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Well-Known Member
Mar 14, 2004
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I knew the Brits used this word for a crash, but I wondered about its origin. My wife looked it up for me. It is in fact British, from WW II, and is supposedly "imitative", that is, the word is supposed to sound like the action. This is also called "onomatopoeia", like "bang" or "thud" or "buzz", which may not interest you much, but I can't believe I finally found a reason to use one of the three things I remember from high school literature class, and probably never will again, so I had to use it now.

Anyway, while researching it, I made the point that it's pilot/engineer slang, sort of like SWAG (Scientific Wild Assed Guess). My wife asked then if prang was also an acronym. I told her no.

Unfortunately, according to dictionary.com I was wrong. It turns out that "prang" in in fact (or rather, is also) an acronym. It is quite possibly the most unfortunate acronym in modern use. It is for the Puerto Rico Air National Guard.

Those poor pilots.
Ouch... I hope the rocketry version doesent mean the same thing....:eek: