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(Domain code for) ACademic institution. Used under national domains that are organized hierarchically both under the British (.uk) scheme (second-level domains a mix of two- and three-letter abbreviations: .ac., .co., .gov., .net., .org. -- it's so English to be unsystematic) and under the Japanese (.jp) scheme (.ac., .co., .go., .ne., .or. -- it's so Japanese to be systematically obscure).

I'm aware that .ac. is used (in addition to the U.K. and Japan) in Austria (.at), Belgium (.be), Costa Rica (.cr), Israel (.il, South Korea (.kr), New Zealand (.nz), and South Africa (.za).

Under national domains that don't have an .ac. second-level domain, like those of France (.fr) and Germany (.de), universities very often have domain names indicating the type of institution.

Most US universities, and a number of non-US universities, have subdomains in the .edu top-level domain.

Access Control. (In a token-ring system or any other network with some kind of collision avoidance.)


ACet{ ate | ic | yl }. Productive, as in AcOEt (ethyl acetate) or PVAc (polyvinyl acetate).

Acromio-Clavicular (joint).

Actinium, element number 89. Not to be confused with the related An (a generic actinide) or unrelated Ac (acetate, etc.) Learn more (about actinium) at its entry in WebElements and its entry at Chemicool.

Activated Carbon. Not ``activated'' in the Arrhenius sense.

ACts of the Apostles. An NT book.

ACute. Medical abbreviation for a word that as used means approximately rapid and not chronic. Nothing to do with a cute anything. More closely related to ack.

The conventional sense of acute is broader, and includes extreme, or severe.

Adenylate Cyclase.

Adult Contemporary. A music category tracked by BillBoard. Somewhat slow -- music and popularity shifts both. For a song to stay six months at #1 on the AC chart is not unusual. Savage Garden had its hit (``Truly Madly Deeply'') at #1 for most of 1998. For contemporary adults who understand that lay is the infinitive of a transitive verb, 1998 was a galling year.

Advanced CMOS (logic family). Also ACL. One-micron technology. Cf. ACT. This page from TI.

AirCraft. That's what it means in aviation industries, but there seem to be other meanings as well.

Air Conditioning. (The target condition is cooler.) Another short form of this term is eakon, the Japanese word meaning the same thing. See perm for a small number of other examples.

AC, ac, A.C., a.c., A.-C., a.-c.
Alternating Current. For information on the various abbreviations, see the DC entry.


AC, a.c.
Ante Cibum. Latin, `before meal.' Lower-case form is standard in medical prescriptions.

Antes de Cristo. Spanish and Portuguese, `before Christ' (B.C.). Italian is similar. Cf. D.C.

Anthony and Cleopatra. It ended badly, but eventually Shakespeare made a play about it, so it's okay. The abbreviation usually refers to the play, at least in the sort of stuff I read.

Application Context.


You know, this looks like a somewhat slow-news part of the glossary, so I'm going to take the opportunity to lay out our grand plan. Briefly, our long-term objective is to reach the point where every entry is necessary for every other entry -- i.e., every entry is reachable by a sequence of links from any other entry. Just think how convenient it will be! With just a few thousand mouseclicks, you'll be able to get from any entry to any other entry. Wow and amen. To achieve this vision in a short amount of time, we're going to start inserting a few more links whose relevance is not immediately evident.

A.C., a.c., AC
Asociación Civil. Spanish for `civic organization.' The abbreviation appears at the end of the names of many Mexican nonprofits. It seems to be a part of legal terminology there, a strictly delineated class of nonprofit corporation. I've seen organizations with A.C. or its expansion in the names of one organization each in Argentina, Bolivia, and Venezuela. I suspect that in these cases the term is simply descriptive in the usual loose way and does not have the legal significance it has in Mexico, but that's just a guess.

Assistant Commissioner. Assistant police commissioner, at least.

Automatic Computer. Popular ending on early computer names. See Woz entry for list.

Axiom of Choice.

As you may have noticed, none of the AC entries is for a word as such, but rather for an abbreviation pronounced as an initialism (typically ``ay cee'') or a symbol. Hence, none of them is a valid Scrabble® word. Gratifyingly, all three major Scrabble dictionaries agree. Robert Frost observed that writing blank verse is like playing tennis without a net. Playing Scrabble with all marginally defensible words allowed is similar sport.

Air Care Alliance. ``[A] nationwide league of humanitarian flying organizations whose volunteer pilots are dedicated to community service.''

American Camping Association. Consider spending your Winnebago vacation at Chéticamp, in exotic but not-too-exotic Canada. See the NS entry in particular. Yes, go! Read it. Persistence is rewarded.

American Cartographic Association. Name of an old member organization of the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping (ACSM). Around the turn of this century, the ACA disappeared and a new member organization emerged in its place, called the Cartography and Geographic Information Society (CaGIS). It had been my impression that as part of this process, the Geographic and Land Information Society also disappeared. Possibly some members of the GLIS switched to the new CaGIS, or perhaps something more interesting happened, but the GLIS persists.

American Chiropractic Association.

American Communication Association. ``American'' in the continental sense -- Western Hemispheric.

American Council on Alcoholism. (Don't let that ``on'' fool ya'. They're agin' it.)

American Counseling Association.

American Crystallographic Association. Web site provided by the Hauptman-Woodward (Medical Research) Institute. (Used to be the Medical Foundation of Buffalo.)

Amputee Coalition of America. ``Our Mission: To reach out to people with limb loss and empower them through education, support, and advocacy.'' Did they have to use the expression ``reach out''? It reminds me of the dating-game parody in ``Kentucky Fried Movie.'' The third contestant ignores the question and instead starts spouting the slogans of the personality cult of the local leader. He's on a roll, it looks like they may let him live, but then he concludes his peroration with a call for the crowd to give their fearless leader (present for the show) ``a big hand.'' The leader lacks a right hand. Oops.

Anisotropically Conductive Adhesive.

Association Canadienne d'Acoustique. The CAA, q.v.

Association of Canadian Advertisers.

Association of Canadian Archivists.

Association of Chartered Accountants. Unh-unh. You want the ACCA.

Atlanta College of Art.


Atlantic Classical Association (of Canada).

Automatic Circuit Assurance. A PBX feature to help identify malfunctioning trunk lines. This is not the usual kind of trunk (vide TCT) but a tie trunk (between two PBX's) or a PBX trunk, which connects the PBX to a commercial central office.

Automobile Club of America.

ACetylACetonate. CH3COCHCOCH3.

Cf. ack-ack.

Association des Cartothèques et Archives Cartographiques du Canada. See ACMLA. Also see ack-ack, because you only go around once in this life, so you've got to grab for all the gusto you...this is beginning to sound like a beer advertisement.

American College of Addictionology and Compulsive Disorders. It's not exactly a ``college'' in any of the usual senses. It's a vendor of courses in continuing education originally taught primarily by Jay M. Holder. ACACD and Holder have earned the attention of Quackwatch. Featured treatments include hammering on your spine and acupuncturing your ear. Linked from their list of schools unaccredited by any credible accreditor, here are ``Some Notes on the Activities and Credentials of Jay M. Holder, D.C..'' Read'em and weep. You might suppose that a barbaric monstrosity of a word like ``addictionology'' would clue people, but ACACD is still in business. As of this writing, they're planning to hold an event in Las Vegas, May 22-25, 2009. If this ``medicine'' doesn't make you sick, see this AAA entry.

American Conference of Academic Deans. (Note that, with very little effort, this could be made into a perfectly irritating little XARA.) ``ACAD members are current and former deans, provosts, academic vice presidents, and other academic [low-lifes and trouble-makers] at colleges and universities inside and outside the US.''

This isn't meant as a criticism, but it's interesting to note that ``inside and outside the US'' is not uninformative. And that's true whether or not ``inside'' and ``outside'' are understood as the mathematical interior of a proper set and its complement (so their boundary in ordinary topologies is a nonempty closed set).

According to Aerosmith's ``Living On The Edge,''

There's somethin' wrong with the world today --
The light bulb's gettin' dim.
There's meltdown in the skah - ah - eye!

Personally, I would have preferred nonsense syllables. I mean -- nonsense syllables that don't sound like they're supposed to mean anything. Nonsense syllables that don't mention Chicken Little. Ideally, it would be an instrumental with or without howling noises. They also state: ``Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah....'' Yeah, well: living in the edge -- now there's a challenge.

In the English-speaking world, this is recogized as a variant of academicism. In Japan, however, academism is the standard term. I'm not sure whether it's wasei eigo or just an accident of some sort.

Anti-Censorship Action Group. A South African NGO merged into FXI in January 1994.

Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. Formerly the National Accreditation Commission for Schools and Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NACSCAOM), which was established in June 1982 by the Council of Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (CCAOM).

Aviation Consumer Action Project.

I never thought of myself as a consumer of aviation service. Is this something that might get used up? Get a load of me -- I'm consuming aviation!

In an alternate world, Nick is bouncing the cash drawer in and out. ``Hey, get a load of me! I'm givin' out wings!''

Cash registers were originally invented to make sure the hired help didn't embezzle. The bell was added to make non-use of the register obvious (by silence).

Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System. Somewhat less common (roughly a quarter of the ghits) is the expansion with the singular-form ``communication''; I don't know which -- if precisely one -- is official.

(UK) Arbitration and Conciliation Advisory Service.

Australian Centre for the Arts and Technology.

(US) Advisory Committee on Advanced Television Service.

Association of Chartered Accountants in the United States.

Adjusted Cost Base. A precise technical term in Canadian income-tax computation, specifically for computing capital gains amd losses. It's the total cost of an asset, adjusted to uh, in a way so as to, uh... It's the usual impenetrable taxation mess. Here's one mutual fund's futile attempt to show how simple it all really is. Revenue Canada (which isn't called Revenue Canada any more) obfuscates it here.

The expression ``adjusted cost base'' is also used loosely elsewhere for total cost base and average cost base.

American Council for the Blind. Their pages don't have a lot of fancy graphics, I notice.

They claim to be ``the nation's leading membership organization of blind and visually impaired people.'' They also claim that ``[i]t was founded in 1961 and incorporated in the District of Columbia'' as if this was anything I had a hankering to know. People should have a sense of proportion!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Association of Clinical Biochemists. It ``was founded in 1953, and is one of the oldest such Associations in the world. Based in the United Kingdom, it is a professional body dedicated to the practice and promotion of clinical science. The Association has medical and non-medical members in all major UK healthcare laboratories, in many university departments and in several commercial companies. The links with its Corporate Members leads to a fruitful relationship with the clinical diagnostics industry. The Association liaises with and is consulted by many national and international organisations on issues relating to Clinical Biochemistry.''

Average[d] Cost Base.

American Contract Bridge League. Main organizer of duplicate bridge clubs and tournaments in the US, Canada, Mexico, and Bermuda.


ACBL ``is the governing body for organized bridge activities and promotion on the North American continent'' as far as the WBF sees it. That is, the ACBL is the WBF's zonal organization for zone 2, the second-largest zone, membershipwise, after Europe (vide EBL).

There's a separate organization called the American Bridge Association (ABA). In the bad old days, ACBL was for whites and ABA was for blacks. Both still exist as independent leagues.

Associations Comprehensive Benefits Program.

I found this entry and the next while trying to see if there wasn't a bomber version of the ACFP.

Atlantic City Beach Patrol.

Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs. There is a clear pecking order among the three main business-school accreditation organizations in the US, and the order coincides with the alphabetical ordering of their acronyms. AACSB is the most stringent and prestigious, and has granted accreditation to only a fifth or so of US B-schools. AACSB accreditation requires that the faculty perform research, and -- just trust me on this -- this is a requirement that many schools focused particularly on teaching find difficult to meet. (A school's prestige also depends greatly on the original research performed there.) ACBSP (of this entry) is used by ``mid-range'' schools. IACBE also offers accreditation. AACSB and ACBSP, but not IACBE, are CHEA-recognized.

