Why is UTC called UTC?

Markus Kuhn mskuhn at cip.informatik.uni-erlangen.de
Wed Jun 19 09:18:39 UTC 1996

Scott G. Hall wrote:

> Actually, I was told that the designation was a compromise between several
> European nations.  It was decided that the common time reference would still
> be Greenwich, England (instead of some other city on the same longitude),
> but the compromise was that its name would be French (the French for
> "Universal Time Coordinated" -- I don't speak French) -- thus UTC.

That is certainly wrong. The French always put the adjective
BEHIND the noun, so the French version would be either something
like Temps Universel Coordine (TUC) or Temps Coordine
Universel (TCU). (no guarantee for the spelling)

The explanation of UTC is quite easy: UT is the abbreviation for the
English term Universal Time, and you can append an index 0, 1, 2, or
C to this abbreviation in order to indicate which exact flavor of
Universal Time you are refering to. Therefore, UTC is not strictly an
abbreviation at all, but you can read it as "Universal Time, coordinated"
just as UT1 can be read as "Universal Time, version #1".


Markus Kuhn, Computer Science student -- University of Erlangen,
Internet Mail: <mskuhn at cip.informatik.uni-erlangen.de> - Germany
WWW Home: <http://wwwcip.informatik.uni-erlangen.de/user/mskuhn>

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