Monday, February 27, 2006

Mfg. and Reg. Penna. Dept. Agr.

When I was a kid, I was always puzzled by the abbreviation "Mfg." Somehow I had the idea that it stood for "mefaguying," accent on the the first syllable, "MEFF-a-guy-ing."

Some years later, I learned that my brother had also been confused by this same abbreviation. He thought it stood for "Mahoofidging." Accent on the second syllable, which had a long "oo" in it, by the way: "Ma-HOOF-idg-ing."

And then there was "Reg. Penna. Dept. Agr.," which I always used to see on various food items— I remember sitting at the kitchen table and noticing it on a box of crackers as early as age five. At first, I thought it stood for "Registered with the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture." Then as I grew a bit older, I thought, no, it couldn't stand for that, that doesn't make any sense, especially since I lived in Wisconsin and not Pennsylvania, for crying out loud— it must be an abbreviation for some obscure phrase in Latin. (This was back in the days when Latin still had a marginal foothold in our culture.)

Nope, turns out "Reg. Penna. Dept. Agr." really does stand for "Registered with the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture." I know, I know, it doesn't make any sense; but it's true.


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