American Chiropractic Board of Sports Physicians. The name seems to imply that chiropractics are physicians.

ACCommodation. Medical term for what you need, conditional on your spending time at a medical convention. No wait! I think I garbled that. Maybe it's a conventional term for what happens when you spend a long time with a medical condition, and your body adjusts. Like favoring your gimpy leg. One of those definitions is probably right. I'll get back to this entry later.

Accident Compensation Corporation. As this now-empty page used to say, ACC ``administers New Zealand's accident compensation scheme, which provides personal injury cover for all New Zealand citizens, residents and temporary visitors to New Zealand. In return people do not have the right to sue for personal injury, other than for exemplary damages.'' Well, ``in return'' there's that and also the little matter of ``ACC levies.''

Adaptive Cruise Control. Its principal ``feature'' is that it slows down to maintain distance from the vehicle ahead. As the late Dale Earnhardt would have said, ``better soak a rag in kerosene and wrap it around your ankles to keep the ants from eating your candy ass.''

Air Combat Command.

American Crafts Council.

The Animal Concerns Community.

Antarctic Circumpolar Current.

Arab Cooperation Council. Headed by an Egyptian, headquartered in Amman (Jordan). Did Iraq really never stop being a member?

Joyce ACC?

Atlantic Coast Conference. This is the kind of conference where academic institutions present the results of their research in a form of multimedia presentation called ``games.''

Austin Community College.

Australian Copyright Council.

Autoclaved Cellular Concrete.

Automotive Composites Consortium. A consortium within USCAR. Formed in August 1988. It's about polymer composites.

Advisory Committee on Council Activities. A standing committee of the NCEES (that ``Council''). ``Provides advice and briefing to the Board of Directors on new policy issues, problems, and plans that warrant preliminary assessment of policy choices and procedures. Consultants shall have served on the Board of Directors. Consists of a chair and members from each zone--one is a land surveyor.''

Aeronautical Chamber of Commerce of America. Founded in 1919, it became a member of the Chamber of Commerce of the United States (founded 1912). The ACCA served some of the functions, particularly for wartime government-industry coordination, that the MAA served earlier. After WWII, the ACCA changed its name a couple of times, and is now known as the Aerospace Industries Association of America, Inc. (AIA).

Association of Chartered Certified Accountants.

American Council of Christian Churches.

Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce & Industry Malaysia. Cf. MCCM.

American Chamber of Commerce Executives. This is the name that survived the 2003 ``merger'' of the ACCE and the National Association of Membership Directors (NAMD). NAMD became a division of ACCE and was renamed the National Alliance for Membership Development (NAMD).

acceleration pedal
Misspelling of exhilaration pedal.

American Council for Collaboration in Education and Language Study. Sounds so much more two-way and respectfully cooperative than the ``American Council of Teachers of Rooshyan'' (ACTR) that gave rise to it, and to which organization it is closely tied. (They share a website.) Broader implied agenda, too. ACCELS is described as having ``become a leader among all U.S. organizations in the administration of U.S. government-funded exchanges in the humanities, social sciences, economics, business, law, public administration, and educational administration.''

Oh great: in 1998 there was a reorganization. ACTR and ACCELS became councils under an umbrella organization called ``American Councils for International Education: ACTR/ACCELS.'' Frequent name changes and the creation of multiple sealed acronyms (or names that, confusingly, may or may not be sealed acronyms) are usually a sign of poor planning or at least poor branding, but the group claims here that it's a sign of success. During this period of great success, Russian has maintained US high-school student enrollments in the range of 10 to 15 thousand. (Due to a surge in Japanese language study, Russian fell from sixth-most-studied foreign language in US high schools to seventh.)

Here is a supply of accents:
Acute: ´´´´´´´´´´´´´´´´´´´´´´´´´´´
Grave: ```````````````````````````
Unsorted: ´`´``´```````´°´´```´"´``´`
In case of emergency, smash screen and affix as needed.

Vietnamese has upwards of forty (40) (!) distinguishable vowels. You better believe Vietnamese are not always fastidious about accents. Vide VISCII. (Okay: what happens is that the vowels carry diacritical marks to indicate tone. I think it's fair to assign the tone to the vowel. English and German don't have this kind of semantic tone; the tone is used quasisyntactically to indicate questions or assign emphasis. Both languages have about 14 vowels in the standard dialects.)

Seriously, I find that sometimes (like right now) I'm on a public machine that has been cleverly sabotaged to prevent me from easily entering special characters. For such moments, it's useful to have those characters together to cut and paste from a single place.

For Spanish, I need
¡ ¿ Á É Í Ó Ú á é í ó ú ü ª º Ñ ñ
Maybe this will turn out to be more convenient over time:
1ª 2º Ñañ güe ación

Ä Ö Ü ä ö ü ß

Japanese transcribed to Romaji:
â î û ô ê

An old form of the word acceptation. In both forms, the word refers to meanings: acception is either the action or practice of accepting a meaning for a word, or a word's accepted meaning. It tends to be implicit that the acception of a word is singular, that all of the accepted senses of a word cohere in some way to a single inclusive sense: definitions of the word invariably refer to ``the meaning'' rather than ``a meaning'' of a word. If Anglophones didn't expect most words to have a single essential meaning, but instead expected multiple unrelated meanings, then the meaning of the words acception and acceptation would probably have evolved into something like that of their Spanish cognate acepción.

I should probably concede that there are a couple of subtle difficulties here: To discuss how many meanings a word has, one has to try to be precise about what constitute distinct meanings, and what constitute distinct words. If one can't answer the first question, one can't say whether a word has multiple meanings. If one can't answer the second question, one can't say whether the different meanings belong to the same word. What is worse, the question of distinguishing meanings complicates discussion here more fundamentally: one could regard English acception and Spanish acepción as having the same meaning, and claim that only the contexts differ. This is probably one of the worst entries in which to ponder this issue, since the words being examined are part of the vocabulary of the discussion. (Philosophers call this ``building a boat at sea.'') When I discuss it, or find a discussion, at some other entry, I'll place a link to that discussion here.

The second difficulty, what one means by the word word, is not so straightforward to address as one might at first suppose. There is some support for views at opposite extremes. For example, different spellings usually imply different words, but some English words have multiple accepted spellings. Moreover, it is accepted to say that the different conjugations of a verb are different forms of a single ``word'' (e.g., eat, eats, ate, eaten, eating). (You guessed right, I'm eating this, I mean writing this, on an empty stomach.)

Back later.

Allied (i.e. NATO) Command CHANnel.

Australian Computing and Communications Institute.

Automated Command and Control Information System.

Oh -- you want the WASC-ACCJC.

Activated Cloud Condensation Nuclei.

Articulating Crane Council of North America. ``[F]ormed to promote and serve the common interests of articulating crane manufacturers in the development and sale of safe, efficient and useful products''; became an NTEA affiliate in fall 1992.

Remember, you can't spell accordion without accord. Just don't mention it to Honda.

Actually, the name accordion is somewhat curious. I would have thought that it was somehow parallel to harmonium. That instrument, invented by Alexandre-François Debain circa 1840, takes its (French and identical English) name from the Latin word harmonia (< Gk. harmonios, `harmonious'). At least one other instrument was, in fact, named on a similar pattern. The melodeon (commoner US usage, based on the inferred Greek original) or melodium (British) takes its name from the French orgue mélodium. The latter term was coined by J. Alexandre, who purchased the right to make harmonium-type instruments from Debain in 1844. Debain stipulated that the name harmonium not be used. These instruments were reed organs (they used air pressure from a foot-operated pump).

There was also a short-lived German Melodium developed by H. Bode and O. Vierling of Berlin. It was a ``monophonic electronic keyboard instrument,'' which I suppose means it played only one pitch at a time and would therefore, have been more appropriate for playing melodies. Bode performed on the instrument on radio and in theatre and films, but in 1941 the parts were apparently cannibalized in work that led to the Melochord.

So back to the accordion. A forerunner of the accordion was invented in 1821 by Christian Friedrich Ludwig Buschmann, and in 1829 the Accordion (also Akkordion) was patented in Vienna by Cyrill Demian. (Debain, Demian...)

One of the fellow German-Jewish refugees that my mom knew in Argentina back in the 1950's was a fellow who had been a concert pianist in Germany, iirc. A pianist, anyway. He went looking for work as a musical instrument salesman, and a merchant told him there wasn't much demand for piano, but accordions sold well, and as the accordion was another keyboard instrument, the man wouldn't have any trouble picking it up. He picked up the accordion, and he never looked back.

I presume that the popularity of the accordion in Argentina is bolstered by its importance in music for tango, the national dance of Argentina. Accordionists play a role in tango orchestras that string bass players do in Chicago jazz: they are required to emote crazily.

Accordion music is also important for movies set in France. Accordion background music means the scene is set in France or a nominally French area like the French Quarter of New Orleans.

Alliance for Cervical Cancer Prevention.

American College of Chest Physicians.

American College of Clinical Pharmacology.

American College of Clinical Pharmacy.

The Association of AS/400 Corporate Computing Professionals, Inc. An all-volunteer, ``non-profit organization of San Francisco Bay Area professionals'' that wisely omitted the machine name (AS/400) from its organization name, and is now gracefully transitioning to The Association of iSeries Corporate Computing Professionals, Inc. (ACCP).

Adjacent Channel Coupled Power Ratio. Specifically a measure of interference rather than noise.

accrual date
An interest accrual date is the date that interest charges on a loan begin to accrue. Outside of civil suits, the context is usually adequate to allow this to be called simply an accrual date. In torts, the accrual date is the date of the action or event causing the injury for which a claim is brought. (``Injury'' is used in the technical sense -- encompassing personal injury, loss, damage, etc. for which claimant seeks to recover damages.)

Air Command and Control System. (NATO acronym.)

Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television. It must have seemed a clever acronym at some point, but the website only uses ``the Academy'' (and ``l'Académie'').


Association of C and C++ Users. ``...a non-commercial organisation based in the United Kingdom [so book prices are in the exotic unit of pounds; then again, that's how many of us measure the value of books] and run by people interested in the C family of programming languages.''

accuracy enhancement
This is a term occasionally encountered in the field of microwave measurements. It's an accurate-enough but nevertheless offensive synonym for ``calibration.'' (The instrument calibrated is a network analyzer.)

accused of allegedly
Accused of. People with an uncertain grasp of their language might think that since words have meaning, more words have more meaning, so pile it on! Then again, maybe they don't think. In fact, when redundant or inappropriate qualification is added to an expression that is accurate without it, the fact of the qualification typically adds only information about the speaker or writer, rather than about the subject described. And the information is not good.

In this instance, moreover, the more verbose version is generally wrong. People are not generally accused of allegedly doing anything. Cf. high rate of speed.

[phone icon]

Automatic Call Distribut{ion | or}. Please hold. Calls are answered in the order received. (``Your call will be answered in the order that it was received.'')

Arms Control and Disarmament Agency of the US government. The ACDA was established by an act of Congress of September 26, 1961 (22 U.S.C. 2561); it became part of the State Department on April Fool's Day of 1999. An archive of the old ACDA site formerly located at <http://www.acda.gov> is now maintained as part of the Electronic Research Collections (ERC) of historic State Department materials by the federal depository library at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

In the Clinton administration, the former ACDA came under the policy oversight of the Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, its activities split among four bureaus: Arms Control, Nonproliferation, Political-Military Affairs, Verification and Compliance. The State Department maintains ``a permanent electronic archive of information released prior to'' dubya's inauguration. The current (April 2003) page for that Under Secretary seems to imply that the Bureau of Verification and Compliance reports to the Under Secretary but is not under that official's policy oversight. (This probably reflects its intended independence as the source of reports to Congress, including the ``President's Annual Report to Congress on Adherence to and Compliance with Arms Control Agreements.'')

A Rock group. This site has lyrics to some of the songs.

The editorial we used to use the expression ``AC/DC'' to mean `swing[s] both ways.' We meant ``swing'' in a highly specific way.

