For most folks, PhD means "Doctor of Philosophy". But, for Jorge Cham, it means "Piled Higher and Deeper". Can you explain to me the title of that comic book?

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    I've also heard a PhD referred to as permanent head damage. – Vincent McNabb Jul 9 '11 at 7:29
up vote 12 down vote accepted

There's an old joke based on the common sequence of Bachelor of Science, Master of Science, Doctor of Philosophy:

BS: Bull Shit

MS: More of Same

PHD: Piled Higher and Deeper

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    @mgkrebss: Just to be sure to fully understand the sense of these. It is said that BS is bullshit, MS is more of bullshit, and PHD is a big pile of bullshit. Isn't it? – Marco Jul 9 '11 at 11:58
  • @Marco: Right. In much wider contexts, of course, B.S. is a common initialism for the slang term bullshit. – mgkrebbs Jul 10 '11 at 0:12

"PhD" is an abbreviation. The title of the book is playing around with this abbreviation. Although normally understood as you said to stand for Phillsophiae Doctor, the letters do not actually state this.

It's for example, BMW, usually understood to mean Bavarian Motor Works , but it doesn't actually state "Very Important Person". Anyone could come along, and then play around with the letters and make it "Big Mouth Woman", or "Bouncing With Me."

It's a kind of pun

  • I had a friend who rode a BMW motorcycle. On a particularly cold day, I told him BMW meant 'Brass Monkey Weather'. – pavium Jul 9 '11 at 6:50
  • That explains the repurposing of the abbreviation into an initialism quite well, and that is certainly part of the joke. However, the OP may have been asking for a more complete explanation of the what Piled Higher and Deeper means. I'd suggest Jorge was suggesting that, ah, poop is piled higher and deeper. You know, "how was your day"? "Same poop, different depth". – Brendon Jul 9 '11 at 7:15
  • @Brendon: Do people really use that as a variant of "same shit, different smell"? (Or did you just make that up?) – bracho monacho Jul 9 '11 at 8:47
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    @brachomonacho, Yep. My Brother was the first person I heard that from; he did say shit not poop though (for some reason I get all polite when talking about English language and usage). He is a truck driver in his late fifties and lives in Albany, Western Australia. He teaches me all kinds of interesting phrases. – Brendon Jul 9 '11 at 9:36

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