FYI, LOL, OMG! New Words Added to Oxford English Dictionary

Cover of "The Oxford English Dictionary (...
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The popular online terms FYI (for you information), LOL (laughing out loud), OMG (oh my god) have all entered the Oxford English Dictionary in the March 2011 update. The first symbol in the dictionary was also added: ♥. The heart symbol is most popular in the advertising from New York in the I Love NY campaign.

Another acronym added was ‘wag’, referring to the wives and girlfriends of a group of professional football players. The term is ‘notable for the extremely fast journey from its introduction to the language to its use as usual English vocabulary.’ The word has been used in debates on whether the wives and girlfriends were distracting to the football players and in newspaper articles.

Many of the online acronyms had earlier lives in the English language, for example, LOL is also an American expression meaning ‘little old lady’ according the Oxford English Dictionary. In a 1960 book, Only in San Francisco, ‘A traffic officer bellowed at an LOL who didn’t seem to know which way to turn her car,’ Now that would seem a little odd to add to a text message!


26 thoughts on “FYI, LOL, OMG! New Words Added to Oxford English Dictionary

  1. I heart that the heart was added to the dictionary. That’s too funny…

    I’m curious if BTW has made the cut yet? I’ll have to take a gander.

    Thanks for the update. We lovers of language (and symbols, apparently) are uber grateful! 😉

  2. I never thought I’d live to see the day that those acronyms would be widely accepted in such a way. This goes to show that expecting the unexpected in always a good strategy. No matter what you believe, you will be proven wrong eventually.
    Still, I can’t say I’m entirely surprised. With how often those acronyms are used nowadays, even by some of the older generations, something like this was bound to happen eventually.

  3. “Wag” seriously? I do use “FYI” frequently and because of that, my son picked it up as well. Pretty funny to hear a 2 year old say it. But then again he also says to me “Helllloo McFly”. Which, I think should be in that dictionary also…right? McFly: Silly, or to exert momentary dumbness.

  4. I think it shows a trend in society. Though, will this encourage these internet phrases to transend into every day speech? It makes me whince a little when I hear people say “OMG” and “LOL” in “real life”. Internernet acronyms confuse me, I think people just make them up. TFP (thanks for posting)!

  5. Geez, don’t these dictionary people think they can make better use of their time? Soon these abbreviations will be unhip and expire. I suppose they could always add to new editions.

  6. Now this makes me think, if this is about to ruin the english language. Soon the beautiful language is about to be only acronyms and in my opinion harder to read and understand. (of course am I only talking about the written language. but as I understand it the spoken language is shortening down to alot of slang and acronyms too. Whitch I find kinda sad!)

    – The Norwegian

  7. I prefer ‘laughing out loud’ to ‘little old lady’. We vertically disadvantaged, moderately mature women don’t want a distasteful acronym following us around!

  8. I can not believe these things have actually been added to the dictionary! I love the dictionary, but how often will we have to BUY a new one? I’m glad some will be in there, I don’t know all of the acronyms the kids & hipsters use on facebook, & I hate feeling dumb…

  9. Oh god. Kind of makes me wonder why they just can’t print out an Oxford English Dictionary for text messaging. I wonder if they have a new definitions for those words I really hate hearing. I remember the word “Sick” as just feeling ill but now it’s also a trendy word for cool or great. Wonder if “Epic Fail” is in there too. *Shutters*

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