Numeronym

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A numeronym is a number-based word.

Most commonly, a numeronym is a word where a number is used to form an abbreviation (albeit not an acronym or an initialism). Pronouncing the letters and numbers may sound similar to the full word: "K9" for "canine" (phonetically: "kay" + "nine").

Alternatively, the letters between the first and last are replaced with a number representing the number of letters omitted, such as "i18n" for "internationalization". Sometimes the last letter is also counted and omitted. These word shortenings are sometimes called alphanumeric acronyms, alphanumeric abbreviations, or numerical contractions.

According to Tex Texin, the first numeronym of this kind was "S12n", the electronic mail account name given to Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) employee Jan Scherpenhuizen by a system administrator because his surname was too long to be an account name. By 1985, colleagues who found Jan's name unpronounceable often referred to him verbally as "S12n". The use of such numeronyms became part of DEC corporate culture.[1]

A number may also denote how many times the character before or after it is repeated. This is typically used to represent a name or phrase in which several consecutive words start with the same letter, as in W3 (World Wide Web) or W3C (World Wide Web Consortium).

Less commonly, a numeronym is composed entirely of numbers, such as "212" for "New Yorker", "4-1-1" for "information", "9-1-1" for "help", and "101" for "basic introduction to a subject". Words of this type have existed for decades, including those in 10-code, which has been in use since before World War II.

The concept of incorporating numbers into words can also be found in Leet, where numbers are frequently substituted for orthographically similar letters (e.g. H4CK3D for HACKED).

Anne H. Soukhanov, editor of the new Microsoft Encarta College Dictionary, gives the original meaning of the term as "a telephone number that spells a word or a name" on a telephone dial.[2]

Examples[edit]

Where words have multiple meanings, abbreviations such as these are almost always used to refer to their computing sense; for example, G11n for "globalization" refers to software preparedness for global distribution,[3] and not the social trend of globalization. In some cases, the use of appropriate case makes it easier to distinguish between letters such as uppercase I/i and lower case L/l.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Tex Texin. "Origin Of The Abbreviation I18n". Retrieved September 14, 2005. 
  2. ^ Jeffrey McQuain (September 16, 2001). "Screening the Novel Words of Harry Potter". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-04-12. [dead link]
  3. ^ Thierry Sourbier (2007-10-25). "Internationalization Encyclopedia:: globalization". i18n Encyclopedia. Retrieved November 11, 2007. 
  4. ^ Faye Flam (2010-04-23). "Iceland a hot spot of volcanic activity". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved 2010-04-23. "Some scientists have come to abbreviate the volcano as E15, for the 15 letters that follow the E" [dead link]
  5. ^ "Canonical XML". W3C. Retrieved November 11, 2007. 
  6. ^ "INTEROPERABILITY.net". Retrieved November 11, 2007. 
  7. ^ "Modularization of XHTML in XML Schema". W3C. Retrieved November 11, 2007. 
  8. ^ http://www.p23r.de
  9. ^ "Tr8n Translation Engine Examples Application". Retrieved February 14, 2011. 
  10. ^ http://www.crosswire.org/wiki/Alternate_Versification