A leaky acronym is an acronym used in partially expanded form, with the acronym itself left intact. The canonical example is “PIN number”: The “N” in “PIN” stands for “Number”, but the acronym has leaked and you’re really reading “Personal Identification Number number”. Some earth-dwellers call these “redundant acronyms” but Avaragado prefers to call them “leaky acronyms”, and so do you.
More specifically, in Avaragado’s superior terminology, “PIN number” is a Post-Leaky Acronym. It’s “Post” because the acronym leaks from the right-hand end. Another example is “WTS Server” (Windows Terminal Server Server).
You can also get Pre-Leaky Acronyms, such as “Acorn ARM” before the A was retconned into Advanced a hundred years ago. Avaragado is pretty sure there was a “Tarantella TSP” somewhere in the web site of a former employer.
Some Avaragado acolytes have spotted Mid-Leaky Acronyms: “Intel IA64 Architecture” leaks both the I (pre-leaky) and the A (mid-leaky).
The ultimate leaky acronym occurs when you have complete acronym breakdown, such as with the hugely leaky “Surface-to-Air SAM Missile”.
- Built on NT technology – NT stands for New Technology (allegedly). This particular example
- occurs in the Windows 2000 login screen.
- HIV virus – Human Immunodeficiency Virus virus. Probably as popular a leaky acronym as PIN number.
- ATM machine – Automated Teller Machine machine.
- LCD display – Liquid Crystal Display display
- TCP/IP protocol – Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol protocol.
- HTTP protocol – Hypertext Transfer Protocol protocol.
- FAQ question – Frequently Asked Question question.
- RAID array – Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks array. Ooh, mid-leaky!
- PERL language – Practical Extraction and Reporting Language language.
- PAC code – Porting Authorisation Code code.
Avaragado would be delighted to receive more examples to add to his collection.