UFO Acronym Defnitions

Mick West

Staff member
There are a lot of acronyms floating around the UFO world, some of which I invented (or at least promoted) myself. Here's a list with my definitions:

  • UFO - Unidentified Flying Object - Anything that seems to be flying that can't be identified. Technically this includes white dots in the distance where you can't tell if it's a bird or not. Common usage tends to conflate this with actual flying saucers and alien spaceships, so the term invites ridicule.
  • UAP - Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon - Anything in the sky that can't be identified - essentially the same as the technical definition of UFO, but currently with fewer jokes. Also covers things like ball lightning, and holograms.
  • TFA - Too Far Away. Something unidentified because it is too far away. Most UFOs are TFAs
  • OOF - Out Of Focus. Something unidentified because it's blurry, TFAs are frequently OOF.
  • EWA - Eye-Witness Account. Something unidentified because of an unverifiable story.
  • SFA - Small or Far Away. Something unidentified because the distance (and hence size) is not immediately apparent. Most commonly a fly, but also birds. Usually OOF.
  • JAL - Just a light - A UFO photo or video that's a black background with just a light. The lack of contextual information in the video prevents identification.
  • RIW - Reflection in a window - Often spotted after a photo is taken, lights in a room are often reflected in the window over the sky, and so look like flying saucers.
  • LIZ - Low Information Zone - A region of low information - either OOF, TFA, low-resolution video, JAL, bad EWAs, etc. UFOs are unidentified because they stay just inside the LIZ.
  • MSN - More Study Needed - The invariable outcome of UFO investigations.
  • NED - Not Enough Data - A common qualifier applied to conclusions in unsolved UFO investigations
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