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 defining it as the "same as an acronym, except that the words were chosen to fit the letters".〔
==Differences from acronyms==
An acronym is a word derived from the initial letters of the words of a phrase:〔
〕 For example, the word ''radar'' comes from "Radio Detection and Ranging".〔
By contrast, a backronym is constructed by creating a new phrase to fit an already existing word, name, or acronym. For example, the United States Department of Justice assigns to their Amber Alert program the meaning "America's Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response", although the term originally referred to Amber Hagerman, a 9-year-old abducted and murdered in Texas in 1996. Backronyms are also often used for comedic effect, as exemplified by NASA's C.O.L.B.E.R.T.
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