language

'NSFW,' 'ZOMG,' and 'Twittersphere' added to dictionary

June 3, 2011 at 11:29 AM ET

The Oxford Dictionaries Online, one of the authorities on the English language, has once again taken steps to acknowledge how our obsession with the Internet is gradually altering our vocabularies — by adding things such as "NSFW," "ZOMG," "newb," and "Twittersphere" to its virtual pages.

The folks behind these additions explain that the "world of computers and social networking continues to be a major influence on the English language" and so continual edits of reference texts are necessary.

There is quite a range of words including several initialisms — abbreviations consisting of the initial letters of expressions — in this month's batch, but we've gone ahead and collected our favorite tech-themed additions:

  • breadcrumb trail - (on a website) a series of hyperlinks displayed at the top of a web page, indicating the page's position in the overall structure of the site
  • Cyber Monday - (in the US) the Monday following Thanksgiving, promoted by online retailers as a day for exceptional bargains
  • infographic - a visual image such as a chart or diagram used to represent information or data: a good infographic is worth a thousand words
  • insidery - proceeding from or reflecting an insider's knowledge or perspective: an insidery website that is widely read in the capital's political precincts insidery jargon
  • lappy - a laptop: I'm going to transfer my CD collection to the lappy
  • lifehack - a strategy or technique adopted in order to manage one's time and daily activities in a more efficient way

  • meep - a short, high-pitched sound, especially as emitted by an animal or a vehicle's horn: the kitten released a terrified meep
  • nekkid- (of a person) naked: some of the oldest photos in existence are of nekkid women

  • network neutrality - the principle that Internet service providers should enable access to all content and applications regardless of the source, and without favoring or blocking particular products or websites
  • newb - short for newbie it's easy enough for total newbs to pick up and play
  • NSFW - not safe (or suitable) for work (used in electronic communication to indicate that a particular web page or website contains explicit sexual material or other adult content): if your friend just sent you something with NSFW in the subject line, don't go there

  • paperless - relating to or involving the storage or communication of information in electronic form, rather than on paper: several of the utilities companies have switched to paperless billing

  • permalink - a permanent static hyperlink to a particular web page or entry in a blog

  • Twittersphere - postings made on the social networking site Twitter, considered collectively: the Twittersphere was abuzz when the story first broke
  • unfollow - stop tracking (a person, group, or organization) on a social networking site: never unfollow someone just because they unfollowed you!
  • ZOMG - (used especially on electronic message boards as a sarcastic comment on an inexperienced or overenthusiastic poster) oh my God!: ZOMG! ! I finally managed to reformat the file; the airport was hot and big, but there was really nothing that made me stop and think ZOMG FOREIGN COUNTRY!

These words are joining prior additions such as "♥," "OMG," "LOL," "tbh," "sexting," "buttload," and "nom nom."

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Rosa Golijan writes about tech here and there. She's obsessed with Twitter and loves to be liked on Facebook.

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