Coined 1983 by Richard M. Stallman as a recursive acronym for "GNU's Not Unix", following convention of naming programs similar to or inspired by existing programs as “(New Name) Is Not (Old Name)”; compare Xinu.
Specifically influenced by lack of English words of form ?inu (“?INU Is Not Unix”), that gnu is the alphabetically first (and in fact only) English word of the form ?nu (“?’s Not Unix”), that gnu was perceived as a humorous word, and the existence of the song The Gnu.
- Name of the Free Software Foundation's project to develop a free UNIX-like operating system, including the legal framework, such as the source code and documentation licenses.
Related terms 
- ^ The Free Software Movement and the Future of Freedom: The name "GNU", Richard Stallman, March 9th 2006