31 Acronyms and Initials All Spelled Out

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For the past few weeks, every time I saw an acronym or initials, I took a picture. You know the brands, authors, and pieces of legislation, but do you know what all those letters stand for?

1. BMW

BMW means Bayerische Motoren Werke, which translates to "Bavarian Motor Works."
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2. L.L. Bean

The company was founded by Leon Leonwood Bean.
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3. CVS

CVS originally stood for Consumer Value Stores. Over time the name became simply CVS.
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4. YKK

Those letters on seemingly every zipper stand for Yoshida K?gy? Kabushikigaisha, which translates to "Yoshida Manufacturing Corporation."
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5. A&W

The A and W of A&W are (Roy) Allen and (Frank) Wright.
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6. M&M's

M&M’s stands for Mars & Murrie’s, the last names of the candy’s founders. Matt Soniak recently wrote about Forrest Mars, Sr. and Bruce Murrie's famous partnership.
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7. 3M

3M is a shorter, snazzier way to say Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing.
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8. HSBC

HSBC stands for Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation.
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9. TCBY

You probably know TCBY means The Country's Best Yogurt, but it didn't always. TCBY was "This Can't Be Yogurt" until they were sued by I Can't Believe It's Yogurt!, a rival frozen yogurt chain.
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10. Kmart

Kresge is the K in Kmart, for founder Sebastian S. Kresge.
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11. DSW Shoes

DSW is short for Designer Shoe Warehouse, which makes DSW Shoes the ATM machine and PIN number of the retail footwear game.
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12. JCPenney

James Cash Penney.
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13. CBS

Columbia Broadcasting System. (Earlier this year, Erica Hill, Charlie Rose and Gayle King started working mental_floss facts into CBS This Morning. Love seeing the facts on TV!)
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14. TASER

TASER stands for Thomas A. Swift's Electric Rifle. (Nobody has whipped out a TASER around me of late, so I broke down and used a screenshot.)
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15. smart car

A collaboration between Swatch and Mercedes, smart car is short for Swatch Mercedes Art (car).
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16. ZIP Code

ZIP = Zone Improvement Plan. Smokey The Bear has his own ZIP Code. In case you want to fire off a fan letter, it's 20252.
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17. USA PATRIOT Act

That's the "Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism" Act to you. Back to the photos...
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18. P.G. Wodehouse

Sir Pelham Grenville Wodehouse.
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19. A.A. Milne

Alan Alexander Milne.
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20. E.B. White

Elwyn Brooks White.
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21. P.D. Eastman

Philip Dey Eastman.
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22. Hunter S. Thompson

Hunter Stockton Thompson.
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23. J.R.R. Tolkien

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien.
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24. CC Sabathia

Carsten Charles Sabathia.
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25. Michael J. Fox

Michael J. Fox's middle name is Andrew.
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26. NECCO

New England Confectionery COmpany.
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27. F.A.O. Schwarz

Frederick August Otto Schwarz founded the toy company with his brothers.
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28. DHL

DHL = (Adrian) Dalsey, (Larry) Hillblom and (Robert) Lynn.
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29. Chuck E. Cheese's

Chuck E. Cheese's middle name is Entertainment. (I believe reader Trivia Wayne told us that one.)
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30. ALF

Gordon Shumway's nickname is an acronym for Alien Life Form.
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31. Rutherford B. Hayes

That B stands for Birchard. While we're talking presidential middle names, don't forget James Knox Polk, James Abram Garfield, Chester Alan Arthur, Warren Gamaliel Harding, and Richard Milhous Nixon.
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Keep deciphering the acronyms and initials in the comments! And follow us on Instagram (@mental_floss).

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May 28, 2012 - 8:22pm
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