Peter Hullah Peter.Hullah at eurocontrol.fr
Fri Oct 4 07:53:07 UTC 1996

Markus G. Kuhn wrote:
> [snip]
> > Why is the abbreviation for Coordinated Universal Time "UTC" instead
> > of "CUT"?
>   In 1970 the Coordinated Universal Time system was devised by an
>   international advisory group of technical experts within the
>   International Telecommunication Union (ITU). The ITU felt it was best
>   to designate a single abbreviation for use in all languages in order
>   to minimize confusion.  Since unanimous agreement could not be
>   achieved on using either the English word order, CUT, or the French
>   word order, TUC, a compromise of using neither, UTC, was adopted.
> [snip]

I had also heard that the Dutch didn't like it since it's pronounced
their word "kut" which means the same as a similar to an English word
containing an 'n'. (Rather like the Germans objecting to the
compromise of ECU in financial circles.)
> [snip]
> > Even though the reference standard has changed a few times since then,
> > the public continues to call it `GMT'.
> I feel, GMT is only widely known in English speaking countries. In
> Germany for instance, the term Weltzeit (translates as "world time" or
> may be "universal time") is usualy used (for example on shortwave
> radio, Deutsche Welle ~6.1 MHz) and the time zone map that you'll find
> in geography school books and for example in the information booklets
> in every Lufthansa plane say UTC and not GMT.

Dear Markus, I have a great respect for your wisdom and knowledge, but
there are other references on this planet than the Official German 
Time Office (who convinced you that CET and CEST were the correct 
abbreviations) and the German Airline. 

In order to be just as patriotically parochial, might I point out that 
the BBC World Service, (the world reference for broadcasting quality :-)
with an audience of hundreds of millions all over the world,  a very
percentage of whom do not have English as their first language, only
gives time in 'GMT'. Most of its audience has never heard of UTC as is
the case for a large proportion of the English-speaking world - just pop
down your Purdue corridor and ask a handful of people (not involved in
sort of thing) what the "official" name for International Time is.
those who reply "Eastern Standard Time"!)

The French, by the way, generally refer, still, to TU. (Coordine ou

> I would exchange GMT for UTC as in the patch below.  This patch also
> removes UCT, assuming that this is the abbreviation for "Universal
> Coordinated Time", something I have never encountered outside the
> etcetera file.

I'd leave GMT as it is. UCT, I agree, should be buried.



Peter H.C. Hullah                    Technical Services
mailto:Peter.Hullah at eurocontrol.fr   EUROCONTROL Experimental Centre
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