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Many people tell me that the full form of NEWS is North,East,West and South. For quite a long it looked convincing to me as the full form seemed to cover all the direction giving an impression that any thing happened in any direction in reported by the News. After a little pondering however I found that the base of the word may be just "new". It simply means what is new. Later on may be convey specifically about new information it might have got changed to news. Is it correct or I am missing some thing over here?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 12 down vote accepted

That's what is called a backronym, i.e. inventing a meaning for a word that already exists.

You can look up any etymology for news, like at dictionary.com, to see that it comes from middle english newis, and is not an acronym at all.

It's very possible that some news media has used the coincidence that the letters in news correspond to the cardinal directions in a design, thereby starting the rumour that it's an acronym.

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I wonder if this comes from "Jeopardy" which has long had a category "N.E.W.S." that they use for clues dealing with the cardinal directions. –  user362 Jul 8 '11 at 12:44
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Also, when spoken, the traditional order of the cardinal directions is "north, south, east and west." –  The Raven Jul 8 '11 at 18:10
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@The-Raven Except, interestingly, when you're trying to remember them, and then it's clockwise: Never Eat Soggy Wheaties. –  aedia λ Jul 8 '11 at 19:50

Many people tell me that the full form of NEWS is North,East,West and South.

Many people are wrong. "News" (reports of current events) comes from "new" in the obvious way.

Almost every etymology that involves an acronym is false. Posh, fuck, news, wog. The only exception that comes to mind is scuba.

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Oh, and laser. Probably there are a few others, but nothing older than about 80 years. –  Malvolio Jul 8 '11 at 11:05
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Radar. But you're right, anything old is almost certainly not an acronym :) –  psmears Jul 8 '11 at 11:07

protected by simchona Jul 5 '12 at 3:11

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