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97 "ISO" (Word origins - alt.usage.english)




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This article is from the alt.usage.english FAQ, by Mark Israel misrael@scripps.edu with numerous contributions by others.

97 "ISO" (Word origins - alt.usage.english)

by Mark Brader

ISO is the International Organization for Standardization, not
the International Standards Organization. Some people think the
organization's initials in French are ISO, but actually they would
be OIN (for "Organisation internationale de normalisation").
According to someone I met who worked there, the abbreviation ISO
was adopted because they didn't want to use the actual English
initials, but could permute them into the Greek-derived prefix iso-
meaning "same" (which is what standards are for making things the
:-) ). In other words, it's wordplay. For the official account,
see <http://www.iso.ch/infoe/intro.html>.

Coordinated Universal Time is UTC because the C is of secondary
importance and can be written as a subscript. This one, too, is
mistaken for coming from French, but does not.

 

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