In other words, are any of the core words in English from the pre-digital era a derivation of other words, abbreviated?

Online I find myself using "wrt" a lot, short for "with respect to". But "wrt" seems short and useful enough to perhaps find itself in use as a conjunction in and of itself (even though phonetically it would sound a bit ugly).

"Lol" has already seen this fate, but that fails to be a pre-digital word. Many pre-digital abbreviations are probably better described as shortenings, rather than concatenations of some other collection of words.

  • Are you asking about words like "laser" (light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation) and "scuba" (self-contained underwater breathing apparatus)? I'm pretty sure both of these are from what you call the pre-digital era. And your example "wrt" written as an abbreviation "w.r.t." was certainly used when I was a student in the 1960's. Commented Aug 20, 2015 at 18:49
  • @AndreasBlass There are lots of those and they are known as acronyms.
    – WS2
    Commented Aug 20, 2015 at 19:10
  • @WS2 My question is therefore whether the OP is asking about acronyms (among other things). They certainly fit the description of "a derivation of other words, abbreviated" and they seem to differ from the example "wrt" only by having enough vowels to be pronounceable as words. Commented Aug 20, 2015 at 19:14
  • @AndreasBlass Yes. I'm as confused by the question as you are.
    – WS2
    Commented Aug 20, 2015 at 19:19
  • this question is useless as there is no such thing as a corpus, no such thing as english, and no such thing as words. all questions where the questioner thinks there's a governing body should just be deleted to save time
    – Fattie
    Commented Aug 20, 2015 at 19:23

1 Answer 1


One of the most used words in English -- OK. Go here for the story of its derivation as a bit of satire.

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