AC/DC can also refer to the standard alternatives in electric power: alternating and direct current (AC and DC, resp.). In Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and probably quite a few other Romance languages, AC/DC suggests the standard alternatives in dating, but not swinging.

Accelerated College Enrollment. Thanks to the Huskins Bill, North Carolina community colleges can offer ``college courses'' to high school students, usually on their high school campuses. SCC, for example, offers Precal Algebra and Precal Trig to high school juniors and seniors.

This is brilliant! Given that community colleges award ``college credit'' for what is essentially remedial education in high school subjects, why not begin remediation before it's necessary?

The next bright idea: cut out the junior-college middleman! Allow high schools, usually on their own high school campuses, to offer HS-level courses to high school students! Brilliantissimo!

Accumulated Cyclone Energy. The ACE index is normally described as ``a wind energy index.'' It is defined as the sum of the squares of the estimated 6-hourly maximum sustained surface wind speed (in knots) for all named systems while they are at least of tropical-storm strength. If the overall velocity profile of any storm scales approximately linearly with the maximum sustained surface wind speed, then the ACE index ought to scale approximately with the total kinetic energy of the cyclones. The ACE index is normally stated not in square knot units (I had to write that) but as a percentage of its median value.

Advanced Certificate in Education.

Advanced Composition Explorer. A space mission, not some atonal composer.

Advanced Computing Environment. Same as obsolete computing environment, in a couple of years.

Alliance for Catholic Education. Established in 1994. You think that just because I get brochures about this in my mailbox, I'm gonna type stuff in? You got another think comin'.

Alliance for Clinical Education. Self-described as a ``multidisciplinary group formed in 1992 to enhance clinical instruction of medical students.''

Allied (i.e. NATO) Command Europe.

American Council on Education. Holds its annual meeting in February.

ACE develops the GED tests, which allow someone to demonstrate high-school-level academic proficiency. They were originally created by ACE for the United States Armed Forces Institute, to help WWII veterans, but are now used very widely.

American Council on Exercise. Some of these ACE's must cross paths occasionally. This ACE, like ACSM, certifies trainers.

Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme. A naturally-occurring enzyme administered as a medication (lisinopril or enalapril) to patients with congestive heart failure (CHF). Sometimes misexpanded as ``angiotension-converting enzyme.'' Stick with the acronym if you don't know what you're talkiong about.

Antiradiation Missile Countermeasure Evaluation.

Award for Cable[casting] Excellence. Explained at the CableACE Awards entry, you'll be sorry to know.

Association des Constructeurs Européens d'Automobiles. `European Automobile Manufacturers Association.'

American Consulting Engineers Council. Changed its name to become the ACEC.

American Council of Engineering Companies. Self-described as ``the only national organization devoted exclusively to the business and advocacy interests of engineering companies.'' Offices in Washington, D.C. The same organization is still often referred to as the American Consulting Engineers Council. I haven't been able to track down a press release or announcement of the name change, but on the basis of newspaper citations, the Consulting-Engineers name has been in use since at least the 1970's, and the Engineering-Companies name was first used not much earlier than June 2001.

Associazione Cattolica Esercenti Cinema. Italian, `association of [Roman] Catholic film practitioners.' In June they hold a ceremony bestowing leone d'oro (`golden lion') awards.

American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.

Accrediting Commission on Education for Health Services Administration. The link anchored here on the expansion is hardly under construction yet (in May 2006), though the domain name has been owned by ACEHSA for many years. Try this site for some institutional history.

I don't know what this stands for, but perhaps by a further thoughtful perusal of this document, you may be able to figure it out.

ACE Inhibitor
A drug that lowers blood pressure by inhibiting the action of ACE. Demonstrated to prevent or slow the progression of kidney disease in diabetics.

Association Canadienne des Étudiants et des Internes en Pharmacie. English: CAPSI.

A surprising Spanish word. All the major Romance languages have words derived from the Latin verb acere, `to taste sour.' Spanish does too (generally via French): ácido is `acid' and `sour,' acérbico is `acerbic,' acre is `acrid,' vinagre is `vinegar,' etc. (For more etymological details, see the acetic acid entry.)

The surprising thing is that aceite, which also refers to a fluid added to salad, is not related to those words. Aceite (like azeite in Portuguese) means `oil' and `olive oil.' Besides Spanish and Portuguese, most major Romance languages take their word for oil from Latin oleum. This root gave rise, mostly through French, to the English words oil and olive, and hence to olive oil (and, for that matter, the name Olive Oyl). The systematic chemical suffixes -ol and -ole arose from the fact that, before there was any clear understanding of microscopic chemical structure, virtually any fluid other than water was liable to be called an ``oil.'' Old Spanish had the word olio, meaning `[olive] oil,' but it probably would have evolved into a near homophone of ojo (`eye') in Modern Spanish. Spanish got aceite from the Arabic word zaite. (The initial a- presumably represents the Arabic definite article al.) Spanish also has the words oliva and olivo for the olive (fruit of the olive tree) and the olive tree, respectively. For the fruit, however, the word aceituna is much more common than oliva, while for the tree, olivo is the standard word.

Association for Childhood Education International of Western New York.

This is a key word in Spanish, exactly the sort of exception that proves a rule. The word can be translated `sense,' but the only thing that an acepción is ever the sense of is a word, and it is more precisely translated as `distinct meaning.' In writing this glossary I often write sense and wish I could use the sharper tool of a word like acepción. I'd even be willing to get out in front and introduce an appropriately spelled version of the word into English, but it has seemed too late, or too early: an old word acception (q.v.) already exists with a closely similar but crucially different meaning.

The main thing that one can say about acepeciones in Spanish (as opposed to what one can say, as above, about the word acepción itself) is that typically, Spanish words have a lot of them. I have fun with this at various parts of the glossary. (See ABRA, for example.) It seems natural to me that Spanish would have a word like acepción -- it's needed. Moreover, appropriately, the word acepción has only una acepción.

acento gráfico
Accentuation is a prominent aspect of Spanish orthography. Acute accents are used primarily to indicate stress. There are simple rules that determine where the stress should normally occur if not explicitly noted (on the penultimate syllable if the word ends in a vowel or the letter n or s; on the last syllable otherwise). Hence, the accent is only marked if the stress falls elsewhere than the rule would indicate, to distinguish homonyms with stress that follows the rule, and in a very few other instances. In order to distinguish stress from the mark indicating it, the two are usually called acento gráfico and acento prosódico.

Advisory Committee on Environmental Resources.

American CERamic Society.

Applied Computational Electromagnetics Society.

acetal plastic
Polyacetal (ACL).

acetate plastic
PolyVinylAcetate. (Abbreviated PVA or PVAc).

acetic acid
Active ingredient in vinegar. Created from alcohol by our friends, the acetobacter bacteria. For most of human history, vinegar was the strongest acid known.

The term ``acetic acid'' is about as etymologically redundant as it sounds. The Latin verb acere, `to taste sour,' yielded the word acetum, `vinegar.' It also yielded an adjective acidus > French acide, meaning `sour.' The word vinegar itself comes from the Old French vyn egre, from the Latin vinum, `wine,' and acrem, accusative of acer, `sharp.' (Never mind those final ems. They were already being elided in Late Latin. Obviously, the same colection of acer words yielded the English words acerbic and acrid. The Old French egre or aigre yielded the English eager, now applied to persons, with a somewhat different sense than the original French word. The word keen is not quite capacious enough to cover the earlier and current senses of eager, when applied to living beings, but the way a knife can have a keen edge suggests the connection between sharpness and the current meaning of eager.)

All three major Scrabble dictionaries accept acetum and its nominative plural aceta. The OSPD4 explains that it means `vinegar.' Sure -- in Latin. Even the OED doesn't list acetum as an English word. Look, as long as we're going down this road, can't I use the genitive singular aceti?

The radical CH3CO derived from acetic acid by the removal of its hydroxyl group (cf. acyl):
                      H C
                       3 \
                           C == O

acetylsalicylic acid
2-acetyloxybenzoic acid. Aspirin.

Access Control Field. (DQDB acronym.)

Access Coordination Function.

Administration for Children and Families. A component of the US DHHS.

Advanced Communication Function. IBM acronym meaning: ``Yes! Your hopelessly old-fashioned host-centric legacy system can learn new tricks! Keep it, and soon you'll have to be buying year-2000 solutions from us too!''

Advanced Communication Function/ Network Control Program (NCP)
Advanced Communication Function/ TeleCommunications Access Method
Advanced Communication Function/ Virtual Terminal Access Method (VTAM)

American Culinary Federation.

AutoCorrelation Function.

L'Association canadienne-française pour l'avancement des sciences. (`French Canadian Association for the Advancement of Science.')

Association of Christian Fighter Pilots.

There was a Wrangler Jeans commercial on TV during 2001 that sounded a patriotic theme. Music accompanied the words ``Some folks are born, made to wave the flag / Ooooh -- they're red, white, and blue.'' Those are the opening lines of ``Fortunate Son,'' a Vietnam-era protest song by CCR. The song continues ``And when the band plays `Hail To The Chief,' / Ooooh, they point the cannon at you.'' It's not the celebratory patriotic song that it starts out sounding like. Perhaps ACFP might have considered using a carefully edited version of ``Sky Pilot'' in the same, uh, spirit: ``You're soldiers of god, you must understand / The fate of your country is in your young hands.'' As it happens, ACFP has its own theme song -- ``Brothers In Arms.''

I love this stuff, because Jesus is Love. Incidentally, the last line of ``Sky Pilot'' goes ``Remember the words `thou shalt not kill'.'' This is not a precise translation. Both of the Hebrew versions (at Exodus 20:13 and Deuteronomy 5:17) use a word that should be (and elsewhere in the Bible usually is) translated `murder.' The wording of the KJV repeats that of the Coverdale Bishops' Bible of 1535. Coverdale didn't know Hebrew, so this is probably an English translation of Luther's German translation (which at both places uses töten, `kill') or borrowed from one of Coverdale's friends, such as Tyndale. In any case, the prescription of capital punishments elsewhere in the Bible makes clear that not all killing is proscribed.

The words kill and murder had pretty much the same semantic ranges in Elizabethan English (``Early Modern English'') as they do today. Besides fealty to the original, however, another goal of the KJV creators was to preserve English that had become familiar. (The same motive probably explains why kill has continued to be used in some of the repackagings of the KJV -- like the ASV -- that have been marketed as ``new translations.'') Certainly, they understood the plain meaning of the original text, and might have changed the wording if it had occurred to them that anyone might be confused. At the time, however, a Christian would no more have supposed the commandment to forbid any killing of humans than to forbid killing of any animals. It was a question of how much of what might be implicit needed to be in the translation. I doubt that anyone before the twentieth century seriously suggested that the commandment was meant to forbid all killing of humans. That interpretation is only possible for those who are thoroughly ignorant of the Bible.

Association for Corporate Growth. You figure it's yet another consulting outfit, but it turns out to be a nonprofit.

American Corn Growers Association. ``The American Corn Growers Association is America's leading progressive commodity association, representing the interests of thousands of corn producers in 28 states. Since it's [ah -- I knew there had to be an apostrophe mark around here somewhere!] inception in 1987, the ACGA has worked tirelessly to protect farm income and rural communities. The ACGA recognizes that farmers need to have the opportunity to be rewarded for their time, investment and risk.''

Association for Clay and Glass Artists of California. Not abbreviated ACGAC. The closer you look, the smaller it looks. It's really mostly a San Francisco Bay Area group. Perhaps they have territorial ambitions, in the grand tradition of the ``Continental Army'' of the united states of the mid-Atlantic seaboard of North America.

Accreditation Council for Gynecologic Endoscopy, Inc.

American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists, Inc. No, not ``Government and.'' Originally, the organization was for government personnel involved in industrial hygiene. Now membership is open to ``all practitioners in industrial hygiene, occupational health, environmental health, or safety.'' It was originally called the NCGIH (National ...). The name was changed in 1946. I guess they only change their name when necessary. Cf. AIHA.

Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education.

American College of General Practitioners in Osteopathic Medicine and Surgery. Old name of ACOFP, q.v.

Association des Chirurgiens Généraux du Québec. French: `Québec Association of General Surgeons.' Now known as l'Association québécoise de Chirurgie. Along with the name change there was also a change of acronym and URL.

Association des cadres du gouvernement du Québec. This might be translated `Québec Association of Government Officials.' I don't know if there is an official (or officials') translation.

Ach, ACh
AcetylCHoline. Important neurotransmitter.

AdrenoCortical Hormone.

German interjection meaning `ah' or `aw.'

A few centuries ago the pronunciation of Ach could have been rendered agh in English, but agh! now means something more like aieeee or ack.

In real life, precision is often impossible in principle.

Air Changes per Hour. A measure of ventilation. If a pollutant (or perfume, for that matter) enters the interior environment at some rate R per hour, and the ACH is n, then the interior environment continually harbors an amount R/n of whatever-it-is, which for a moment we'll regard as a solute.

Strictly speaking, the R/n statement above is true only under the assumption of strong mixing. That is, it is assumed that the solute is uniformly dispersed in the interior environment, so air exhausted contains a concentration equal to the average concentration in the interior. It also assumes that there are no other sinks for the solute. A sink could be a loss of solute through reaction, precipitation, condensation, or adsorption to solid surfaces. If it's not a solute -- if it's in suspension rather than solution, then technically it could not come out of solution, which is what ``precipitate'' normally means in technical non-meteorological usage. We could say it might settle out.

Association for Computers and the Humanities. An international professional organization for people working in computer-aided research in literature and language studies, history, philosophy, and other humanities disciplines, and especially research involving the manipulation and analysis of textual materials.

In 1998 ACH had a joint conference in Hungary with ALLC. In 2001 they have one at New York University with ALLC. This is part of a pattern described at the ALLC entry.

Automated ClearingHouse. A network that provides electronic funds transfer services.

American College of Hospital Administrators. Now known by the superior acronym ACHE.

In Spanish, there is no word spelled acha, but hacha, q.v., has the same pronunciation.


American College of Healthcare Executives. Oh, Bravo! Bravo! Very clever. An acronym so good it hurts.

What I want to know is whether this rhymes with FACHE® (Fellow of the ACHE). An ACHE Diplomate is a Certified Healthcare Executive, or CHE®.

ACHE was earlier known as the American College of Hospital Administrators.

Advanced Course in Hardware Retailing. ``Knowledgeable employees increase sales!''

What a plausible concept! For details, simply become an NRHA member.

After Clean Inspection.

American Concrete Institute.

L'Agence canadienne d'inspection des aliments. As you realize if you read French, that means `agency for the ailments of the Canadian woman inspector Des.' Des is obviously the French form of the English woman's name Desiree. ACIA in English is CFIA (Canadian Food Inspection Agency).

Asynchronous Communications Interface Adapter. A UART. An example is the 6850 communications chip used by the MC68000.

Automated Calibration Internal Analysis System.


Augusta County Institute for Classical Studies. ``[B]ased in Virginia's beautiful Shenandoah Valley,'' it is ``a nonprofit educational organization dedicated to advancing the knowledge of the ancient Greco-Roman world on the elementary school level.''

This reminds me of Disraeli's infamous comment about his wife.

``The centerpiece of the Institute is its student program, known as LatinSummer. LatinSummer, a summer enrichment program for students in grades three to five, is a joint project of ACICS and Augusta County Public Schools. It is one of the largest of the County's many summer programs. Each year, LatinSummer accepts approximately 100 students from the Augusta County public school system. These students then take part in two weeks of exciting, hands-on classes covering topics such as Mythology, Roman Culture, Classical Latin, and Conversational Latin. The students also participate in an activity period each day, which allows them to delve deeper into Classics through hands-on and critical thinking activities.''

Of course that's not Disraeli's comment. I figured you'd just know that. You didn't? There is more than one version, and possibly more than one is accurate, but in the form I've seen most, Benjamine Disraeli is said to have remarked to a friend after her death that ``She was an admirable creature, but she never knew who came first, the Greeks or the Romans.''

AirCraft IDentification.

A proton donor or, in the Lewis definition, an electron-pair acceptor. Details of the etymology at the acetic acid entry.

In general, acids taste sour. Indeed, European languages typically use the same word for the chemical and gustatory properties. One can translate the first sentence of this paragraph into Spanish as: En general, los ácidos tienen gusto ácido. It detracts a bit from the impressiveness of the insight. Ditto German: Im allgemein, die Säuren schmecken sauer.

But getting back to the point (and ``sharp'' taste is often sourness), the sour taste sense detects chemical acidity, but there is no equivalent taste sense for basicity. Just so you can calibrate your mouth, the pH of lemons is around 2.2, and vinegar is around 2.9. Acid taste is not a perfect measure of acidity, however. For example, apples and grapefruit have comparable acidity (3 to 3.3). Apples taste much less sour because another important factor in determining sour taste is sugar: sweetness masks acidity.

Moreover, if your sausage-and-plantain tastes too sickly sweet, a dash of hot sauce will fix the problem.

American College of Integrated Delivery Systems. Be careful you don't spill that.

American Council of Independent Laboratories. That's what it formerly stood for. They've moved beyond their expansion, and that is now in the category of etymology. I hate that. Most other people don't accept it too well either; they want an organization's name to tell them something about it. Of course, they also don't want an organization's name to change. The only solution if you have a meaningful name is to never change what you do (spin off subsidiaries, if necessary). Another alternative is to use a meaningless name in the first place.

American Center for International Labor Solidarity. See IRI for the low-down.

Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.

Adjacent Channel Interface Power Ratio.

American Conference for I-wish Studies. Oops, sorry -- Fudd on the brain again. That's Irish Studies. Or, as most natives would hardly know how to say, An Chomhdháil Mheiriceánach do Léann na hÉireann. It's
``a multidisciplinary scholarly organization with approximately 1500 members in the United States, Ireland, Canada and other countries around the world.

Each spring the ACIS holds a national conference attended by 300-400 people from the academic community and the general public. Each fall, meetings are held in the New England, Mid-Atlantic, Midwest, and Western regions; the Southern regional takes place in the winter. [You know, these guys have something on the ball!] The ACIS also sponsors joint sessions with the American Historical Association [What? The Irish have something to do with US history?] and the Modern Language Association at their annual conventions. Both national and regional meetings include plenary speakers, academic sessions in all fields of Irish Studies, poetry and fiction readings, films and performances of Irish music or plays. In recent years the ACIS has met in Boston, Madison, Omaha, and Philadelphia, as well as Dublin, Galway, Belfast and Limerick. ...''

Active little group, aren't they!

``The ACIS was founded in 1960 as the American Committee for Irish Studies [an interesting coincidence]; it is incorporated in the Commonwealth of Virginia as a non-profit organization.''

I'm not sure if ACIS is a singular ``conference'' because it originally had only one (almost) annual meeting (the 38th, in Limerick, was not until 2000) or if it's singular in the same way that the United Synagogue (see USCJ) or the Roman Catholic Church is singular.

Asociación Cristiana de Jóvenes. Spanish, `Christian Association of Youths.' The official name and corresponding initialism of the YMCA in Latin America. However, the YMCA logo is used there, and pronounced as a Spanish acronym. That sounds approximately like ``EEM-kah'' in English.

Interjection expressing distress.

ack, ACK
ACKnowledge. ASCII 06, (CTRL-F), Acknowledgments.

A mass-ack is a mass acknowledgment, typically a newsgroup posting in acknowledgment of the receipt of many emails or email votes.

Slang expansion of Anti-Aircraft fire or Antiaircraft Arms (AA). I thought it was an onomatopoeia for the sound made by some machine guns, but the dictionary agrees with Mark. As a sop, it concedes that the usage was influenced by ``attack,'' so there's a sense in which the term is imitative.

The Philosophical Lexicon edited by Daniel Dennett offers an uncannily similar meaning in philosophical discourse, based on a completely unrelated etymology (Ackerman eponym).

The title of a memoir by General Sir Frederick Pile, G.C.B., D.S.O., M.C., G.O.C.-in-C., Anti-Aircraft Command 1939-45. The book is mostly about ``Britain's defence against air attack during the second world war.''

I read so few books that in order to appear literate, I make a point of discussing extensively in this glossary every book I do read. This one is mentioned at the command entry.

Published works often contain a formal expression of the thanks due to people or institutions who have helped make the publication possible.

In articles for technical journals and conference proceedings, a separate paragraph or two is typical, tucked between the end of the text and the beginning of the list of references, with the section heading ``Acknowledgments.'' This is the place to mention people who participated in ``useful discussions'' but who didn't make the cut as coauthors. It is also a good place to thank any private or public agency that funded or facilitated the research. A 1997 conference paper by John K. Yoh has two-and-a-half pages of acknowledgments, ending with ``[and thanks] ... especially to our funding agencies (ERDA, NSF) and the American taxpayers.'' Awwww... he remembered! [The quoted paper is ``The Discovery of the b Quark at Fermilab in 1977: The Experiment Coordinator's Story,'' presented at some conference at Fermilab in 1997. (January or March, apparently.)]

Serious nonfiction books normally have acknowledgments in the front matter (see also forward), either as part of a preface or as a separate section. (Acknowledgments in some form are actually required, but since jerks and geniuses are exempted, we're off the hook.)

It is not uncommon for the end of a book's acknowledgments to be a sort of ``dis-disclaimer'' (awkward neologism, sorry) or ``reclaimer'' (hackneyed joke, sorry) in which the author accepts responsibility for all errors, despite the involvement of others who might have prevented them. Here's an unusual version of this, in Orrin W. Robinson's Old English and its Closest Relatives: A Survey of the Earliest Germanic Languages (Stanford University Press, 1992). Its Preface (pp. v-vi) ends thus:

      It hardly needs to be said that I would like to blame the above people for any defects remaining in the book. Unfortunately, I can't. O.W.R.

A somber note also occurs at the end of ``Stuperspace,'' the last article in a special proceedings issue of Physica 15D, pp. 289-293 (1985):

We would like to thank A. Einstein; unfortunately, he's dead.

The preceding examples probably expressed greater regret than was felt. That's better than the alternative situation. Here's how Simon Varey begins the Acknowledgments page of his Space and the Eighteenth-Century English Novel (Cambridge Studies in Eighteenth-Century English Literature and Thought 7):

In New York City on 1 May 1984, a thief took every one of my notes for an earlier incarnation of this book. I refer him to Tristram Shandy, book 3, chapter 11. Because of him I have written a different book, and probably a better one, but I wish I had not been forced to do so much of the research twice.

(The entire cited chapter is given over to the reading of an extremely thorough and ecumenical anathema.)

Let's have another writer's nightmare: Ernest Hemingway's first wife Hadley once put all his typescripts together with all the carbons in one suitcase. She forgot the suitcase on a train platform; it was stolen and never recovered.

``Acknowledgements'' is a variant spelling. I want to thank other reference sources for setting me straight on this. See also dedications and NORAD.

I just happened to find my copy of a (probably the) biography of Robert L. Vann, and noticed that the scratched-over handwriting inside the front cover is a vague dedication by the author. (``In appreciation for what I am attempting to do. Thanks, Andrew Buni. September 20, 1974.'') I suppose it's possible that this was written at a signing, but the text and the presence of a date suggest otherwise. Also, back in those days university presses didn't engage in much, if any, of that sort of promotion. I figure Buni sent this as a complimentary copy, possibly as a promotion.

Taking Buni's presumed gesture as an acknowledgment of moral support, at least, we might describe it as an intermediate level of acknowledgment: the person to whom the dedication was inscribed is not explicitly acknowledged in the front matter. This raises the question whether persons acknowledged get a complimentary copy. I received one book this way, and I'm not aware of any other book in which I have been acknowledged. With very long acknowledgment lists, however, and with certain kinds of corporate entities, I imagine complimentary copies are rare. It's probably up to the author, and publishers probably balk at too many complimentary copies unless they can be justified as realistically promoting sales.

