Most people think that the letters in the SAT stand for "Scholastic Aptitude Test". While that it is indeed what it was called when it first came out in 1926, the truth today is very different. You see, there was an error in its naming: the SAT does not actually measure aptitude, which is a natural ability. It's more of an assessment of learned abilities, so the College Board renamed the SAT to be the Scholastic Assessment Test in 1993, under mounting pressure. However, people hated the new name even more, because since "assessment" is just a word for "test", "Scholastic Test Test" is kind of redundant. Eventually, in 1997, the College Board just gave up, with one representative declaring that "the SAT has become the trademark; it doesn't stand for anything. The SAT is the SAT, and that's all it is." Basically, the three letters mean absolutely nothing, and if you're wondering why they didn't just make a new acronym, it's because changing the name would be "too confusing". Funnily enough, this type of development occurs relatively frequently. KFC used to be "Kentucky Fried Chicken" until fried foods got a bad rep in the '90s, when the company just dropped all meaning associated with the letters. The same is true for AT&T, AARP, ESPN, ACT (the SAT's sister test, ironically), and many others.
Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a senior studying government and linguistics at Harvard University, where I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy trivia, politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, art history, and law.