recursive acronym
n. An acronym that refers to itself, usually by incorporating the acronym as the first word in the expanded phrase.

Example Citation:
"Dear Sir, Since I see a side-bar on recursive acronyms (October EXE p. 34), it occurs to me that your readers may enjoy the following, which I modestly offer as the ultimate: TIARA (TIARA is a recursive acronym)."
—Chris Smithies, "Recursive acronyms," EXE, November 1, 1996

Earliest Citation:
"Mark of the Unicorn, the program's publisher, sold it in the form of an editor named MINCE (a recursive acronym for 'MINCE Is Not Complete EMACS') and a print formatter called Scribble."
—Steve King, "Final Word II Packs a Punch," InfoWorld, April 28, 1986

Recursive acronyms are found almost exclusively in computing circles. Here are some examples:

WINE (Wine Is Not an Emulator)
GNU (GNU's Not Unix!)
ZWEI (ZWEI Was EINE Initially)
EMACS (EMACS Makes A Computer Slow)

A "real world" example is VISA (VISA International Service Association).

Related Words: