So as not to derail with puns

Would COVID-19 be more of an Amalgamated Abbreviation?

It definitely isn’t an Initialism like BBC or DVD (where you pronouce the letters). Nobody pronounces it COVID19.

And while it’s pronouced like a proper word (NATO, SCOTUS, etc.) like a proper acronym, it doesn’t consist of just the first letters of the constituent words.

COronaVIrus Disease of 2019

We don’t call it CVD2019, which is weird, because that has precedence. Like Human Papillomavirus (HPV) or Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV).

We don’t beef those up to HUman PApillomaVIrus (HUPAVI) or Human IMMUnodeficiency Virus (HIMMUV), despite their huge impact and importance to humans worldwide.

And what about that hiphen? COVID - 19.

Coronavirus Disease of 2019.

Is the hyphen taking the place of the “OF”? Why? Why not just COVID19? And if it isn’t taking the place of that word, then what is it? Does it technically even count as an acronym when you have a character in there that doesn’t appear in the phrase you’re abbreviating?

Sorry, just shower thoughts.


There is no standardization in naming stuff in biological science aside from Linnaean taxonomy, which is only good for whole organisms, and is still pretty messy. Every field has its own way of doing things. Especially in genetics and virology there’s people who name stuff after what it does, or after what happens when you break it, or after what disease it causes, or after people, or just with random in-jokes. Wild west.


I believe a hyphen can casually stand for “of” like “Patrick Bateman, VP - Mergers and Acquisitions”.

Potentially incorrect assumptions by Hanon

In Spanish you’ll see names like Carmen Marquez del Guerrero - I may have the order wrong, but I think it can mean Carmen took the married name Marquez but she’s originally “from” the Guerrero family which is what “de or del” means - “of/from” or “of the”. So when someone hyphenates they’re keeping their original name. Jane Smith marries John Powell and may take the name Jane Smith-Powell - she’s “of” Powell, which is scarily Handmaid’s Tale-ish but her original last name is Smith. NOTE: this is all my own deduction and may not actually be true and some Spanish names are just long to acknowledge saints or their hometown potentially? (apologies if I’m completely wrong)

I assume the CDC likely didn’t intend to create a commonly-used acronym, but just shorten terminology in a standard way on communication instead of typing “the corona virus disease that is currently in effect that began in the year 2019” over and over, and like most government terms, it’s used verbally.

This led to stupid politicians thinking it was a numbered series and remarking “Well, we got over Covids one through eighteen, how bad can this one be?” :expressionless:

I assume in writing stylistically COVID-19 is a little clearer to read than COVID19 and publications want to remain consistent.


[Is holding a moment of silence for this grevious mental injury suffered upon people everywhere.]


I have a Spanish last name that uses this convention, but instead of being from a family, it is being used in a way more akin to “Prince Yadayada of Wales.” Imagine that prince fled to a foreign country and they misunderstood his last name as “Of Wales.” Now he, his wife, and all of their decendents would be named things like Alice and Bob Ofwales.


Makes sense. In customer service where I’m constantly searching for people it’s common to have to try every name because sometimes they can get very long - Carmen [of this family from this town married this person by the grace of Saint Somebody and the church in this town] and the people who do data entry can’t fit the entire last name so they’ll randomly pick one…or jam different parts of the last name into the first name and middle name fields…

Last names in English often were originally derived from a person’s profession. “Bob, the Blacksmith” or “Bob Smith”; “Jane, the clerk” or “Jane Clark”.