With textbooks, however, things get a bit twisted. Since professors can ``require'' a book for courses they teach, textbook publishers consider the ``examination copies'' sent free to them a sensible expense. The word ``required'' is enclosed in quotes because many students don't buy (or rent) the texts their professors think they require. University book stores place orders for fewer books than professors ``order'' from them, partly anticipating this and partly to account for competition from off-campus book sources and from nominally inappropriate older editions still in circulation. Problems occur whenever (and that's often) book stores guess wrong as to the number of books that will really be required. Students may want to keep this in mind, and not wait too long to buy books for smaller courses. It is my impression that this is a particular problem for engineering courses, but that might be biased by my limited experience. I hope you read this paragraph carefully. At any time it's liable to be removed to ``examination copy'' or ``university book stores'' or some other entry, and you'll have a hell of a time finding it again.

Other academic publication quirks have to do with doctoral and master's dissertations. These are bound, but hardly published. (Their content does often see publication, however. In science and engineering, the dissertation is often cobbled from short papers the student authored or co-authored for journal publication. In the humanities, a recent graduate's doctoral dissertation typically forms the core of a book that a newly-minted tenure-track professor hopes will lead to tenure. For the extremely unusual instance of a dissertation eventually published over 40 years later, see the case of Frank Bourgin at the ABD entry.) In any event, dissertations are now mostly available in cheap photocopies that University Microfilms will produce from its archives. Most of them have acknowledgment front matter, and the degree candidate -- if not too stupid to earn a degree -- first acknowledges his academic advisor (or occasionally advisors), and then others (especially orals committee members). The university library always, the department if required, the advisor or advisors certainly, and the other members of the committee often get a bound copy of the final version of the dissertation. (The library may require more than one.)

Access Control List. Used in NTFS for Windows NT.

ACetal. Polyoxymethylene. Also abbreviated POM. San Diego Plastics, Inc. has a short page of information on Acetal.

Advanced CMOS Logic. One-micron technology. Also AC. Cf. ACT. This page from TI.


American Classical League. Founded in 1919 for the purpose of fostering the study of classical languages in the United States and Canada. An organization mostly for secondary-school Latin and Greek teachers, but membership is open to anyone who (and only to anyone who) would want to join (``committed to the preservation and advancement of our classical inheritance from Greece and Rome'').

Based in Oxford! Oh. Sorry, I mean ``Oxford, OH!'' So is the Campanian Society, come to think of it.

Anterior Cruciate Ligament.

Association for Computational Linguistics.

American Comparative Literature Association, founded in 1960. A constituent society of the ACLS since 1974. ACLS has an overview.

American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine. In ninth-grade biology, one of our first labs involved shelling a clam.

Allied (i.e. NATO) Command atLANTic.


Acta CLASsica. Annual, begun in 1959. Published by A. A. Balkema Publishers. ISSN 0065-1141. Indexed on PCI (not free) and TOCS-IN (free). (Choose.)

American Center for Law and Justice.

In 1990, it ``began its operations in Virginia Beach, Virginia -- where the ACLJ was founded by Dr. Pat Robertson, a Yale Law School graduate [better known, I believe, as a Christian broadcaster]. Over the years, the ACLJ has expanded its work and reach with the creation of the European Centre for Law and Justice, based in Strasbourg, France,'' and ``the Slavic Centre for Law and Justice, based in Moscow, Russia. Today, the ACLJ has a network of attorneys nationwide and its national headquarters is located in Washington, D.C. -- just steps away from the Supreme Court and Congress.''

Academy of Clinical Laboratory Physicians and Scientists.

Advanced Cardiac Life Support. A regime including defibrillator and drugs.

American Council of Learned Societies.

Thirty-four out of its sixty-one constituent societies have names beginning in the letter A.

American Civil Liberties Union. Nat Hentoff, a disenchanted former activist member, says a friend of his now calls them the ``religious left.''


Academy of Country Music. A trade association based in Los Angeles.

`` 'cademy'' -- that sounds kinda pointy-headed. Shore would be nass if'n they got togethah witha computin' machin'ry folk fer a joint hoot'n'anny!

In ``The Blues Brothers,'' Elwood (Dan Ackroyd) asks ``What kind of music do you usually have here?'' He receives this immortal reply:

Oh, we got both kinds. We got country and western.

Y'know, this is just the sort of attitude that could explain how there has to be a CMA as well. (Interestingly, even though SBF has a full-time banjo expert at the alpha chapter [Buffalo], we only learned about ACM and CMA through a videotaping mishap at our Ontario research facility.)

Address Complete Message. (ATM, SS7 acronym.)

Alan Crider Ministries.

Alliance for Community Media.

Asbestos-Containing Material. A quick way to make bankruptcy look attractive.

Association for Computing Machinery. It would be pretty odd if this organization didn't have a homepage.

Whatis?com offers a handy list of their special interest groups (SIG's).

Atmospheric Corrosion-rate Monitor[s].

Audio Compression Manager.

American College of Medical Informatics.

A.C. Milan
Associazione Calcio MILAN. A very successful soccer club founded in 1899. The founders were Englishmen. Perhaps if they'd been Italians in England it might have been called ``Milano Football Association,'' or ``Milano F.A.'' for short.

Association of Canadian Map Libraries & Archives. It's interesting to compare this with the French name (the expansion of ACACC).

American College of Medical Physics. Not an undergraduate-type college, you understand. Publishes the Journal of Applied Clinical Medical Physics (JACMP). Cf. AAPM.

American College of Medical Practice Executives. Closely affiliated with the MGMA. The ACMPE administers examinations (and requires continuing education credit hours) to certify MPE's (as CMPE's). Publication of one sort or another is required to advance to fellow status (FACMPE).

Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies. At ASU.

Aircraft Condition Monitoring System.

L'Association canadienne des médecins vétérinaires. (In English: CVMA.)

ACetoNitrile. CH3CN. A/k/a methyl cyanide, cyanomethane (37k and 5.6k ghits respectively, as of mid-May 2009, compared to 2.35M ghits for acetonitrile). The systematic name, the name deemed correct by IUPAC, is ethanenitrile (8.4k ghits).

Acetonitrile is a byproduct of acrylonitrile production. Acrylonitrile is also abbreviated ACN.

ACryloNitrile. CH2CHCN. See previous entry.

Anglican Communion Network. An incipient secessionist movement still (2005) within the ECUSA. Alternatively, it is a part of the ECUSA that wants to remain within the worldwide Anglican Communion as the ECUSA departs. ``ACN allows Episcopalians to remain in communion with the vast majority of the worldwide Anglican Communion who have declared either impaired or broken communion with the Episcopal Church USA. For many Episcopalians, the ACN has come to represent the hope for a return to the historic faith and order of Anglicanism.'' From the outside, it seems to be all about gay clergy, but they insist it's about other, minor stuff, like belief in God and scripture. Cf. AAC.

Automated Collision Notification (system).

L'Association canadienne des optométristes. In English: CAO.

Automatic Cut-Off.

Adult Child[ren] Of Alcoholic[s].

Ethyl (Et) Acetate (Ac). The ester formed from ethanol (CH3CH2OH) and acetic acid (CH3COOH). The O in the abbreviation presumably represents the oxygen between the carboxyl and alcohol carbons.

American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians. ``ACOFP is the national organization of Osteopathic Family Physicians. ... Officially chartered April 4, 1950, in the State of California, the College was affiliated with the AOA in 1953 as the American College of General Practitioners in Osteopathic Medicine and Surgery.''

Since this is an acronym glossary, the only thing we're allowed to say about the Acol bidding system in bridge is that Acol is not an acronym. Oh, all right.

The following is from a newsgroup posting by Martin Ambuhl:

The Acol system evolved from discussions by Jack Marx and S.J. Simon at the Acol Bridge Club in Acol Road in Hampstead. These were fueled by the 1933 Culbertson's America vs. England match. Marx and Simon formed the first Acol Team with Harrison Gray and Iain Macleod in 1935. They completely dominated the previously preeminent teams (Ingram, Beasley, and Lederer), winning everything in sight. The Acol team, augmented by Leslie Dobbs and Kenneth Konstam, won the 1936 Gold Cup. Shortly thereafter Terence Reese joined the Acol group. By the time the Germans invaded Poland, half the tournament players in England had adopted the new methods, including such players as Boris Shapiro, Niel Furse, Nico Gardner (head of the London School of Bridge).

There is an Acol Bridge Club in that part of London today, specifically at 86 West End Lane, West Hampstead, London NW6 2LX. That's at the corner of West End Lane and Compayne Gardens. From there along West End Lane it's about 3 blocks south (counting streetcorners on the left) to Acol Road. Some newsgroup postings claim it's the same club and some claim it isn't. There ought to be some reason why this bridge club is named for a short, somewhat distant side-street. Moreover, as of 2005, the club's homepage has a marquee that scrolls ``The Home of English Bridge for over 60 years!'' It's plausible that the page author wanted a round number, and that ``over 70 years'' wasn't yet appropriate when the page went up. OTOH, FWIW, the club's pages seem nowhere to come out and make the plain assertion that the Acol system was named after the club and not, say, vice versa.

Today Acol in various variants (including one called Stone Age Acol, presumably the closest to what was played in the 1930's) is the dominant bidding system in Britain.

Here's a manageable set of webpages on Acol, served by Bridge Guys (dot com).

Analytical Chemistry by Open Learning. A textbook series published by Wiley.

American Center of Oriental Research. In Amman, Jordan.

Association of Cancer Online Resources.

Australian Centre for Oilseed Research.

Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now. ``Now'' is a moving target. The organization has been in existence since 1970. It promotes left-wing and progressive causes in the US. In 2003, ACORN had 160,000 dues-paying members. Roughly one activist for every two thousand inactivists. Apparently that's not enough. They hire people for $8 an hour or thereabouts, to go into the community, find eligible citizens, and help them fill out voter-registration cards. The way this promotes left-wing causes is that the communities are poor and presumed to be left-leaning.

A wage of $8 an hour may not buy very good work, and many of the ex-cons they managed to hire didn't follow proper procedure. They helped non-existent and therefore ineligible citizens, named them fancifully or with help from newspapers and TV, and helped these fictitious persons fill out voter-registration cards by, for example, listing their addresses as homeless shelters. They must have been surprised when they were found out, but persons named Tom Tancredo, Dennis Hastert, and Leon Spinks turned out not to be as obscure as they must have supposed, and names like Fruito Boy Crispila not so credible. Just to put some numbers on this: in 2006, ACORN registered 1800 new voters in the state of Washington, and all but 6 of them were fake. According to Fox News, state investigators were told by one worker ``[that] it was a lot of hard work making up all those names'' and another ``said he would sit at home, smoke marijuana and fill out the forms.'' I guess that could explain Mr. Fruito Crispila.

Advisory Council On Science and Technology (UK). I don't know...pronouncability is not always a virtue. I can think of two alternate ways to apprehend the acronym per se that make this appear an infelicitous choice. Maybe they should have kept it ``Advisory Council of the United Kingdom Government on S&T issues.''

African, Caribbean, and Pacific. A heterogeneous but apparently useful category for economic-development types. It doesn't include any large country with possessions in or borders on one or more of the constituent regions.

Hey, why not? Here's proof that I didn't make this one up myself. If I had made it up, it would have been more specific, like Angola, Cuba, and Portugal or Purgatory (somewhere in the southern Hemisphere or New Mexico). [Let me clarify that: there's a town of Purgatory in New Mexico. For all I know, it might be a center for laxative production. Also, according to Dante's Divine Comedy, Purgatory is at the antipode to Jerusalem.]

In EC usage, ACP is a set of developing countries signatory to the Lomé convention (1975), a reciprocal trade-and-aid agreement.

