"KISS” (also called the “KISS principle” or “KISS system") usually stands for “Keep It Simple, Stupid.” Like the harmless kiss, the KISS principle—used in the military, business and government—holds that the simple method is the most preferred. The Navy instituted a “Project KISS” in 1960.
The first “KISS” citation, however, appears in print in a 1958 North Carolina newspaper and does not appear to be related to the military. A later “KISS” version is “Keep it Short and Simple.”
Wikipedia: KISS principle
The KISS principle: KISS is a modern acronym for the empirical principle “Keep it Short and Simple,” or the more recent and disparaging “Keep it Simple, Stupid”. KISS states that design simplicity should be a key goal and that unnecessary complexity should be avoided.
The principle most likely finds its origins in similar concepts, such as Occam’s razor, and Albert Einstein’s maxim that “everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler”. Leonardo Da Vinci’s “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”, or Antoine de Saint Exupéry’s “It seems that perfection is reached not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away”.
Colin Chapman, the founder of Lotus Cars, urged his designers to “Simplify, and add lightness”.
Rube Goldberg machines illustrate the sorts of problems that may arise with “non-KISS,” overly-complex solutions.
Instruction creep and function creep are examples of failure to follow the KISS principle in software development. This is known as “Creeping Featurism”.
Keep it short and sweet, an advice to copy editors, is not normally abbreviated.
Historical Dictionary of American Slang
KISS interj. Orig. Mil. keep it simple, stupid! Joc.
1971 Rowe Five Years to Freedom 120 [ref. to 1963]: The old “KISS” formula, “Keep it simple, stupid,” served as my guide as I built the biography.
1975 Univ. Tenn. student: KISS—Keep It Simple, Stupid! I learned that in the army [a 1970].
1977 Langone Life at Bottom 203: Used to have what we call the KISS System. Which means, Keep It Simple, Stupid.
1980 Time (May 12) 33: The complex mission violated an old Army rule we called KISS, meaning “Keep it simple, stupid.”
23 July 1958, Robesonian (Lumberton, NC), pg. 4, col. 1:
(Rocky Mount Telegram)
Signs with the single word, KISS, are being tacked up on walls in offices and other places of business, it was explained here last week by James Webb of Greensboro.
A variation of the sign, THINK, popularized some years ago, the new placard takes on tantalizing undertones in the techniques of hidden persuasion.
What could the word KISS mean? Secretaries asked one another over their morning cokes and coffee. Office boys made wisecracks. SUpervisors and executives of junior and senior grades, including vice-presidents, were puzzled by the banner with the strange device, reminiscent of the boy who bore the sign “Excelsior”.
The mystery continued until one day, said Mr. Webb, the public relations director of the firm decided to find out once and for all what the word meant. he asked the boss point blank, “What do the four lettersm K-I-S-S mean?”
“Keep It Simple, Stupid,” replied the boy.
22 October 1959, New York (NY) Times, pg. 42:
TO DOCTORS HERE
Techniques Called Useful in
Mitigating Pain—Role of
patient Is Underscored
By MORRIS KAPLAN
These techniques need not involve elaborate showmanship—the silk hat, the cutaway coat—he said. “I use the KISS technique—that is, Keep it Simple, Stupid.”
4 December 1960, Chicago (IL) Daily Tribune, “Washington Scrapbook” by Walter Trohan, pg. 43:
Rear Adm. Paul D. Stroop, chief of the Navy’s Weapons Bureau, has instituted “Project KISS” to increase the reliability and reduce the cost of the military gadgets his organization produces.
KISS stands for “Keep it simple, stupid.”
13 February 1961, Salt Lake Tribune (Salt Lake City, UT), pg. 19, col. 1:
The Navy has come up with a new code word for red tape papers. Nowadays, a naval office worker may receive a document with the word “KISS” on it.
IT DOESN’T mean what you think it means—it means, in Navy parlance, “Keep It Simple, Stupid!”
8 November 1964, Washington (DC) Post, “This Morning With Shirley Povich,” pg. C3:
When Ara Parseghian was coaching at Northwestern he mystified his assistants by writing his coaching philosophy on the blackboard in four letters, “KISS.” Then he explained its meaning: “Keep It Simple, Stupid.”
9 February 1972, Fresno (CA) Bee, pg. B1, col. 4:
Mrs. Ruth Brent of Downey offers a “kiss” for almost everyone who needs one—bachelors, busy housewives, career women, senior citizens, boaters, travelers.
“KISS” is what she calls her newly published book, “Keep It Short and Simple,” which she discussed at the luncheon meeting yesterday of the Women’s Auxiliary to the Fresno County Medical Society at the Airport Marina.
New York City • Government/Law/Politics/Military • (1) Comments • Wednesday, June 17, 2009 • Permalink
KISS principle sounds great to me.