The Red Box Blog

Ramblings about D&D.

Chaotic Acronyms

On occasion I have heard people complain about various idiosyncrasies of the English language. One comment I have heard a number of times is that if we reinvented the language today we could get rid of all these problems; no more silent letters, no more words spelled counter-intuitively, and no more words with multiple meanings.

Of course this is all ridiculous. Even if we could reinvent the language we are no more responsible than those persons who gave us these strange rules. One needs look no further than one of the great language inventions of the twentieth century – the acronym – to see how crazy we are.


It seems these days there is an acronym for everything. Unfortunately as our culture has rushed to find a way to abbreviate everything, there has been little care taken to make sure that there is both rhyme and reason to how it is done. Worst of all is that so many acronyms have multiple uses.

As a gamer I always expect game acronyms to be used in their game context, but of course they’re not. Below I have listed a number of common gaming acronyms and some other common applications of them.

Acronym: RPG
Game meaning: Role Playing Game
Selected non-game meanings: Rocket Propelled Grenade, Rebounds Per Game
Number of non-game uses found: 20

Acronym: PC
Game meaning: Player Character
Selected non-game meanings: Personal Computer, Politically Correct, Professional Corporation
Number of non-game uses found: 188

Acronym: NPC
Game meaning: Non-Player Character
Selected non-game meanings: Non Proliferation Council, National Parks of Canada
Number of non-game uses found: 37

Acronym: XP
Game meaning: eXperience Points
Selected non-game meanings: windows eXPerience, eXtra Performance (AMD processors), eXpansion Pack
Number of non-game uses found: 17

Acronym: HP
Game meaning: Hit Points (also Health Points and Heart Points)
Selected non-game meanings: Hewlett Packard, Horse Power, Harry Potter
Number of non-game uses found: 58

Acronym: HD
Game meaning: Hit Dice
Selected non-game meanings: Hard Drive, Harley-Davidson, High Definition
Number of non-game uses found: 50

Acronym: STR
Game meaning: STRength
Selected non-game meanings: STRings (programming), Software Trouble Report, Sustained Transfer Rate
Number of non-game uses found: 39

Acronym: DEX
Game meaning: DEXterity
Selected non-game meanings: Delta Epsilon chi
Number of non-game uses found: 3

Acronym: WIS
Game meaning: WISdom
Selected non-game meanings: Wan Interface Sublayer, WISconsin, World Institute of Science
Number of non-game uses found: 14

Acronym: INT
Game meaning: INTelligence
Selected non-game meanings: INTeger, INTerest, INTernational
Number of non-game uses found: 22

Acronym: CON
Game meaning: CONstitution
Selected non-game meanings: CONfidence, CONtrast, CONvict
Number of non-game uses found: 28

Acronym: CHA
Game meaning: CHArisma
Selected non-game meanings: Centrally Heated Air, Capital Health Authority, Chicago Housing Authority
Number of non-game uses found: 34

That’s it for right now, though I may revisit this topic again someday. Special thanks to which I used in researching this topic.

Have an opinion about this article? I love comments. Please feel welcome to leave your thoughts.


November 28, 2010 - Posted by | RPGs |

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