American Center for Physics. ``A building that houses central offices for the American Institute of Physics, The American Physical Society, the American Association of Physics Teachers, and the American Association of Physicists in Medicine.''

The ACP is pleased to have a street address of
One Physics Ellipse,
College Park, MD 20740

American College of Phlebology. Man, they're putting American schools in all kinds of way-out places.

American College of Physicians.

American College of Psychiatrists.

Animal Care Panel. Founded in 1950, renamed AALAS in 1967.

Associated Collegiate Press.

The Observer is ``The Independent Student Newspaper Serving Notre Dame and Saint Mary's.'' The issue of Monday, February 25, 2001 had the following front-page story, modestly placed below the fold:

Observer takes top honors at ACP national convention.

The article was written by one of the senior news editors. Here are the first two paragraphs, faithfully transcribed:
The Observer took home its first ever Newspaper of the Year award Sunday from the Associated Collegiate Press (ACP).

``This was the result of many long hours in the office four our staff and is proof that The Observer is continuing it's long legacy of excellence,'' said Noreen Gillespie, managing editor of The Observer.

The story continues on page 4. Half of the World & Nation page (p. 5) is devoted to an AP wire report from London: Foot-and-mouth cases on the rise.

If you didn't read the rest of the paper, you might imagine that the elementary spelling errors and international news sense were jokes, like the full-issue salute to Saint Mary's women that once ran on Labor Day (1996, I think it was).

The Observer won in the ``Four-year [college] Daily [more than once per week]'' category. In addition to first- through third-place winners, there were two honorable mentions (HM's). That sounds like a higher honor.

If you believe what you read in the paper, then here's some further information on the ACP: it ``is a division of the National Scholastic Press Association [NSPA] and is the oldest and largest organization for college student media in the United States. Founded in 1921, the ACP today has nearly 800 members, including close to 600 student newspapers.'' As the ACP page explains, it was the NSPA that was founded in 1921, with some college members; the ACP was founded in 1933.

L'Association canadienne de philosophie. (Canadian Philosophical Association.)

L'Association canadienne des paraplégiques. (Canadian Paraplegic Association.)

Automóvel Clube de Portugal.

Autoridad del Canal de Panamá. `Panama Canal Authority.' An autonomous agency of the Panamanian government, charged with operating and maintaining the Panama Canal.

American Chronic Pain Association.

American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association.

American College Personnel Association.

American Concrete Pipe Association.

American Crop Protection Association. Brought to you by farmers, the people who own the 5AM TV timeslot.

Angular Correlation of Positron Annihilation Radiation. Calm down -- all it takes to annihilate a positron is an electron, and you contain about a mole of them per gram (or about 2.73x1026 per pound).

Association canadienne du personnel administratif universitaire. In English: CAUBO.

Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education. Formerly the ACPE.

Originally founded (1932) to accredit pre-service education, in 1975 its scope expanded to include accrediting providers of continuing pharmacy education. That's the general direction, isn't it? Professionalization up the wazoo. But the cure probably isn't worse than the disease. In continuing legal education, a lot of the commercially-offered credits are regarded as worthless.

American College of Physician Executives.

American Council on Pharmaceutical Education. Now the ACPE. The name change took place in 2003, so there's a lot of confusion, with many webpages referring to the ACPE when they mean the ACPE. Some pages mentioin both the ACPE and the ACPE, without giving any indication that they are the same organization. For more about the name change, see the this AJP entry.

Advanced Configuration and Power Interface.
``An open industry specification co-developed by Compaq, Intel, Microsoft, Phoenix, and Toshiba.

ACPI establishes industry-standard interfaces for OS-directed configuration and power management on laptops, desktops, and servers.

ACPI evolves the existing collection of power management BIOS code, Advanced Power Management (APM) application programming interfaces (APIs), PNPBIOS APIs, Multiprocessor Specification (MPS) tables and so on into a well-defined power management and configuration interface specification.

The specification enables new power management technology to evolve independently in operating systems and hardware while ensuring that they continue to work together.''

Of practical consumer interest:

OSPM provides a new appliance interface to consumers. In particular, it provides for a sleep button that is a ``soft'' button that does not turn the machine physically off but signals the OS to put the machine in a soft off or sleeping state. ACPI defines two types of these ``soft'' buttons: one for putting the machine to sleep and one for putting the machine in soft off.

This gives the OEM two different ways to implement machines: A one-button model or a two-button model. The one-button model has a single button that can be used as a power button or a sleep button as determined by user settings. The two-button model has an easily accessible sleep button and a separate power button. In either model, an override feature that forces the machine off or resets it without OS consent is also needed to deal with various [putatively] rare, but problematic, situations.
(See section 1.5 of the ACPI spec.)

American College of Prehospital Medicine. A college in the sense of a degree-granting institution, with a physical location but with courses generally taken on-line. ``If you have been frustrated trying to complete an undergraduate degree and feel you may never be able to do so trying to balance family and career, Internet-based distance education may be the answer. ACPM is 100% dedicated to the needs of military and civilian emergency medical care providers.'' This is the first college I've ever encountered that features PayPal as its principal payment option. Accredited since 1995 by DETC.

American College of Preventive Medicine. This ACPM is intended to delay your need for the services of those trained by this ACPM.

(UK) Association of Chief Police Officers.

Australian College of Pharmacy Practice.

L'Association canadienne des professeures et professeurs d'université. Same as the CAUT.

Ariel Center for Policy Research. It was ``established in 1997 as a non-profit, non-partisan organization, committed to stimulating and informing the national and international debates concerning all aspects of security policy - notably those policies which are an outcome of the political process started in Oslo and subsequently called the Peace Process.'' Likud-oriented.

Association canadienne des professeurs de rédaction technique et scientifique. (`Canadian Association of Teachers of Technical Writing.')

American College of Poultry Veterinarians. Chickens, and apparently birds in general, have their lungs near the tops of their bodies. I guess that improves stability, even on the ground.

Asymmetrical CoPlanar Waveguide.

ACQui{ re[s|d] | sition[s] }.

American Council for Québec Studies. Apparently based, like ACSUS, at SUNY Plattsburgh, in upstate New York.

acquisition of language
Some people in the field of language education make a distinction between language learning and acquisition. This is clear enough from the following footnote:
Here, we do not distinguish "learn" and "acquire," making no claim as to whether conscious language learning or unconscious language acquisition are involved.
[The quote is footnote 2 of ``Age, Rate and Eventual Attainment in Second Language Acquisition,'' by Stephen D. Krashen, Michael A. Long, and Robin C. Scarcella, in TESOL Quarterly, Vol. 13, No. 4 (Dec. 1979), pp. 573-582. (Krashen is extremely prominent in the field of SLA, and Scarcella is no slouch either.)]

Abrupt Change in Resistivity. Resulting, say, from electromigration-induced void formation.

Additive Cell Rate. The rate at which a source can transmit ATM cells after increasing its rate by the RIF.

Adjusted Community Rating.

American College of Radiology. Not a post-secondary educational institution, but, well, yes, a post-post-secondary or post-post-post-secondary educational institution, and as such a post-secondary one, but not exactly that, but a professional organization for professionals -- not that undergraduates aren't in some sense professional but anyway you get the idea.

American College of Rheumatology. ``[T]he professional organization of rheumatologists and associated health professionals who share a dedication to healing, preventing disability, and curing the more than 100 types of arthritis and related disabling and sometimes fatal disorders of the joints, muscles, and bones.'' ``Curing'' is perhaps a bit hopeful; mostly, it's about palliation and pain management.

L'Association canadienne des radiodiffuseurs. ``Le porte-parole des radiotélédiffuseurs privés du Canada.'' (`The voice of the private broadcasters of Canada.') The organization name in English is CAB. CAB holds its annual convention in October.

L'Association canadienne des rédacteurs-réviseurs. Editors' Association of Canada.

A nice, sensible unit of area: 43560 square feet. Many countries that have wholeheartedly adopted ``international'' (SI) units find that it is still somewhat more convenient to measure area in old units, because real estate, as such, doesn't wear out very quickly.

An acre is one 640th of a square mile, or 0.40468564224 ha.

Active Citizens for Responsible Environmentalism.

Australian Centre for Remote Sensing. ``Australia's principal earth resource satellite ground station and data processing facility. ACRES is one in a network of ground stations covering most of the world.'' WWWVL includes a page of remote sensing organizations.

The Alberta Chapter of the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, Inc. ACRID is affiliated with the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID), based in the US, and with the Association of Visual Language Interpreters of Canada (AVLIC). All I really want to know is whether they pronounce it ``ay-see-rid'' or ``acrid,'' but for some reason these organizations seem to be less than usually interested in the way words sound.

Association of College and Research Libraries. A division of the American Library Association (ALA).

A Contrived Reduction Of Nouns, Yielding Mnemonics.

See also notarikon.

across this great land
Among those eligible to vote for me in the next election.

American Civic Religion, Official Version. Term introduced by Conor Cruise O'Brien, in his 1996 book on Thos. Jefferson.

Accelerated Cost Recovery System. A term used by the US IRS. If you need help preparing your tax return, try visiting the IRS website.

Jargon for Alpha Crucis, the star at the ``foot'' of the Southern Cross.

Assured Crew Return Vehicle or Astronaut Crew Rescue Vehicle. Because getting there really is only half the fun.

acrylic acid
Propenoic acid. Illustration at the PMMA entry. Here's a gas: acrylic acid has antibiotic action. You can read about it in J. M. Sieburth, ``Acrylic acid, an antibiotic principle in antarctic waters,'' Science, 132, 6767 (1960). And no, it didn't come from a toxic shirt spill, it came from yellow-brown algae. atohaas, a subsidiary of Rohm and Haas that bills itself as ``The Worldwide Leader in Acrylic Technology,'' does not list this among the medical and other applications of acrylics.

Here are instructions on how you can use acrylic to protect yourself.

Du Pont originally began research in acrylic plastics in order to find a use for its surplus isobutanol byproduct. Plexiglass is polyacrylic.

acrylic plastic
Almost certainly poly methyl methacrylic plastic (PMMA).

Access Control System.

Ackerman Computer Sciences. ``Designers, Developers and Manufacturers of Intelligent Electronic Components Including CEBus Products and Custom Embedded Controllers.''

Acrylonitrile Chlorinated polyethylene Styrene (terpolymer).

Acute Coronary Syndrome.

Advanced Communication System.

Advanced Conservative Studies. Something practiced at the Limbaugh Institute of Advanced Conservative Studies, according to the eponymous founder.

American Cancer Society. American Cancer Society NYSERNet site.

American Ceramic Society. Also ``ACerS.'' Visit here for the Basic Science Program.

American Chemical Society.

American College of Surgeons. Founded in 1913, it currently has over 60,000 members and represents all surgical specialties.

Archives and Collections Society.

Associated Colleges of the South.
    Sixteen colleges:
  • Birmingham-Southern College (Birmingham, Ala.) They were once ranked the number-one Southern Regional Liberal Arts College by U.S. News & World Report (USN&WR). Then the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching elevated them from the ``Regional Liberal Arts'' category to the ``National Liberal Arts I'' category, where they rank ``in the top eighty.'' Uh, thanks, guys.
  • Centenary College of Louisiana (Shreveport)
  • Centre College (Danville, Kentucky)
  • Davidson College (the town of Davidson is just outside of Charlotte, North Carolina) It was founded in 1837 by Charlotte Presbyterians to prepare young men for the ministry. According to Terry Eastland, publisher of the Weekly Standard and father of a student there, it ``is now widely regarded as one of the best liberal arts colleges in the country, and certainly it is one of the hardest to get into.'' The quote is taken from his contribution to the January 2006 issue of First Things, entitled ``God and Man at Davidson'' -- an evident allusion to William F. Buckley's famous book critical of his own alma mater (``God and Man at Yale''). The article is about private colleges', and this college's, general slide away from church affiliation, and the latest slip in that direction that took place at Davidson in 2005. At first I thought he might cheer the college's decision to put some distance between itself and those crazy leftists in the PCA, but the article is something of a lamentation. Get over it, or jump off the sinking ``mainline.''
  • Furman University (Greenville, S.C.)
  • Hendrix College (Conway, Arkansas) Almost 73.8% of its students chose to attend out of a vague notion that Jimi went there. (Statistic estimated by SBF.)
  • Millsaps College (Jackson, Miss.)
  • Morehouse College (Atlanta, Ga.) An HBCU, brother school of Spelman.
  • Rhodes College (Memphis, Tenn.)
  • Rollins College (Winter Park, Fla.)
  • Southwestern College (Georgetown, Tx.)
  • Spelman College (Atlanta, Ga.) An HBCU for women, sister school of Morehouse. I can imagine why they chose to spel it this way, but I still wish they hadn't.
  • Trinity University (San Antonio, Tx.)
  • University of Richmond (Virginia)
  • University of the South (Sewanee, Tenn.)
  • Washington and Lee University (Lexington, Va.)

L'Association canadienne de soccer. Try L'ACS.

Association of Caribbean States. Cf. OECS.

Attitude Control System. No, not beer. The attitude here is a plane's angle of attack.

Australian Computer Society.

Arab Center for the Studies of Arid zones and Dry lands. It's run by the Arab League and located in Deir Ezzor, in northern Syria.

Northern Syria is also the area where reportedly, on September 6, 2007, Israeli planes attacked a facility where North Korean engineers were helping their Syrian friends with some cement they had shipped in from North Korea. Recently modified ship manifests prove that it was cement, but some people wonder why Israel attacked a cement shipment. That's all the sense I can make of the conflicting stories regarding the Korean-flagged ships.

Another version of events has it that Israel attacked military supplies for Hezbollah, but that's ridiculous because (a) under the terms of the 2006 ceasefire, Hezbollah is not to be rearmed, and (b) under the supervision of the UN-hatted international peace-keeping force charged with preventing Hezbollah from rearming, Hezbollah was fully rearmed long before the September attack. In short, no one believes the Hezbollah arms story.

Interestingly, the only countries that have condemned the attack are Syria and North Korea, which have also denied that the planes bombed a military research facility that was storing North Korean nuclear material, shortly after North Korea again finally agreed to abandon its nuclear enrichment program. So if North Korea is not playing a Syrian shell game with its nuclear weapons program, why did the Israelis bomb?

On September 29, Syrian Vice-President Faruq Al Shara showed photos of some damaged building somewhere and explained that the Israeli attack hit ACSAD. The next day, a statement was issued by ACSAD, attacking the Zionist media for claiming that the attack hit ACSAD. The Arab League headquarters in Cairo was unable to confirm that the photos shown by Al Shara were of ACSAD.

Well, here's something curious. In January 2006, the Directors-General of ACSAD and the Arab Atomic Energy Agency signed a memorandum of understanding. I don't know the details, but it had to do with agriculture.

Association for Canadian Studies in Australia and New Zealand.

Australian Computer Science Conference.

Antarctic Coastal and Shelf Ecosystem.

Association Control Server Element. (In application layer of ATM.)

(Grand Rapids, Michigan) Area Community Service Employment and Training.

Advanced Continuous Simulation (programming) Language.

American College of Sports Medicine. Founded 1954. See also NASM.

American Congress on Surveying and Mapping. Founded in 1941. Member societies:

Association des Centres de Santé de l'Ontario. French for `Association of Ontario Health Centres.'

AIDS Cost and Services Utilization Survey. Published in 1993, it was ``a longitudinal study of persons with HIV-related disease. In a combination of personal interviews and abstraction of medical and billing records spanning an 18-month period, information was collected on more than 1,900 HIV-infected adults and adolescents, including approximately 350 women, and on 140 HIV-infected children under 13 years of age.''

Association for Canadian Studies in the United States. Publishes the quarterly ARCS. So that's what they call that white region up there where the state map colorings end!

Academy of Certified Social Workers. Other credentials are Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and Board-Certified Diplomate (BCD) in Clinical Social Work (CSW). See SW entry for related entries. (http://www.acsw.com/ is Academic Software, Inc., which prefers to go by the acronym ASI.)

Action for Children's Television. Founded by Peggy Charren and two other Boston moms in 1968.

In the 1970's, ACT successfully pushed for legal restrictions on commercialism in children's TV programming, and claimed credit for the prohibition of product promotions by children's-show hosts and other commercial practices. ACT also successfully pushed for a ban (implemented by FCC regulatory action) on vitamin-pill ads, when it was found that children were poisoning themselves with overdoses. (Iron is very dangerous; some vitamins, particularly the oil-soluble ones, can produce some of the same symptoms when taken in great excess as when not available in sufficient quantity.)

ACT's advocacy helped pass the Children's Television Act of 1990, which required the FCC to impose some limits on commercials in children's programming (in 1991 they set these at 10.5 minutes per hour weekends, 12 minutes/hour weekdays) and required commercial stations to report on efforts to provide ``educational and informational'' programming as part of their license renewal applications. Products with direct tie-ins to a children's program are forbidden to be advertised during the program (so, for example, GI Joe dolls can't be advertised during the GI Joe show), though they can be advertised at any other time, such as immediately afterwards. You're not the only person who thinks this particular restriction is toothless. There are also restrictions on 900-number ads aimed at children.

ACT president Charren did something surprising in 1992. She decided that with the FCC's new rules, there was no important work for ACT to do that could not be done better by other organizations, particularly local advocacy groups, so she folded it. Remaining assets of $125,000 were donated to Harvard University Graduate School of Education for an annual fellowship and a lecture series on children's TV. ACT was supported over the years by a series of grants -- the first for $165,000 from the John Markle Foundation in 1970, later grants from the Ford and Carnegie foundations. Some saw the end of ACT as simply a reaction to a funding fall-off. The organization had a $500,000/year budget and a staff of 15 in its 70's heyday, and was down to four employees and $125,000/year in 1991.

ACT always opposed censorship, as she saw it, and that's about right if you accept the conventional legal views that (1) commercial speech does not enjoy the full protection that the first amendment grants to noncommercial, press, and individual private speech and (2) that children have special vulnerability that the state has a significant (or ``compelling,'' Supreme Court decisions turn on such distinctions) interest to be balanced against free-speech concerns. In any case, the Federal Communications Act is the most explicitly socialist document in US law, recognizing the frequency spectrum as a limited resource belonging to the people collectively, and hence subject to regulation by the FCC. ACT opposed the boycotts and what Peggy Charren saw as censorship advocated by conservative groups like the Moral Majority, and indicated that their declining influence also allowed her to disband ACT. ACT joined on the plaintiffs' side in a suit by broadcasters against the FCC's ban on indecent broadcasts.

ACTivity bit. (ATM acronym.)

Actual Cycle Time.

Advanced CMOS logic (ACL) using TTL voltage levels.

(Canadian) Alliance for Children and Television. Sounds like a conflict of interest right there.

Alternative Control Technique[s].

America Coming Together. A liberal group founded in 2003. Heavily funded by George Soros and insurance magnate Peter Lewis, it spent tens of millions of dollars in get-out-the-vote drives in 2004. It was originally intended to continue operating as an independent political organization, with the cachet it gained from helping to elect President John F. Kerry giving it influence in the new administration, but things didn't work out that way. It was disbanded in August 2005.

There was a sister organization called the Media Fund, similarly funded and defunded by the same pair. Illinois Representative Rahm Emanuel, the DCCC Chair for the 2006 elections, gave an interview to the New York Daily News in August 2006 in which he transparently criticized Soros and Lewis: ``In the 2004 election there were some very active players who, as far as I can tell, have now decided they're neither going to be involved in the field, advertising or anything. ... Do you know where they are?'' Some commentators commentated that dissing some of the party's most generous contributors might not be wise.

American College of Theriogenologists. From an About-ACT page: ``To develop a name for the College, Professor Herbert Howe, Department of Classics, University of Wisconsin was consulted. After much consideration Theriogenology was chosen; therio(=beast or animal) + gen/genesis (=beginning, birth, reproduction)+ology (=study of).''

During WWI, my grandfather was an officer in the Kaiser's army, on the western front. As an officer, he rode a horse, of course. On some occasion, with most of the details lost to history, a farmer went away and left him with a mare that was about to drop a foal. The farmer must have supposed that as an officer and a horse rider, he knew his way around a horse. Maybe my grandfather should have pointed out that in civilian life, he was a lawyer (actually a Rechtsanwalt, which is perhaps better translated as `barrister,' but in any case a city-slicker lacking the relevant hands-on experience). In the event, the mare had a difficult birth, which my grandfather didn't realize until too late, and the foal died.

American College Test. A competitor of the SAT test. The organization that administers the test now styles itself ACT -- Information for Life's Transitions, and insists that it was only ``formerly American College Testing.'' (For a similar example see the SPIE. I mean, International Business Machines is now officially just IBM, but they don't make a big fuss about it, and you can even find the expansion that led to the name on their web pages.) What tendentious nonsense. (For your inconvenience, we serve at least one other certifiably tendentious link.)

Apart from the general organization website linked above, ACT has a short-words-and-simple-sentences ``student site for ACT test takers.'' Cartoons and photographs are ``diverse'' or ``balanced.'' (I.e., if there are fewer than ten student models in a page view, then any white male must be able to pass for Hispanic. The color-calibrated society. I'm sure that the people involved in these travesties don't suspect they are pandering, disingenuous, or sneakily offensive. Where are the redheads!? Why aren't there any redheads?! They didn't include redheads! We're being objectified! Oppression! Oppression!)

The ACT must be one of the most superfluous of college entrance exams. Competitive schools rely on the SAT.

American Conservatory Theater. In San Francisco.

Australian Capital Territory. This contains the national capital Canberra, and is completely surrounded by the state of New South Wales. In 1915, the Commonwealth government purchased the Jervis Bay Territory from the state of New South Wales, so that Canberra would have access to the sea. This is great; now all that Canberra needs is access to the Jervis Bay Territory. Jervis Bay Territory is still a separate, federally administered territory, but for practical purposes (no, I'm not sure how practical) it is part of the ACT, and I've seen it called the Jervis Bay Exclave of the Australian Capital Territory.

Jervis is a name like Berkeley. In both cases, the eponym (British admiral John Jervis, 1st Earl of St Vincent; Bishop George Berkeley) has a first-syllable er that was pronounced like the word are, and in both cases the toponym (Jervis Bay, Australia; Berkeley, California) has regularized the sound to er.

American Council of (College and University) Trustees and Alumni. It's very common for alumni to become trustees, but... it still strikes me as a somewhat unbalanced pairing... perhaps because I don't know much about the organization.

Acta Diurna
Tijdschrift voor Latinisten en aanverwanten. A Dutch classics journal. I'll get back to this entry when their website is finished. Okay, okay: I mean I'll get back to it when the website has an English version.

Association canadienne de télévision par câble. English CCTA.

Advanced-Concept Technology Demonstration.

An FPGA designer and developer (they subcontract manufacture to a number of foundries). As of 1995, Actel and Xilinx dominated FPGA world market.

American College Theatre Festival. That's officially the KC/ACTF.

American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. Its five regional affiliates are SCOLT, SWCOLT, CSC, NECTFL, and PNCFL.


AIDS Clinical Trials Group.

AdrenoCorticoTropic Hormone. Also called corticotropin, but I guess that didn't lend itself to a very distinctive initialism. ACTH stimulates the secretory activity of the adrenal glands. ACTH in its turn is produced by the anterior pituitary, which is stimulated to release it by the aptly named CRH.

ACTH levels in the blood vary over the course of the day. The normal range is up to 80 pg/ml at 8-10 AM, unless you keep weird hours like me. (Yeah, the units there are picograms per milliliter. When you're talking hormones, a little bit goes a long way.)

Advanced Concepts and Technology II. A military procurement program.

