Experts Agree: Synergizing is not a Word - Yet

Editor's update: Language use at NASA is more of an imprecise art than a science. Verbs can be nouns and vice versa - just like that. No one really seems to care. And capitalization? Read a letter written by more than one person at NASA and the rules can change several times in the course of one page. As for spelling. NASA has problems in that department as well. Check out this new solicitation. "NUETRAL"?

Acronyms formed without vowels can suddenly develop them so as to be more pronounceable. And saying these acronyms out loud is always better with a southern twang, of course. I once heard some folks from Marshall refer to ESTEC employees as "aztecs". My all-time favorite acronym from my Space Station Freedom days was the "UDAWG" which stood for User Design Accommodations Working Group. Say UDAWG aloud - and proud - like you are from Alabama. Everyone in the UDAWG was upset when the panel was renamed to something less appealing. I even created a logo which was baselined just before the change (that's a crushed 'long' lab module in Astro's mouth).

Often times, these acronyms become part of meta-acronyms - where the "N" represents the acronym "NASA" and people soon forget what the other letters representing original acronyms meant to begin with. Here's a fresh example of an acronym built out of acronyms: "Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory (NBL)/Space Vehicle (SVMF) Operations Contract (NSOC)".

And, of course, these acronyms become verbs before you know it. Have you ever heard someone say that their management wants to "RIF" them? Regular words get the NASA treatment as well.

Today, in the Constellation presentations at NASA headquarters, I heard Jeff Hanley use the word "synergizing" several times - as a verb. This was a new word to my ears - almost as good as hearing someone at NASA saying that they were going to "action" something. Out of curiosity, I checked, Merriam-Webster OnLine, The Free Dictionary, and Cambridge Dictionaries Online. None of these resources recognized the word "synergizing".

Hmm ... maybe I am spelling it wrong.

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on June 5, 2006 9:21 PM.

Lack of Standard Policy at NASA PAO was the previous entry in this blog.

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