Before OMG meant "Oh My God," SWALK meant "Sealed With A Loving Kiss," ITALY meant "I Trust And Love You," EGYPT meant "Eager to Grab Your Pretty Tits." Your grandparents were pervs.
In this post at Mental Floss, historian Simon Garfield explains:
"We think abbreviating with acronyms is new with texts and email, but it's been going on for two thousand years. Back when a Roman would write to his friend, he would begin a letter, 'I hope you're well, I'm fine.' But they got bored with that, so they would shorten it to the Latin acronym 'SVBEEQV,' which stood for si vales bene est, ego quidem valeo: If you're well, that's good—all's well with me."
And! In the years leading up to and during WWII, soldiers would use acronyms as code for work — stuff like SNAFU and FUBAR. (This Niagara Detroit painting details some. We really need to bring back TARFU.) But soldiers also used acronyms for love — codewords scribbled on the back of envelopes sent to sweethearts. (It's all in Garfield's book, called To The Letter.) According to Garfield, these are 11 of the most popular acronyms with soldiers in the 1930s:
1. FRANCE: Friendship Remains And Never Can End
2. ITALY: I Trust And Love You
3. HOLLAND: Hope Our Love Lasts And Never Dies
4. SWALK: Sealed With A Loving Kiss
5. MALAYA: My Ardent Lips Await Your Arrival
6. EGYPT: Eager to Grab Your Pretty Tits
7. BURMA: Be Undressed/Upstairs Ready My Angel
8. NORWICH: (k)Nickers Off Ready When I Come Home
9. ENGLAND: Every Naked Girl Loves A Naked Dick
10. VENICE: Very Excited Now I Caress Everywhere
11. CHINA: Come Home I'm Naked Already
So much more fun than IDK and GTFO.
Image via Getty.