Home / OMG! The Oxford English Dictionary Adds Internet Initialisms (LOL)

OMG! The Oxford English Dictionary Adds Internet Initialisms (LOL)

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OMG! Last week The OED (Oxford English Dictionary) has added an entire lexicon of Internet slang to its much esteemed pages. The benchmark of English language dictionaries updates its listings quarterly, and just added a new crop of 900 words, includingOxford English Dictionary several Internet “initialisms” (as The OED puts it), and one symbol (for the first time ever!).

Among the new entries in The OED are LOL, BFF, IMHO, and OMG. In addition, the symbol <3 (the universally acknowledged Internet symbol for “heart”) now appears among the listings in the venerable publication. It is the first time The OED has included a symbol!

For the initialism-uninitiated, LOL means “laughing out loud,” BFF is “best friend forever,” OMG stands for “Oh my God!” IMHO is probably my favorite bit of Internet shorthand, meaning “in my humble opinion.” I think it was the first one I ever used.

Of course there are many not (yet) included in the lexicon, including IMHO’s corollary IMNSHO (“in my not so humble opinion”), and other, more popular acronyms as IIRC (“if I recall correctly”), ROFL (“rolling on the floor laughing”), LMAO (“laughing my ass off”), TBTB (“the powers that be”) and so many other colorful, Internet-isms.

I do wonder however, if WTF (“what the f**k?”) and STFU (“Shut the f**k up”) will ever make into OED-Land?  But does the addition of such “words” to the much-revered OED cheapen its value, or does acknowledging common usage terms in the age of emails, Twitter, Facebook and texting give the dictionary street cred. In a sense, is the OED at 20 volumes, the official chronicler of our age in words?

I’ve always had a thing for The Oxford English Dictionary. Believe it or not, when I was in college and bored (which was often, I confess), I’d sit in the library and read random pages, fascinated, for example, at the pages of definitions for the simple word “love.”

So, dear readers, what Internet acronyms and (since they’ve now opened the barn door) emoticons would you like to see added to the next OED update? In your humble opinion, of course :=)

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About Barbara Barnett

Barbara Barnett is Publisher/Executive Editor of Blogcritics, (blogcritics.org). Her debut novel, called "Anne Rice meets Michael Crichton," The Apothecary's Curse The Apothecary's Curse comes out October 11 from Pyr, an imprint of Prometheus Books. Her book on the TV series House, M.D., Chasing Zebras is a quintessential guide to the themes, characters and episodes of the hit show. Barnett is an accomplished speaker, an annual favorite at MENSA's HalloWEEM convention, where she has spoken to standing room crowds on subjects as diverse as "The Byronic Hero in Pop Culture," "The Many Faces of Sherlock Holmes," "The Hidden History of Science Fiction," and "Our Passion for Disaster (Movies)."