By Hugh Rawson
The words look like they might be Latin, perhaps something you would find scrawled on a wall in Pompeii, but they are not. Potus is an acronym, composed of the initial letters of the phrase, President of the United States. Flotus is his wife, the First Lady of the United States. (It should be pronounced FLOE-tus to rhyme with POE-tus.)
Once used mainly by the Secret Service and other White House insiders, the acronyms have slipped into the public domain. For example, historian David Brinkley, in a review of Jodi Kantor’s The First Marriage, a new book about Barack and Michelle Obama, noted that the author “became intensely interested in the working relationship between Potus and Flotus” after interviewing them in 2009 (The New York Times, Feb. 17, 2012). Read the rest of this entry ?