2 years ago
Last edited at 8:07AM on 4/22/2012
Some believe it means "save our ship," but it's really more that the Morse Code signals for those letters are easy to remember, transmit, and decode quickly. It boils down to "I/We need help immediately."
The SOS abbreviation is used to identify a Morse code distress signal experienced in a ship during its service. The use of this signal was first established in April 1, 1905 by the German government. Learn more on this from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SOS.
Most people think it stands for "Save Our Ship" or "Save Our Souls." Actually it doesn't stand for anything. The letters were chosen because in Morse code they are easily transmitted as dot-dot-dot, dash-dash-dash, dot-dot-dot. If you're talking about S.O.S (no final period) steel wool pads, the initials were intended to stand for "Save Our Saucepans."
SOS is a Morse "procedural signal” or "prosign." As the SOS signal is a ‘prosign’, its respective letters have no inherent meaning per se. In the simplest terms, SOS is a ‘SIGNAL’ indicating distress and the need for help, and not an acronym or abbreviation.