic Intruder Device {courtesy of Sebasian Faulks writing as Ian Fleming in Devil May Care aka DMC} or SOE = Special Operations Executive {courtesy of Les Femmes de l’Ombre/Female Agents} or Society of Operations Engineers [professional engineering membership organisation promoting career development in road transport, plant engineering or engineer surveying, and light on gorgeous French actresses] or STS = Short Term Solution {courtesy of Daily Networker} or SFT = Students for a Free Tibet (who unfurled banners near the Olympic stadium in Beijing today 6.8.08 ) or SRE = Sex and Relationship Education or SJP = Sarah Jessica Parker or SFO = Serious Fraud Office (which today decided not to investigate TV phone-in scandals at the BBC and ITV) or SRE = Sex and Relationships Education (much in the news in the wake of Sexperience X.09 ) or SOW = Scheme of Work or SHH = Special Half Hour (Richard Bacon show on BBC Radio 5, refers to 12.30-01.00) or SOP = Standard Operating Procedure (Billy Boyle by James Benn) or SDP = Social, Domestic and Pleasure only (car insurance jargon) + Social Democratic Party, Society of Decorative Painters, Session Description Protocol.

T – TDC = Thinly Disguised Contempt {courtesy of Technokitten} or TML = Trans Manche Link {courtesy of Practical Psychologist} or TLC = (no, not what you think) Taxi and Limousine Commission {New York City} or TSB = Technology Strategy Board {offspring of another TLA, the DTI, which is now an FLA} or TLD = Top Level Domain or or TLR = Two-legged Rat [commonly used on doctors’ notes to indicate experimental/extreme treatment – from The Guardian: Medical Shorthand 8.2.08] or TSE = Testicular Self-examination (thanks for the leaflet Una, TS Eliot must be turning in his grave) or TBH = To be honest {courtesy of Cowbite – “less pompous than imho” ihho} or TPT = Tara Palmer-Tomkinson [how many people are TLAs?] or TBL = Tim Berners Lee {courtesy of Stuart Cosgrove} or TBI = Traumatic Brain Injury {courtesy of Gary Trudeau as he addresses the issue of Iraq} or TLA = Three Letter Acronym and Teacher Learning Academy and Thomas Lord Audley school, Essex or TSV = Today’s Special Value as seen on QVC {courtesy of LJ Rich via Technokitten} or TBS = Talk Between Ships {Philip Kerr: Hitler’s Peace} or TMI = Too Much Information or TAC = The Archaeology Channel or TST = Traveller Support Team {courtesy of Siren’s Cry} or THR = The Hollywood Reporter {courtesy of THR spam} or TMO – Test Match Official {courtesy of Practical Psychologist} or TCG = Tir Chonaill Gaels (GAA Gaelic football club in London)

U – UNV = United Nations Volunteers {courtesy of Practical Psychologist} or URL = Uniform Resource Locator [not a directory of army tailors but the most oft used TLA of which no-one cares about the long form] or UBI = Unexplained Beer Injury [commonly used on doctors’ notes – from The Guardian: Medical Shorthand 8.2.08] or UUC – University of Ulster at Coleraine {courtesy of alumnus Practical Psychologist} or UKA = UK Athletics

V – VFM = Value for Money {courtesy of Paul Deane at Aardman} or VTT = Velo Tout Terrain [learnt in Ondres, Les Landes]

W – WCL = Web Component Library {courtesy Channel 4 New Media} or WRL = Work-related Learning {Skillset} or WTC = World Trade Centre {as in Man on Wire} or WTF = What the fuck! or WFH = Working from Home {courtesy of Louby} or WFK = Who fucking knows? {courtesy of Louby – “I made it up just for you.”}

X – XRF = X-ray florescence {courtesy of Practical Psychologist}

Y – YSL = Yves Saint Laurent (until something more useful comes along) or YIF = yours in friendship “and is used to sign off emails in groups like Ladies Circle and Girlguiding UK” {courtesy of Technokitten} or YMO = Yellow Magic Orchestra {courtesy of Practical Psychologist} or YBA = Young British Artist(s) like Marc Quinn

Z – ZPL = Zero-error Probabilistic Logarithmic space {courtesy of Mat} (not too useful in my world but I think with Z it’s probably a case of beggars can’t be choosers) or ZTT = Zang Tumb Tuum {courtesy of Technokitten}

So the plan is to add to this list as I come across the little darlings.

Update 4.xii.07: As these little fellas (TLFs) multiply I’ve decided to give a bold award to the ones I most like

77 comments so far

  1. practical psychologist on

    My god, I’m a trainer. I’ve probably got one for each letter.