Depending exponentially on 1/T. That is, varying as
exp( -Eact / kBT ) ,
where kB is Boltzmann's constant, T is absolute temperature, and Eact is called an activation energy, and lies approximately in the range of 0.1 to 10 eV for phenomena that exhibit activation at room temperature. Activated behavior is commonly observed in transport and reaction coefficients for phonon-assisted processes (e.g., atomic and ionic diffusivity, electron and hole mobility in materials with strong electron-phonon coupling that leads to localized carriers, carrier density and conductivity in intrinsic semiconductors).

Activated temperature dependence is also called Arrhenius behavior. See more at the Arrhenius plot entry.

In the field of adhesives and sealants (A&S), an activator is a chemical applied to bonding surfaces to prepare them for bonding.

active filter
A filter circuit which includes electronic components that are active, in the electronic device sense (transistors, op amps, maybe some more exotic devices). Any filter that is not a passive filter.

Of course, any digital filter is active, but the term active filter tends to imply an analog filter.

active learning
A buzzword popular among educrats and their ilk. The term is associated with the idea that lectures are dry and don't engage students. ``Active learning'' is the putative alternative.

active words
Most students of a foreign language are aware of a grammatical distinction in the category of ``voice.'' Declarative sentences may be in the active voice or the passive voice. A typical sentence in the active voice would be
Fat Bob used the elevator.

I want to take a moment here to apologize to readers who are radially challenged, or whatever the current euphemism is. When the sentence is cast into the passive voice, it becomes

The elevator was used by Fat Bob.

Now in both Fat-Bob sentences above, Fat Bob is the ``agent'' of the action performed by the verb. He performs the action, even though the action may not seem like much of a performance. It's true that the elevator does the heavy lifting, but the verb is not ``lift.'' The verb is use, and it is Bob who does the using, so Bob is the agent.

Sorry to break off like this, but the entry is under construction. Fat Bob is the ``subject'' or ``agent'' of the sentence. He performs the action, even though it's not much of a performance

The extensive rate of nuclear decay. That is, the number of decays per unit time. The SI unit of activity is the becquerel (abbreviated Bq), defined as one decay per second.

The ratio of the fugacity of a substance in solution to its fugacity in the liquid state.

The law of mass action in its simplest form expresses equilibrium in terms of concentrations or partial pressures. This is a kind ideal-gas approximation; the correct formulation replaces concentrations with fugacities. (This doesn't instantly solve the problem, of course, since one has the problem of determining the fugacity function.)

activity coefficient
The ratio of the fugacity to whatever is the usual measure of concentration (partial pressure of a gas, mole fraction of a liquid, molar or molal concentration in a solution) used in the law of mass action. Activity coefficients (written as gammas with subscripts indicating chemical component) are factored into the law of mass action for a more realistic description (see preceding activity entry).

ACTivate Logical Unit. (SNA.) That doesn't mean activate the unit that logic would suggest activating. The term ``logical'' is in contradistinction to ``physical,'' and refers to alternate ways of designating devices. Logical names or addresses are assignable, they're handles; physical names are essentially dictated by hardware.

Does sound vaguely reminiscent of Lovecraft's Cthulu, doesn't it? Not even a little bit?

Act of God
Earthquake, famine, flood, pestilence... Is that what He's been doing lately?

ACTivate Physical Unit. (SNA.) Cf. preceding entry (ACTLU).

American Council of Teachers of Russian. ``to advance research, training, and the materials development in the fields of Russian and English languages, as well as strengthen communication between the communities of scholars and educators in language, literature, and area studies in the United States and the former Soviet Union.'' Whatever. Founded in 1974, it spawned ACCELS in 1987, and ACTR and ACCELS were folded into a new organization in 1998.

Just look up ACTR and ACCELS, willya?

AC Transit
Alameda County (CA) TRANSIT. Buses.

Advanced Communications Technologies and Services. An R&D program for developing telecommunications. Established by the 4th Framework Programme of the European Union.

Advanced Communications Technology Satellite.

Association canadienne des télécommunications sans fil. English CWTA.

[phone icon]

Automatic Coin Telephone Service. Related acronym is COCOT.

ACT-UP, Act-Up
AIDS Coalition To Unleash Power. Known in its early days for desperate outrageousness.


A Roman unit of length equal to about 36 meters, or about 118 (Eng.) feet.

Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers' Union.

Advanced CMOS logic using TTL voltage levels, and having center ground and power pins. Cf. AC11.

American Christian University. Oh God what a slow-loading homepage.

Update January 2005: obviously thanks to God, the page loads much faster now. Thank you for your prayers -- they were obviously effective.

American Conservative Union. The oldest conservative lobbying organization in the US: founded in 1964, the year of Barry Goldwater's landslide loss to Lyndon Johnson.

Antenna Control Unit.

Animal Care and Use Committee.

The January 1987 issue of Laboratory Animal Science was a special issue on ``Effective Animal Care and Use Committees.'' Thumbing through it to titillate my uh, to satisfy my curios..., uh, to investigate research into animal pain, I found a couple of titles that whispered heresy! Richard J. Traystman, Ph.D., asked ``ACUC, Who Needs It?: The Investigator's Viewpoint'' (pp. 108-110), while Joseph R. Geraci, V.M.D., Ph.D. and Dean H. Percy (no picture) asked ``Are Animal Care and Use Committees Really Needed?'' (pp. 111-112).

Let me give you a hint about reading scientific papers besides ``don't'': after the title, read the concluding paragraph. The introduction is just a build-up to demonstrate that the topic is more serious, important and interesting than it seems, despite being one of 300,000 published that week. Also, if the article is reviewed, it is good to cite the previous important and excellent work of anyone who may be referee for the article. Asphyxiating as I bated my breath, I cut to the chase.

Geraci and Percy's concluding paragraph begins ``In answer to our original question, ACUCs really are needed.'' Let me take a moment here to point out that the only justification for the use of italics in a scientific paper is to distinguish vectors from scalars.

Breathing more easily now, I notice that the next sentence contains some meaningful information: ``While to some observers their functions may appear to be mundane and unimportant, active ACUCs ...'' I commend the syntactical virtues of this admission to your attentive attention. Recognize that writing, like any game, has both offensive and defensive maneuvers. In the first place, defensive writing requires that one not write anything one would regret having quoted back to one. Crafting effective defensive prose requires one to anticipate the offensive maneuvers of the opponent or ``quoter.'' The ``quoter'' pares away words, like a sculptor chipping away excess material, ultimately leaving a work of art. Thus, any sufficiently long piece of prose can be edited to something like ``... I ... like ... [young boys] ....'' The rules of the game more or less require the ellipses and brackets, so the ``quoter'' prefers to be able to use big slabs of text without square-bracket interpolations. Returning, then, to the defensive task at hand, remember: Conjugation is your friend. That is, if a predatory quoter wants to twist your prose into a demonstration that you believe a proposition that you have merely stated as a straw man, inconvenient syntax protects you. In this instance, for example, the text might have read ``Some observers think that the functions of ACUCs are mundane and unimportant, but ....'' Such phrasing is vulnerable to editing into ``ACUCs are mundane and unimportant.'' As defensively organized, however, the verb is appear, and the copula is in infinitive form, so predatory quoters are forced to use more evident modification.

The English language draws its strength from active verbs. How much better ``Dick ran'' than ``Dick was in the process of running''! Hence, if the authors had been writing with no other purpose in mind than to produce clear, taut prose, the ``to be'' in the sentence should have been discarded: ``... functions may appear mundane and unimportant...'' There is no sanction in defensive wording for not compressing the sentence in this way, but flabby writing is a hard habit to break.

According to Traystman's concluding paragraph: ``The answer of course is, all of us need it!!'' You know, some authors of papers in scientific journals seem not to be aware of it, but the use of exclamation marks for emphasis WILL NOT BE TOLERATED!!!!!!!!! The only reason for exclamation marks is to indicate factorial and double factorial. If t is a positive integer,

t! = t * (t-1) * (t-2) * ... * 3 * 2 * 1

t!! = t * (t-2) * (t-4) * ... * (4 or 3) * (2 or 1).

For more on lab animals, see the AWA entry.

(US) Army Common User System. A communications system.


In medical usage, the sense of acute is sharply restricted. It refers to health effects that are sharply restricted in time -- of sudden or rapid onset and brief duration. If you imagine a graph of pain or some other measure of morbidity plotted as a function of time, then a sudden onset with rapid decrease immediately after will look like a ``sharp'' spike, so the term is etymologically reasonable in more than just a loosely transferred sense.

On the other hand, use of the term ``acute'' does imply some level of severity: if the pain is not very intense, or the symptom not severe, then the spike will not be very high, and would look not sharp but stubby.

There are a lot of interesting mathematical things one could say about the maximum, topology, coarse-graining, natural scales and dimensional analysis, but physicians rarely think about these wonderful things. Suffice it to say that it is reasonable from the perspective of a scientist's use of language that ``acute'' should mean of rapid onset and short duration, given that the thing described exceeds some threshold level of noticeability. Most decisively, however, the usage is an established convention.

Note that there is no special term implying brief duration without sudden onset. The reason is tautology: if the onset is not rapid, then the duration can't be brief.

Acute is contrasted with chronic.

Accountants Computer Users Technical Exchange. So sophisticated it doesn't need a website, I guess. The expansion given here uses the most commonly encountered inflection of the first word, although it doesn't make sense. Accounting and Accountants', which make more sense, are less common. The thing exchanged is information; ACUTE organizes seminars. They had annual meetings at least as far back as the mid-1980's. I think this organization may have gone out of operation in the mid-nineties.

Advanced Cargo Vehicle. Old NASA acronym.

Allegheny Clarion Valley. I must have been in Clarion (I-80 Pennsylvania exits 62 and 64) at least a dozen times in the past dozen years (to 2008), and at least a time or two in Emlenton (exit 42). In Clarion I managed never to encounter this abbreviation. In Emlenton it's everywhere. The reason seems to be that Clarion is not in the Allegheny Clarion Valley.

There are three Clarions in Pennsylvania: Clarion County, and Clarion Township and Clarion Borough, which are in the county. Clarion Borough is almost completely surrounded by Clarion Township, though the borough shares perhaps 150 meters of border with Highland Township. The borough of Clarion is the county seat of Clarion County.

Emlenton Borough straddles the border of Clarion and Venango counties. Children of that borough and some other villages and unincorporated areas attend public schools of the Allegheny Clarion Valley School District. This school district has the unique distinction of being the only school district in Pennsylvania to span parts of four counties (Armstrong, Butler, Clarion and Venango). The ACVSD seems to be the only official government entity to bear the ACV moniker; I would guess that the region was named after the school district.

American College of Veterinary Anesthesiologists.

American Council for Voluntary Agencies in Foreign Service. Merged with PAID in 1984 to form InterAction. I guess you could say that InterAction put PAID to the ACVA. (I sincerely apologize.)

A-C Valley
Allegheny Clarion Valley, more often A.C.V.

American College of Veterinary Clinical Pharmacology.

Acute (ac) CardioVascular Disease. Vide gravy and coup de grâce.

American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine.

American College of Veterinary Microbiologists.

American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists. For more like this, try the Dog Fanciers' Acronym List.

American College of Veterinary Pathologists. It's ``an international organization for those specializing in veterinary and comparative pathology.'' The ACVP and ASVCP hold a joint annual meeting.

American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine.

American College of Veterinary Radiology.

American College of Veterinary Surgeons.

Allegheny Clarion Valley School District. See ACV.

A radical derived from a carboxylic acid by the removal of the hydroxyl group from a carboxyl group:
acid:                      C == O

acyl:                      C == O

For the specific case of R a methyl group, the acyl is acetyl.

ACYCLOguanosine. A drug, used against herpes, that inhibits expression of VIRal DNA.

Advanced CMOS logic with center ground and power pins. Cf. ACT11.

Audio Code #3. Designation during development of a Dolby code that became Dolby Digital. It has five channels: center, left, and right, and rear/surround left and right. There's a subwoofer separated off the rear channels, so it is also sometimes called a 5.1 (channel) system.

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