What does S.O.S stand for??

54 Answers

  • 9 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    In popular usage to this day, the letters SOS (no periods) are commonly believed to be an acronym for:

    Save Our Ship

    Save Our Souls

    Sink Or Swim

    These are termed 'backronyms,' as explained below, and came into popular use AFTER SOS went into effect. In actuality, and as originally intended when SOS was introduced in 1908, the letters have no meaning.

    SOS is a Morse "procedural signal” or "prosign." As the SOS signal is a ‘prosign’, its respective letters have no inherent meaning per se. In the simplest terms, SOS is a ‘SIGNAL’ indicating distress and the need for help, and not an acronym or abbreviation.

    After SOS was first used by the steamship Arapahoe in 1909 (not the Titanic in 1912 as many people believe), people applied their own meanings to the letters. The most popular ones: "save our ship" and "save our souls." These are correctly termed ‘bacronyms.’

    ‘SOS’ was chosen because the three dots, three dashes, three dots are easy to transmit and not easily confused with other letters by the sender or recipients. With the advent of radios on ships beginning in the 1920s, ‘Mayday’ became, and still is, the International Distress Signal, but SOS served its purpose, for a while.

    Bacronym: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Backronym

  • 4 years ago


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  • 5 years ago

    I always thought Signal/sign of Stress. Funny however that if I were vocalizing a stress call my immediate thought is Mayday, Mayday. I guess I grew up with the era of a red SOS being written when stranded on a deserted island somewhere from watching movies. Not that I have ever figured out why someone would have red paint available in that particular situation LOL.

    Now days however if one used this for help it would not be perceived as such because with all the shortened and abbreviated letters replacing entire phrases the technical generation has created it would stand for nothing more than confusion. They would have the CIA and FBI scrambling to find a new deciphering system of communication.

  • ?
    Lv 4
    3 years ago

    What Does Sos Stand For

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  • 4 years ago

    Send Out Ships

  • 5 years ago

    Survivor Of Shipwreck

  • Annis
    Lv 5
    4 years ago

    Hope this helps!

    Source(s): DigitalEssay.net
  • 4 years ago

    Suck On Suckers

  • 5 years ago

    Save Our Ship

  • 3 years ago

    What Does Sos Mean

  • 4 years ago

    Same old story

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