  2. practical psychologist on

    SOB. Son of a bitch

  3. ArkAngel on

    Come on, Practical, lob us a few more technical ones

  4. Practical Psychologist on

    MMO – Massive Multiplayer Online

  5. ArkAngel on

    I meant more from your realm of activity. What about all that UN stuff – they must have some juicy ones?

  6. Practical Psychologist on

    KPS – Kosovo Police School
    UNV – United Nations Volunteers
    LDV – Leyland Daf Vans
    RFU – Rugby Football Union
    LPK – Kosovo Popular Movement (translated from Albanian!)
    TML – Trans Manche Link
    RSM – Resident Sargeant Major

    The french love their initials – especially when a large committee gets involved. The newly re-opened Beziers airport isn’t just called ‘Beziers airport’. It is:

    The airport of Beziers and Cap D’agde in the Languedoc’ Or ABCDL. I think. You should see their rugby clubs. Bordeaux for example are BBASCGH (or something like that). Don’t ask me what it means. And they are all like that. When you look through the results they don’t print the town name they stick all the initials down instead and it takes half an to work them out. Biarritz is thankfully short – BO – Biarritz Olympique.

  7. ArkAngel on

    Some nice ones there, thanks PP, worthy of The List

  8. Practical Psychologist on

    IRA – Irish Republican Army
    FBI – Federal Bureau of Investigation
    PFJ – People’s Front of Judaea (thanks to Monty Python)
    NWA – Niggaz Without Attitude
    ELP = Emerson, Lake and Palmer
    HRD – Human Resource Development (this one should be banned. As Tom Peters said: ‘I have met plenty of human beings before but I have never met a human resource’)
    SGB – Scaffolding Great Britain
    IMF – International Monetary Fund

  9. ArkAngel on

    Thanks, for those – have added my favourites. Peters is right about HR – what a cold, calculated phrase. Weirdly enough, just bought a DVD of Life of Brian this evening on my way back through Euston to show the enfants terribles (to supplement their Catholic education).

  10. Adam Preloaded on

    I think this site may prove useful in your quest:

  11. ArkAngel on

    That’s cheating!

    Got any other juicy ones for me beside CTA?

  12. mat on

    NWA is Niggaz With Attitude. The idea of NWA without the A is pretty funny.

    Some others, to fill your gaps:

    BNC – Bayonet Nut Connector (y’know, the locking connectors like what you use to join co-ax together)
    EOF – End Of File
    ELO – Electric Light Orchestra.
    FAA – Federal Aviation Authority
    ICE – In Car Entertainment
    JLA – Justice League of America
    LRF – Leukemia Research Fund (or, and I prefer this one – Little Rubber Feet)
    QED – “quot erat demonstrandum”, or Quantum ElectroDynamics
    VPL – Visible Panty Line!
    XDR – eXtended Dynamic Range (an attempt to make audio cassettes sound good)
    ZPL – Zero-error Probabilistic Logarithmic space

  13. ArkAngel on

    Thanks, Mat, a goodly selection, most eclectic, I’m going to pick out the plums

  14. ArkAngel on

    Been musing about the NWA thing – wouldn’t NWA without the A still be NWA? (Niggaz without Attitude)? or is that the point? :-~

  15. technokitten on

    Aha, I have another one for you… TDC. Retail staff often suffer from this affliction. It’s as common as the common cold, especially at busy times of year, and especially prevalent in high end fashion stores if you’re not dressed in *quite* the right way. What is this terrible affliction? It’s Thinly Disguised Contempt.

  16. ArkAngel on

    Top class, Technokitten, straight onto TOL (the ol’ list)

  17. Practical Psychologist on

    ITB – Invitation To Bid (used in UN quite a bit)
    TLS – Times Literary Supplement
    LDM – Life Defining Moment (as featured in my last book)
    SAD – Seasonal Affective Disorder

  18. ArkAngel on

    Thanks PP, another interesting batch. Presumably ITBs and RFPs are closely related?

  19. practical psychologist on

    You need an ‘X’, here is one:

    XRF – X-Ray Flouresence

  20. ArkAngel on

    You’re going to have to spell that right before I put that in 😉

    And what is it anyway?

  21. practical psychologist on


    My advanced knowledge of physics (or is it chemistry? or biology even?) suggests it is the light thrown out at the moment that the x-ray photograph is taken. Do we know any scientists between us? Or have they all moved abroad?

    A couple of others:

    VSO – Voluntary Services Overseas
    MSF – Medecins Sans Frontieres

  22. ArkAngel on

    PP, the X spot is all yours

  23. ArkAngel on

    PP, talking of KPS, interesting developments in Kosovo right now as you predicted…

  24. Practical Psychologist on

    It is indeed a seminal moment. I hope to be there at the end of March but I would love to be there now. Right now. Did I tell you about the time I was running a training course at the Ombudsperson’s Office in Pristina and there was a demo outside with guns going off?

    I expect Serbia to be offered fast track EU membership as a softener but it may look more to Russia. Very difficult to know. Long term I think that Kosovo will be sucked into Albania. But I expect a Serbian terrorist group to establish itself at some point.

  25. ArkAngel on

    SFF? SRA?

  26. […] (4) My grandfather worked for Picture Post (I have a lovely photo of him at work just across the room now taken by Thurston Hopkins) – he was a VSP (Very Special Person – just made that up but you can’t have too many Three Letter Acronyms) […]

  27. […] of decorative foliage from me so never had the pleasure of engaging with her beyond admiring her LBD+ (second only to Joanna Lumley’s flowing tangerine Grecian […]

  28. practical psychologist on


    Sound Inner Dialogue

    For those preparing to be assertive.


    European Central Bank

    YSL (you need one)

    Yves Saint Laurent

  29. practical psychologist on

    SDM – Sustainable Defence Mechanism.

    From UNFCCC – the UN Climate change agency based in Bonn.

  30. ArkAngel on

    Ta, duly noted. Would love to find a Y or X that’s actually useful

  31. Hilary on

    TBH – to be honest
    IMO – in my opinion
    BRB – be right back
    HTH – hope that helps
    FRO – fuck right off (as in “I’m going to FRO now” rather than as a term of abuse.)
    FFS – for fuck’s sake
    NFI – no fucking idea
    LOL – laugh out loud

    I clearly spend more time than is healthy chatting online 😉

  32. ArkAngel on

    Ah, we were light on The F Word – how very C4 of you! 😉 I’ll incorporate these up top when I have a mo later

  33. Hilary on

    you can generally count on me to lower the tone 😉

  34. […] WTF’s he talking about? 2gether […]

  35. technokitten on

    I have a ‘y’ one for you. YIF means ‘yours in friendship’ and is used to sign off emails in groups like Ladies Circle and Girlguiding UK.

  36. Practical Psychologist on

    Struggling for a Y for months (I have been thinking of little else) and then I went back to my youth. YMO – Yellow Magic Orchestra.

    I don’t think you have TLA as a TLA either?

  37. ArkAngel on

    Thanks, Technokitten – that YSL attempt was indeed feeble. YIF is a lovely sentiment.

  38. ArkAngel on

    So, PP, Ys are like the proverbial buses – none for ages then they come along on each other’s tail. And I fixed that TLA oversight, well spotted.

  39. Practical Psychologist on

    PFI -Private Finance Initiative
    EMU – European Monetary Union
    EEA – European Economic Area
    RMC – Ready Mix Concrete
    DRC – (not so)Democratic Republic of Congo
    PRC – People’s Republic of China

  40. ArkAngel on

    Thanks, especially like RMC which gets a Bold Award

  41. ljrich on

    What a great post, totally appeals to the trivia-obsessed part of my brain. Cheers for the link!

  42. practical psychologist on

    I have another:

    EPC – Elasto Plastic Concrete

    Do you remember the band SPK?

    Did that stand for Surgical Penis Klinik? The Klinik suggests they may have been German.

    Or am I imagining it?

  43. Practical Psychologist on

    ONS – Office for National Statistics.

    (my sister works for them)

    NSU – Non-Specific Urethritis (‘the clap’ to you and me)

    HSS – Hire Service Shops

    UUC – University of Ulster at Coleraine

  44. ArkAngel on

    SPK – that means nothing to me (Oh Vienna!)

    Have incorporated most of your recent ones

  45. […] Just areminder : I’m still collecting Three Letter Acronyms aka TLAs […]

  46. practicalpsychologist on

    DSA – Daily Supplementary Allowance
    STC – Switzerland Travel Centre
    ADP – Automatic Data Processing

  47. ArkAngel on

    Incorporated, PP. Daily Supplementary Allowance of what?

  48. Practical Psychologist on

    It is what you get from organisations such as the UN and OSCE to cover hotels, food etc.on top of fees for services delivered.

