Mensa Lingo

A Guide to Mensa Acronyms, Codes, and Abbreviations


Annual Gathering. Mensa’s yearly conference meets in various host cities and is the best party you’ll ever attend. 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.


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.


An abbreviation for “American Mensa, Limited,” the official name of our organization.


The AMC must act within the requirements of the Constitution of Mensa and our 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maintained to keep it current after each AMC meeting by adding newly adopted actions and removing ASIEs that have been superseded or rendered obsolete.


The monthly events listing is open to Mensans (see “M”) and their guests.


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.


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 is published every September. Like New Orleans, Tampa hosts a yearly 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 old-timie.) When TBM split off from Central Florida Mensa in 1975, distinguishing ourselves from this local idiom seemed like a good idea.


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


A shaggy-dog joke with a pun as the punch line, for example, “Pardon me, Roy. Is that the cat who chewed your new shoes?”


Fold, Spindle, and Mutilate is a monthly get-together to fold, staple, and stick mailing labels on Soundings. By showing up to work, you can be the first kid on your block to have a Sounding. (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!)


International Board of Directors


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.


Local Secretary and president of a local Mensa group. 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).


A Mensan of either sex. The 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. Conversely, Mensa 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 was to be in the top two percent of whatever intelligence test you had taken. They also thought many people would remember the Latin tag that means sana in corpora sano, “a healthy mind in a healthy body.” The logo is intended to denote a globe (for the world) resting on a table (for Mensa) in the shape of an M.


Mensa Educational Research Foundation.


The nationwide level of American Mensa is often used as shorthand for AMC, AML, or the central office in Texas.


Each local group receives a subsidy from the American Mensa to publish a monthly calendar of events and reports on Mensa’s business. Most groups publish a more extensive newsletter, including articles, advertising, and letters. See also Sounding.


Nominating Committee.


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


Okay, you know what an owl is. Because the owl was sacred to Athena, the 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.


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 a mother pelican would rip the flesh from her breast to feed her young in times of hunger.

Region 10

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


Regional Gathering is the second-best party you’ll ever go to after an AG (q.v.). Sponsored by a local group, an RG draws its attendance from its own and neighboring groups; if you have a little money, like to travel, and are interested 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 reasonable 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 restaurants. Attendance can range from 50 to 500.


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.


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.


Service for International Guidance and Hospitality to Travelers. A network of volunteer hosts offers accommodations to Ms who want to visit their cities. Local coordinators help connect hosts and guests.


see Tampa Bay Sounding

Tampa Bay Sounding

The monthly newsletter of TBM.


Tampa Bay Mensa.