Language authorities break rules, add 'tweet' to Oxford English Dictionary


Authorities on the English language — the folks behind the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), to be specific — have once again seen it fit to acknowledge the existence of some terms which techies have been mumbling (and typing) for years.

Yes, that's right — you can finally talk about "big data," "crowdsourcing", "e-readers," "mouseovers," "redirects," "streams," and more without fretting that you're using the terms in an unsanctioned manner.

And you can also use "tweet" — as a verb or a noun — to discuss social networking. "This breaks at least one OED rule, namely that a new word needs to be current for 10 years before consideration for inclusion," John Simpson, chief editor of the OED, explains in a blog post. "But it seems to be catching on."

It'll be a few more years before Twitter-related terms will actually meet that OED standard, of course. One of the very first tweets went out on March 21, 2006, though the service didn't truly gain popularity until the next year's South by Southwest (SXSW) conference.

Mind you, the Oxford Dictionaries Online (ODO) — which focuses on the current state of the English language and includes modern meanings and uses of words — has already included "tweeps" and other Twitter-related terms for quite some time.

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