The Strange Roots

Awk 😬

Awk (or "AWK"), the Unix command-line utility and data-driven programming language, is an acronym using the first character of its three creators' surnames.

Root: The `awk` command and programming langauge is an acronym derived from its creators' names: Aho, Weinberger and Kernighan.

It was created at Bell Labs in 1977 by Alfred Aho, Peter Weinberger, and Brian Kernighan. It was designed for text processing, data extraction and filtering using regular expressions.

'Awk' is pronouned the same as the auk, a bird from the same family as puffins and guillemots that features on the cover of the AWK Programming Language manual. The word auk derives from the Old Norse alka and the Proto-Germanic *alkǭ meaning “sea-bird”.

Sources: The AWK Programming Language