  49. Siren's Cry on

    There are many in education:

    HOY – Head of Year

    HOD – Head of Department

    SEN – Special Educational Needs

    ASD – Autistic Spectrum Disorder

    EBD – Emotional Behavioural Disorder

    EAL – English as an Additional Language

    EPS – Educational Psychology Service

    EWO – Educational Welfare Officer

    MLD – Moderate Learning Disorder

    SLD – Severe Learning Disorder

    MFL – Modern Foreign Languages

    IEP – Individual Education Plan

    ISA – Individual Skills Assessment

    KS1, KS2, KS3, KS4, KS5 – Key Stages

    ICT – Information & Communication Technology

    ITT – Initial Teacher Training

    TST – Traveller Support Team

    PRU – Pupil Referral Unit

    SAT – Standard Assessment Task

    CPD – Continuing Personal Development

    AQA – Assessment and Qualifications Alliance

    OCR – Oxford, Cambridge & RSA

    RSA – Royal Society of Arts

    AST – Advanced Skills Teacher

    BDA – British Dyslexia Association

    BSP – Behaviour Support Plan

    PSP – Personal Support Plan

    SIP – School Improvement Plan

    ECM – Every Child Matters

    SOW – Scheme of Work

    EMA – Educational Maintenance Allowance

    LSA – Learning Support Assistant

    ISA – Individual Support Assistant

    There are more….. dozens more, but I’ve kept these to the ones I have experience of……

  50. ArkAngel on

    Wow, what a wealth of jargon! Will digest and add a good selection to the list, thanks.

  51. ArkAngel on

    Latest additions include:
    NID (Bond)
    BEA (1968)
    PWL (Vorticism)
    BOE (financial meltdown)
    FDR (US president)
    MJQ (jazz)

  52. practical psychologist on

    BBW – big breasted woman

  53. ArkAngel on

    Love it! Does LCM exist?

  54. practical psychologist on

    No. But penis envy does. I came across BBW from a friend (and yes, it was a friend and not me)who reliably informs me that the porn world is a hotbed of acronyms. I posted this one for ‘tit’ilation purposes only.

  55. ArkAngel on

    Want more!

  56. practicalpsychologist on


  57. practical psychologist on

    ECM -Editions of Contemporary Music
    GFE – Girl Friend Experience – (hookers offering more than than just…)
    OWO – Oral Without Condom
    CIM – Come in Mouth

    Apparently BBW can also stand for Big Beautiful Woman as well/

  58. practical psychologist on

    Have you seen the cartoon on page 9 of this week’s Private Eye?

  59. ArkAngel on

    yes (at your prompting), very good – “Things are getting acronymous around here, you SOB!”

  60. practical psychologist on

    CMO – Chief Medical Officer
    MHQ – Mission Head Quarters

    (just been on another UN stint – more to follow)

  61. ArkAngel on

    Thanks – added above (don’t forget I’m waiting for your people who buggered up Britain)

  62. ArkAngel on

    LATEST ADDITIONS: jargon from the worlds of porn and education

  63. ArkAngel on

    LATEST ADDITIONS include: MLF (people), MAP (topical politics), SHH (media), LFB & IMO (walking along the Albert Embankment the other day)

  64. ArkAngel on

    Some lovely new ones like this from Technokitten: CPD = Compulsive Price Disclosure [see above for a class explanation]

  65. […] the sad demise of the Astoria in London’s Tottenham Court Road to make way for an expanded TCR station for the forthcoming Crossrail. It started life as one of four Astoria cinemas in London and […]

  66. […] the JKG time I was also baffled by how can this constant growth add up? How can countries expect to grow […]

  67. Ben on

    (I Hate TLAs)

  68. Ben on


  69. ArkAngel on

    Filling in the gap, I know BSM is British School of Motoring but, Ben, going to need the long versions of these please…

  70. Michael Tim on

    I love your site!

  71. ArkAngel on

    LATEST ADDITIONS: Rugby, drugs, geography, music –

  72. practicalpsychologist on

    ROG – Ronan O’Gara
    TMO – Test Match Official
    AIG – American International Group
    RBS – Royal Bank of Scotland

  73. ArkAngel on

    Is ROG official? (saw BOD in an Irish newspaper last weekend)

    And haven’t some rather colourful alternatives been devised for RBS recently? (who of course sponsor the 6 Nations, they’ve got so much cash to spare)

  74. practicalpsychologist on

    ROG i’ve seen around for a year or so now.

    From memory I think that Pakistani terrorist group is also a TLA (Mumbai, Sri Lankan cricket team)

  75. ArkAngel on

    ROG etc. now officially incorporated thanks PP.

  76. ArkAngel on

    LATEST ADDITIONS: From politics via finance and radio to football

    PAD, FSA, SOP, SDP, IOT, BSD, BSL, etc.

  77. ArkAngel on

    This post has now grown up to be a fine strapping new blog in its own right at – OTD: The Official TLA Directory

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