FROM THE ANNALS OF DIPLOMACY….I’ve long wondered in a vague way (i.e., vague enough that I never bothered trying to find out the answer) why Coordinated Universal Time is abbreviated UTC. I suppose I figured the initials must have come from the translation of the phrase in some foreign language, probably French, but today Becks points me to a Wikipedia entry that sets me straight:
The International Telecommunication Union wanted Coordinated Universal Time to have a single abbreviation for all languages. English speakers and French speakers each wanted the initials of their respective languages’ terms to be used internationally: “CUT” for “coordinated universal time” and “TUC” for “temps universel coordonné“. This resulted in the final compromise of using “UTC”.
Now all we have to do is make up a language in which this is the correct acronym and we’ll be all set.