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“PIN Number” — why do we say it?

Assume we abbreviate "Orthogonal Multi-user Channel" as OMC. Is it correct to use the phrase "OMC channel" since channel is already contained in OMC?

marked as duplicate by JSBձոգչ, Matt E. Эллен, Kit Z. Fox, Mitch, James Waldby - jwpat7 Mar 6 '12 at 16:10

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  • But OMC is already an abbreviation for the osteomeatal complex. So as people who know about these things will be perfectly well aware, there's no redundancy in saying "[the] four paranasal sinuses are interconnected through the osteomeatal complex (OMC) channel.". – FumbleFingers Mar 6 '12 at 3:09
  • 2
    The language legislature has not yet ruled it incorrect. Perhaps you should send them a petition. – GEdgar Mar 6 '12 at 3:46
  • @GEdgar: How can I do the petition? – Helium Mar 6 '12 at 3:48
  • It should go to The Academy. – John Lawler Mar 6 '12 at 3:58

This is commonly referred to as RAS Syndrome, or Redundant Acronym Syndrome Syndrome. Other examples of this are ATM Machine (Automated Teller Machine Machine) and PIN Number (Personal Identification Number Number).

This is not technically correct, but it happens pretty often.

  • Don't forget TLA (Three-Letter Acronym), and ETLA (Extended Three-Letter Acronym, used for acronyms with four letters). – John Lawler Mar 6 '12 at 2:26
  • @Jim: +1; spot on. Every now and then, I run across someone who gets really irked by redundancies such as "VIN Number" and "CAC Card." It seems to happen rather naturally, however, and I've never had a problem with it. – J.R. Mar 6 '12 at 3:45
  • According to which technical specification is it "not technically correct"? – Colin Fine Mar 6 '12 at 14:57

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