Why UTC is not CUT even though that stands for Coordinated Universal Time?

Is there rule for acronym that doesn't keep the order of original words?

2 Answers 2


From Wikipedia (UTC):

The official abbreviation for Coordinated Universal Time is UTC. This abbreviation arose from a desire by the International Telecommunication Union and the International Astronomical Union to use the same abbreviation in all languages. English speakers originally proposed CUT (for "coordinated universal time"), while French speakers proposed TUC (for "temps universel coordonné"). The compromise that emerged was UTC, which conforms to the pattern for the abbreviations of the variants of Universal Time (UT0, UT1, UT2, UT1R, etc.).

A group of words is abbreviated in the same order as the original. M-W has

Definition of acronym
: a word (such as NATO, radar, or laser) formed from the initial letter or letters of each of the successive parts or major parts of a compound term; also : an abbreviation (such as FBI) formed from initial letters : initialism

Sometimes a phrase is written in a specific order to make the acronym sound nice even if the original phrase sounds awkward. I think it's uncommon for the abbreviation to be in a different order from the original. I think there has to be an unusual circumstance for the order to be different from the original. For example, the compromise noted above. This could also happen if the original phrase comes from a foreign language and is then abbreviated, or if an acronym from a foreign language is adopted.


According to wiki

It says

Coordinated Universal Time or Universal Time Coordinated (abbreviated to UTC) is . . .

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