Acronyms in ORCA are classified in three hoc categories (Hierarchical ORCA Categories?!):
- Ad hoc. Bottom of the heap is the Ad hoc acronym. This acronym may still be fairly contrived but the result has no real bearing on what the acronymn stands for. ORCA itself is an example of this, at least until it is discovered that Killer Whales are prolific generators of acronyms (in which case it would become Post hoc).
- Post hoc. Respectable middle ground is held by the Post hoc acronym. This was contrived in an “Ad hoc” fashion but extra meaning has since been painfully squeezed from the acronymn, possibly through judicious use of a tagline. For example, BADASP is written in Python so has a snake connection (and hence the logo). In reality, it was called BADASP because the original name, BADASS, was a bit too risque.
- Pre hoc. The daddy of ORCA acronyms, Pre hoc acronyms have been successfully contrived to a relevant word. Like DOLPHIN as the newsletter for ORCA. (They’re both cetaceans, don’tyaknow.) By their nature (less words to chose from), Pre hoc acronyms are most likely to be really contrived, which is why we like them here.
In addition to its hoc class, an acronym can also be designated a Metanym if it includes another acronym within its expansion. DOLPHIN is good example - the O stands for ORCA, itself an acronym.
Finally, some rare acronyms are recursive and contain themselves within their expansion. The classic example of this is GNU: "GNU's Not Unix".
NB. Following specific ORCA entries, a couple more acronym categories have been added: Backronym, an acronym retroactively invented to fit a pre-existing word, and Intranym, a pseudo-acronym that breaks the rules and uses internal letters.