LOL is Now Officially English

Mar 25, 2011
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The Oxford English Dictionary added a number of networthy initialisms to the ranks of official English words. If you haven't heard of an initialism before, I hadn't, you'll now know that this is a word that is created by making an acronym from the first letters of each word in a longer phrase. The venerable dictionary added and updated a collection of these acronyms to it's rolls of wordiness earlier today.

LOL officially enters the ranks of real words alongside such internet-chat-spawned shorthand as OMG (Oh My God), IMHO(In My Humble/Honest Opinion), and BFF(Best Friend Forever). The Oxford guys also decided to update the entries to the older terms FYI (For Your Information) and TMI (Too Much Information). Apparently the folks over at the OED neglected to include ROFL and LMAO, most likely because they aren't used quite as often verbally or in traditional print.

As such usage indicates, many people would consider these recent coinages, from the last 10 or 20 years, and associate them with a younger generation conversant with all forms of digital communications. As is often the case, OED’s research has revealed some unexpected historical perspectives: our first quotation for OMG is from a personal letter from 1917; the letters LOL had a previous life, starting in 1960, denoting an elderly woman (or ‘little old lady’; see LOL n./1); and the entry for FYI [FYI phr., adj., and n.], for example, shows it originated in the language of memoranda in 1941 - OED

The dictionary also added the popular usage of ♥ to heart as a colloquial synonym for to love. So now, writing "I ♥ you" to your sweetie is not only sickeningly adorable, it's also grammatically correct! I think you'll all join us in saying, "WTF?"

[via Ars Technica]


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