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n. A word that is either not an acronym but is taken to be one and for which a full form is invented by back-formation, or is an acronym and for which an alternative full form is invented by back-formation.


A backronym or bacronym is a specially constructed phrase that is supposed to be the source of a word that is, or is claimed to be, an acronym. Backronyms may be invented with serious or humorous intent, or may be a type of false or folk etymology.

The word is a combination of backward and acronym, and has been defined as a "reverse acronym". Its earliest known citation in print is as "bacronym" in the November 1983 edition of the Washington Post monthly neologism contest. The newspaper quoted winning reader Meredith G. Williams of Potomac, Maryland, defining it as the "same as an acronym, except that the words were chosen to fit the letters".