The Oxford English Dictionary – New Words

This week, at least two new Texting 2.0 words have been added to the Oxford English Dictionary. OMG and LOL for sure, and I’ve also heard FYI and ROFL have been added, but these may be merely nasty rumors.

“FYI” is a corporate abbreviated expression, widely used among sayers of office-speak who inhabit fabric-lined cubicles, in emails and other corporate communication software, to indicate that, really, I don’t care if you know this or not, but am passing it on, just so someone else knows it and I am not the only one who will be responsible for knowing it while not doing anything about it. I am not entirely sure if this term has actually been added to the dictionary, but have read tweets to that effect.

I follow Roger Ebert, who is wise and witty and a wonderful writer, and he said ROFL has also been added, but does anyone really use that term anymore? Isn’t that the equivalent of saying “Aw, shucks”? ROFL was definitely a 90’s term. I can’t imagine that it would have been added, no self-respecting texter would use ROFL any longer. I think we have to take that one with a grain or two.

When I see OMG, I have visions of “tweens” as they expound on any number of events, which could be (a) exciting, (b) surprising, (c) horrifying, or (d) just really dumb. I confess to using it a couple of times, but it’s actually, pretty stupid. People who don’t swear have trouble with this one, and they always have to make sure you know that they would never say what OMG stands for, so they amend it to be OMGosh, which is, well, maybe it would have been a little better not to have gone there.

Which brings me to LOL. I don’t say this, I will never say this. (I am saying it here of course, but only as a means to dis it.) It is overused and meaningless. I don’t know why, but it makes me a little nuts when I see it.

In recent years, I joined a writers’ group. As a member of this group, I was invited to join the email chain, which I thought would be filled with wonderful, thought-provoking exchanges, good ideas, and feedback, and tidbits of writerly interest. But what I found was that the email chain became more personal than helpful, and people would send an email to the chain-members asking for prayers for the family dog, who was having surgery, or the neighbor, whose mother had been taken to the hospital for observation, or the husband, who had gastric distress. Yes, alas, the email chain lost it’s reason for being, became a repository for idle gossip, and whenever someone shared a funny story, inevitably, at least one recipient would reply with the lone “LOL”.

Really? Think of all the jammed up cyberspace traffic and you’ve just added to it by sending these meaningless three characters to all the people on the email chain. And think of the frustration of people, who have to see it and hit the delete key (yet again) because some people insist on cluttering up inboxes in such a manner. The moral of this story is, they forgot why they were a group in the first place. What started out as a writers’ group ended up as a repository for trading stories about funny pet tricks. And what is the logical response to that? LOL, of course.

And really, it’s a bunch of writers. I would think they would be able to come up with something more original than that.

2 thoughts on “The Oxford English Dictionary – New Words

  1. Okay, I’m blanking on ROFL – must have never used it because I can’t ‘break the code’!! I’ve seen LOL used to mean “lots of love”, too, so I usually have to re-read the text to figure out which one they mean – even then, it could go either way, sometimes! Love this post – nice job!

  2. ROFL – Rolling on the floor laughing. I confess, never heard of LOL being used for Lots of Love. Don’t know what I think about it. I guess I’ll avoid that too. Thanks for the comment, I can always count on you, Sue!

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