For some reason, Mensans thrive on abbreviations and acronyms. Here are a few definitions that should immediately increase your comprehension of all things Mensa:

AG: Annual Gathering, the official name of American Mensa's national convention. Also see RG.

AMC: The American Mensa Committee, American Mensa's board of directors.

AML: American Mensa, Ltd.

Area Coordinator: A volunteer who welcomes new members, receives calls and questions from members, and schedules events in a limited geographic area within the Local Group. That limited area is normally some distance from the heaviest concentrations of members, good examples in Charlotte/Blue Ridge Mensa would be Kannapolis or Boone.

CareerLink: American Mensa's CareerLink is a Web site providing career resources to members.

ExComm: Executive Committee. The governing body of a Local Group.

Feghoot: Named for fictional character Ferdinand Feghoot, this shaggy-dog type of joke has a pun as the punch line. For example, "Pardon me, Roy, is that the cat who chewed your new shoes?"

GYC: Gifted Youth Coordinator. Also see Young Mensans.

Hospitality: The hub of any large Mensa gathering, the Hospitality room offers snacks, beverages, meals and the opportunity to sit down and chat with other attendees. Especially true at AGs and RGs.

IdioM: The monthly newsletter of Charlotte/Blue Ridge Mensa. You can get it printed and delivered by the USPS if you prefer. But if national has your email address (and your permission to share it), the default distribution method is to send you a link to an electronic copy.

Isolated M: A newsletter for Mensans who may not be able to participate in Local Group activities due to location or preference.

M: A Mensan of either sex. Plural is Ms (pronounced "emz," not "miz").

MERF: The Mensa Education & Research Foundation is a philanthropic, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization committed to the pursuit of excellence in the areas of intelligence. The mission and strategic focus are directed at scholarships, education and awards. Also referred to simply as the "Mensa Foundation".

MIL: Mensa International Ltd. American Mensa Limited is a member of MIL.

Mind GamesŪ: American Mensa's national games competition where Mensans select the top five new board and card games based on originality, game play, play value, aesthetics and clarity of instructions.

NO (National Office): The administrative headquarters of American Mensa maintains membership records and qualifications; keeps track of local officer information; provides monthly funding, membership labels and reports to Local Groups; and supports the AMC and the mission of the organization. Contact the office at 817/607-0060.

NomComm: Nominating Committee. Pretty much every Mensa group, from local up to international, has a NomComm in place to help identify and officially nominate candidates for office. Some chapters, including Charlotte/Blue Ridge, combine the functions of the NomComm and Election Committee into a single group. AML is currently an exception, as the American national NomComm was disbanded when the membership voted to amend the bylaws in 2015.

Owl: OK, you know what an owl is. Because the owl was sacred to Athena, Greek goddess of wisdom, it has become the unofficial mascot of Mensa. Over the years other unofficial mascots have included pelicans, unicorns, Opus the penguin, and doubtless other things but the owl is pretty solidly entrenched. When you go to your first local Mensa event and spot a group with a stuffed owl, chances are very good that you've found the right people.

Project InkslingerŪ: This community-service program supplies information on other, non- Mensa programs that need book donations and is expanding to include more general, bookrelated philanthropic projects.

Palabra: A card game mostly popular on the west coast, but with some players all over the country. Combines Scrabble® style word building with rummy-style straights and runs, then adds bonus multipliers and an ability to steal points from the previous play.

RG: Regional Gathering - what Local Groups call their annual, regional conventions, usually held over weekends throughout the year.

RVC: Regional Vice-Chairman - a member of the AMC elected by the members in a region.

SIGs: Special Interest Groups, which can be local or national. There are groups of members who get together to enjoy and celebrate a specific interest or hobby - everything from chocolate to skiing.

Young Mensans: Mensans under the age of 18. American Mensa has accepted members as young as 2 years old. Also see GYC.