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Louise Aronson has some good tips, e.g.:
1. The best acronyms spell out a word that is related to their cause, function or meaning, or one that elicits positive feelings or associations. Here are some examples:
LEAD: for a leadership program, i.e. Leadership Education and Development
LEAP: for an educational training module, Learning from your Experiences As a Professional
SAGE: for a program in which students at UT Southwestern learn about aging, i.e. Southwestern Aging Geriatrics Education program
I would also add:
MIDAS: Mining Data at Stanford
DART: Dublin Area Rapid Transit
SAD: Seasonal Affective Disorder
NAME: Nice Acronyms Made Easy
But how do you make a meaningful acronym? The acronym generator was designed to be used just like you use a search engine: simply enter your keywords. For example, by entering the keywords: 'Seasonal Disarray Melancholy Emotive' in the keywords input above, you can use the acronym generator to get pretty close to the well known acronym for seasonal related depression:
SAD: Seasonal Affective Disorderliness
There are many combinations of similar words that would also work, many of which are synonyms of these keywords. Still, it doesn't hurt to swap or add an extra word, just in case.
The acronym generator results are obviously not man made, so try to see through the mud: if there's a word you don't like, try clicking the + sign to expand the acronym and view alternative results, or substitute the unwanted word in your head, or copy and paste it somewhere leaving a blank there until you think of something better.
Don't be afraid to 'reverse engineer' your own clever acronym. Do you think meaningful acronyms just pop into peoples heads? They don't in my experience. Acronyms are extremely contrived things, and sometimes they read like they are forced or trying too hard. I think they should have a sweetness and naturalness about them. That they happen to spell a relevant word is merely a happy coincidence.
So, see through the generated results and let your eye fall on the word or words that it wants to. If the word is a component word, and not the main acronym word, so what? It's just a computer program, not your boss. You tell it what to do. That's what the 'chosen ideal acronym' input field is there for, so you are not limited. If all else fails, break out the thesaurus: http://www.thesaurus.com/
Another extremely helpful tip is to use Mind Maps. Take a piece of paper and a pen. Draw a circle in the middle. Around it, write your keywords / ideas / anything relevant. Then draw some synonyms / related words around those. Tip: meditate for 20 seconds on the essence of each keyword before checking the letters. Try to abstract the meaning away from the word itself. Imagine a keyword is nothing but 'blurbalurb', a very blurry word. With the ideas floating around in your head now, look at the first letters and try to feel out a word. Keep trying until you get something, anything at all (it's magic!). If you're lucky, the word you create will be related, if not, just keep trying (it's brute force computer programming, using your brain as the computer, haha.) Don't forget: a couple of vowels will go a long way. Good luck! :)
There are plenty of online tools to help you create Mind Maps, e.g.
An acronym that makes sense can also be a great memory aid. Meaningful acronyms are at best like mantras that help one get to the very core / essence of the topic.
From Wikipedia: A backronym or bacronym is a specially constructed phrase that is supposed to be the source of a word that is, or is claimed to be, an acronym. Backronyms may be invented with serious or humorous intent, or may be a type of false or folk etymology.
The word is a combination of backward and acronym, and has been defined as a "reverse acronym". Its earliest known citation in print is as "bacronym" in the November 1983 edition of the Washington Post monthly neologism contest. The newspaper quoted winning reader Meredith G. Williams of Potomac, Maryland, defining it as the "same as an acronym, except that the words were chosen to fit the letters".
Backronyms are sometimes created to name laws or programs. The official title of the USA PATRIOT Act, a 2001 Act of the U.S. Congress, is "Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism (USA PATRIOT) Act of 2001". Commentators have noted a trend among US lawmakers to devise names that form a desired acronym. One recent example is The "Making Access Records Available to Lead American Government Openness Act", introduced during the presidency of Donald Trump by New Mexico Congressman Tom Udall, or the MAR-A-LAGO Act (making reference to Trump's frequent visits to the Florida mansion and requiring transparency in publishing visitor logs, which the administration has refused to do).
Finally, let's look at some motivational examples from Byrd Baggett:
LIFE: Live, It, Fully, Everyday
LEAD: Learn, Educate, Appreciate, Develop
ACT: Action, Changes, Things
PRIDE: Personal, Responsibility, In, Delivering, Excellence
SMILE: Special, Magic, In, Living, Everyday
TRUE: Trust, Releases, Unbelievable, Enthusiasm
PURE: Purity, Unleashes, Remarkable, Energy
PEOPLE: People, Expect, Openess, Passion, Love, Excellence
HOPE: Hanging, Onto, Positive, Expectations
TEAM: Together, Excellence, Apart, Mediocrity
PEACE: Pursue, Excellence, And, Cherish, Everyday
ONE: Only, Now, Exists
TNT: Today, Not, Tomorrow
GREAT: Get, Really, Excited, About, Today
PACT: Personal, Accountability, Changes, Today / Tomorrow / Teams
TEACH: Trust, Empowerment, Appreciation, Communication, Humor
STAR: Show, Thankfulness, Appreciation, Respect
CEO: Chief, Entertainment, Officer (I like this one!)http://www.byrdbaggett.com/motivational-acronyms/