In the song YOLO I heard the lyric "You oughta look out also stands for YOLO."

I thought that the correct usage of "stands for" with acronyms was only the "[acronym] stands for [meaning]" direction. Using 'stand for' in reference to acronyms says that that direction is correct. But I've heard it used a lot in the other direction. Is it misuse, or can "stands for" be used the other way?


Lyrics are poetry, and in poetry, the usual rules of English usage do not always apply. So, you are correct, in ordinary usage, the phrase would generally be "YOLO stands for You otta look out". In most of the lyric, YOLO is used as a stand in for "You only live once"; the line you cite is an alternative interpretation of the acronym, and is written so as to rhyme "YOLO" with "no no", "solo", and "folo", with the last being an application of artistic license to mangle "carefully" to "carefolo".

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