A Guide to Mensa Acronyms, Codes, and Abbreviations

AG :  Annual Gathering. Mensa's annual convocation, which meets in various host cities, and is the best party you'll ever go to. American Mensa's AG is in late June or early July. Other Mensa national groups also have AGs (U.S. and Canadian Mensa shared a joint AG in 1988). See also RG.

AMC :  American Mensa Committee, the leadership of American Mensa. Consists of elected officers: Chair, first and second Vice-Chairs, two Past Chairs, Secretary, Treasurer, and a Vice-Chair for each of the ten U.S. Regions, and several appointed officers.

AML :  An abbreviation for "American Mensa, Limited" the official name of our organization.

ASIE :  The AMC must act within the requirements of the Constitution of Mensa and our own Bylaws. Within those requirements, the AMC takes various actions, which are compiled into a list known as Actions Still in Effect. The list of ASIEs is maintained to keep it current after each AMC meeting by adding newly adopted actions and removing ASIEs that have been superseded or rendered obsolete.

Calendar :  The monthly listing of events open to Mensans (see "M") and their invited guests.

Colloquium :  A gathering for serious thought, not just for fun. Created in response to complaints that gatherings have little intellectual content. There have been eight national colloquia as of fall 2002.

Coordinator :  A loose term for a volunteer who does anything from acting as a telephone contact to organizing and hosting functions.

Crewe List :  TBM's annual membership directory, published every September. Like New Orleans, Tampa hosts an annual parade around Mardi Gras time, and like New Orleans, the parade participants group themselves into "Crewes". (Presumably the strange spelling is meant to look quaint and olde-timie.) When TBM split off from Central Florida Mensa in 1975, it seemed like a good idea to distinguish ourselves with this local idiom.

ExComm :   Executive Committee. In Tampa Bay Mensa, this consists of LocSec, Deputy LocSec, Treasurer, and six at-large positions.

Feghoot :  A shaggy-dog type joke with a pun as the punch line for example, "Pardon me, Roy, is that the cat who chewed your new shoes?"

FSM :  Fold, Spindle, and Mutilate, the monthly get-together to fold, staple, and stick mailing labels on Soundings. You can be the first kid on your block to have a Sounding by showing up to work. (If you are too young to remember when takers of standardized tests were given punch cards and sternly told not to fold, spindle, or mutilate them: congratulations!)

IBD :  International Board of Directors

InterLoc :  A newsletter published mainly for local secretaries, editors, and other leaders, reporting on the business of AMC and the national office. Any member may subscribe free of charge; see your Bulletin for the address.

Isolated M :  A newsletter for Mensans who can't participate in local group activities.

LocSec :  Local Secretary, president of a local group of Mensa. The title is a holdover, reflecting Mensa's British origins (secretary as in "Secretary of State," not secretary as in "I'll have my girl call your boy"). Although many local groups call their chief executives something else, to National they're all LocSecs.

Local Group :  Most Mensans are assigned to one of more than 130 local groups, based on geography. A local group can be compact and populous (New York City, for example) or widespread and sparse (some states have only one local group for the entire state).

M :  A Mensan of either sex. Plural is Ms (pronounced "emz", not "miz"). FM and MM denote the genders; SFM, DMM, and the like add marital status or other, similarly deducible information. The founders of Mensa originally wanted to name the society Mens, the Latin word for "mind", but were afraid of being confused with a magazine called Men Only. Mensa, on the other hand, was the first Latin word most students learned in the 1940s (it means "table"). The founders envisioned a round-table society in which all were equal, since the only criterion for membership is to be in the top two percent of whatever intelligence test you had taken. They also thought a lot of people would be reminded of the Latin tag mens sana in corpore sano, "a healthy mind in a healthy body." The logo is meant to denote a globe (for the world) resting on a table (for Mensa) in the shape of an M.

MERF :  Mensa Educational Research Foundation.

National :  Nationwide level of American Mensa. Often used as shorthand for AMC, AML, or the central office in Texas.

Newsletter :  Each local group receives a subsidy from National to publish a monthly calendar of events and reports of Mensa business. Most groups publish a more extensive newsletter, including articles, advertising, and letters. See also Sounding.

NomComm :  Nominating Committee.

Ombudsman :  A trouble-shooter who listens to gripes, settles complaints, and generally pours oil on troubled waters.

Owl :  Okay, you know what an owl is. Because the owl was sacred to Athena, Greek goddess of wisdom, it has become the unofficial mascot of Mensa, and when you get active in Mensa you'll see lots of them. Over the years other unofficial mascots have included pelicans, unicorns, Opus the penguin, and doubtless other things but the owl is pretty solidly entrenched.

Pelican :  The unofficial symbol of Tampa Bay Mensa. The pelican was chosen because (a) Central Florida Mensa, from which we split off, had already taken the owl and (b) the pelican is supposed to symbolize not only intelligence, but also self-sacrifice. In the mists of yore, folks believed that in times of hunger, a mother pelican would rip the flesh from her own breast to feed her young.

Region 10 :  TBM's Region of American Mensa. Region 10 covers all of Florida and a small area of Georgia.

RG :  Regional Gathering the second-best party, after an AG (q.v.), that you'll ever go to. Sponsored by a local group, an RG draws its attendance from its own and neighboring groups; if you have a little money, you like to travel, and you have an interest in other places, you'll love sampling the various RGs. An RG features games, partying, food, music, lectures (on anything and everything, from investments to palm reading), and general fooling around. RGs are held in hotels and motels, and local host groups bargain hard for good group rates, so it's a very inexpensive way to stay in another city. Many groups set up tours of museums and other local attractions and coordinate trips to local resaurants. Attendance can range from 50 to 500.

RVC :  Regional Vice-Chair. Elected by and for a geographic region of Mensa, this officer represents that region on the AMC and works to foster growth and development within the region.

SIG :  Special Interest Group. A means of bringing together Ms who have a common interest in a specific subject. It can be a national SIG, communicating by newsletter or correspondence only, or a local SIG that becomes a regular part of a Mensan's social life.

SIGHT :  Service for International Guidance and Hospitality to Travelers. A network of volunteer hosts offering accommodations to Ms who want to visit their cities. Local coordinators help get hosts and guests together.

Sounding :  see Tampa Bay Sounding

Tampa Bay Sounding :  The monthly newsletter of TBM.

TBM :  Tampa Bay Mensa.