Aug. 23, 2012 at 8:42 AM ET
Authorities on the English language — the folks behind the Oxford Dictionaries Online, to be specific — have once again acknowledged the significance of words we'd invented during late night online chat sessions. Yes, this means that "lolz" and "mwahahaha" are now in the dictionary.
Before you reach for the pitchforks or torches and threaten to burn down every English classroom in sight, let's clear something up: You shouldn't confuse the Oxford Dictionaries Online (ODO) with the Oxford English Dictionary (OED). One focuses on the current state of the English language and "includes modern meanings and uses of words," while the other is more of a historical record, tracking core definitions.
"Research from the Oxford Dictionaries team shows that these terms have made their way into common usage," a blog post announcing the latest additions to the ODO explains. "The world of technology remains a major influence on the English language, with innovative advances reflected in new entries."
You can check out the full list of words recently added to the ODO over at the OxfordWords blog, but here are some which stood out to us:
ethical hacker - a person who hacks into a computer network in order to test or evaluate its security, rather than with malicious or criminal intent
hackathon - an event, typically lasting several days, in which a large number of people meet to engage in collaborative computer programming
hat tip - (in online contexts) used as an acknowledgement that someone has brought a piece of information to the writer’s attention, or provided the inspiration for a piece of writing
inbox - (verb) send a private message or an email to (someone, typically another member of a social networking site or Internet message board
lifecasting - the practice of broadcasting a continuous live flow of video material on the Internet which documents one’s day-to-day activities
lolz - fun, laughter, or amusement
mwahahaha - (also muahahaha, muwahahaha, buahahaha) used to represent laughter, especially manic or cackling laughter such as that uttered by a villainous character in a cartoon or comic strip
photobomb - spoil a photograph of (a person or thing) by suddenly appearing in the camera’s field of view as the picture is taken, typically as a prank or practical joke
tweeps - a person’s followers on the social networking site Twitter
UX - short for user experience
video chat - a face-to-face conversation held over the Internet by means of webcams and dedicated software
Wikipedian - a person who contributes to the collaboratively written online encyclopedia Wikipedia, especially on a regular basis
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