Bad Initials Don't Spell Curse

President-elect Bush pulls up his pant leg to show his cowboy boot, with his initials and Presidential Seal embroidered on it, at the Black Tie and Boots Ball in Washington Friday night, Jan. 19, 2001. AP

Forget agonizing over baby name books. A new study shows even the most unfortunate set of initials may not come with a curse.

Despite the notion that a less than desirable monogram may bring bad luck, researchers say someone with initials that spell something negative, like DIE or ROT, are no more likely to wind up in an early grave than someone blessed with positive initials, like WOW or JOY.

The results contradict a 1999 study that showed men with positive initials lived 4.5 years longer than men with neutral initials, and men with negative initials died 2.8 years earlier.


Does Die Mean Rip?

In the study, researchers looked at California death records from 1905 to 2005 to see if there was a statistical relationship between initials and longevity.

Researchers came up with a list of "good" and "bad" initials by asking a group of college students to rank which initials they'd be most and least happy to have.

The top 10 positive initials were ACE, ICE, JOY, VIP, CEO, GEM, FLY, FOX, HIP, WIT, and WIN.

The top negative initials were KKK, DIE, ZIT, PIG, DUM, RAT, SOB, GAS, BAD, HOR, BUM, and SIN.

Researchers then compared the average age at death of about 4,200 men and 2,800 women with positive initials and 6,500 men and 4,500 women with negative initials.

Grouping by year of birth, the results showed men with negative initials lived slightly longer on average than men with positive initials. The reverse held true for females, with those with positive initials living slightly longer than those with negative ones.

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