Alphabet soup is a metaphor for an abundance of abbreviations or acronyms, named for a common dish made from alphabet pasta. Use dates at least as far back as Franklin D. Roosevelt's alphabet agencies of the New Deal. In the United States, the Federal Government is described as an alphabet soup on account of the multitude of agencies that it has spawned, including the NSA, CIA, FBI, USSS, ATF, DEA, NCIS and INS. In 1938, a US barbershop harmony organization was founded, aptly named SPEBSQSA or The Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barber Shop Quartet Singing in America, Inc. as a humorous lampoon to these numerous "alphabet soup" agencies.
- ^ "Relief: Alphabet Soup", Time Magazine, December 11, 1933