(TLA) The canonical self-describing abbreviation for the name of a species with
which computing terminology is infested. Examples include MCA, FTP, SNA, CPU,
MMU, DMU, FPU, TLA. For a complete list of the TLAs in this dictionary, see
Sometimes used by extension for any confusing acronym. People who like this
looser usage argue that not all TLAs have three letters, just as not all
four-letter words have four letters. One also hears of "ETLA" (Extended
Three-Letter Acronym) being used to describe four-letter acronyms. The term
"SFLA" (Stupid Four-Letter Acronym) has also been reported.
See also YABA.
The self-effacing phrase "TDM TLA" (Too Damn Many...) is often used to bemoan
the plethora of TLAs in use. In 1989, a random of the journalistic persuasion
asked hacker Paul Boutin "What do you think will be the biggest problem in
computing in the 90s?" Paul's straight-faced response: "There are only 17,000
three-letter acronyms." (To be exact, there are 26^3 = 17,576.)
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