language

''OMG,' and 'LOL' added to the dictionary

March 24, 2011 at 2:00 PM ET

It's difficult to avoid letting things such as ♥, OMG, and LOL slip into our text messages and emails, but at least we can now excuse that by pointing out that those are in fact terms acknowledged by the authorities of the English language.

In the latest update of the Oxford Dictionaries Online, there are a whole new batch of silly words and definitions including several initialisms — abbreviations consisting of the initial letters of expressions — made popular through their frequent use in text messages, tweets, or emails.

The experts at Oxford Dictionaries Online explain that the initialisms added to the dictionary are "noteworthy" and even happen to be "found outside of electronic contexts" at times, and we believe them. After all, how could these language authorities not add initialisms and words like this to the dictionary without a good reason:

  • couch surfing
  • ego-surfing
  • hentai
  • la-la land
  • LOL
  • meep
  • muffin top
  • OMG
  • party-crashing
  • wassup

Our favorite thing in this entire update though? A tweak to the definition of 'heart':

♥ to heart

The new sense added to heart v. in this update may be the first English usage to develop via the medium of T-shirts and bumper-stickers. It originated as a humorous reference to logos featuring a picture of a heart as a symbol for the verb love, like that of the famous ‘I ♥ NY’ tourism campaign. Our earliest quote for this use, from 1984, uses the verb in ‘I heart my dog’s head’, a jokey play on bumper stickers featuring a heart and a picture of the face of a particular breed of dog (expressing a person’s enthusiasm for, say, shih-tzus) which itself became a popular bumper sticker.  From these beginnings, heart v. has gone on to live an existence in more traditional genres of literature as a colloquial synonym for ‘to love’.

Yes, that's 'wassup' with this month's modifications of the Oxford Dictionaries Online. Let's hope that next month brings us definitions for more initialisms such as OMGWTF, ROFL, LMAO, and KIT.

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Rosa Golijan writes about tech here and there. She's a bit obsessed with Twitter, loves to be liked on Facebook, and is going ego-surfing after she finishes this post.

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