OMG, FYI and LOL make it into Oxford English Dictionary

25 Mar 2011

‘Initialisms’ used by writers of emails, text messages and instant messages – specifically, OMG, FYI and LOL – have made it into the new online edition of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) to be released at the end of the month.

OED calls these abbreviations “initialisms”, because they are made up of the initials of the expression.

The entries of the short forms of ‘oh my God’, ‘for your information’ and ‘laugh out loud’ signify the dictionary’s acknowledgement of the internet’s influence on our daily lives.

Another new entry includes the heart symbol – not the <3 emoticon, the actual ♥ graphic.

OMG, LOL and FYI join IMHO (in my humble opinion) and BFF (best friends forever) among the web-influenced entries in the authoritative text on the English language.

To wit, the entry for OMG, the Guardian reports, will read, “OMG int. (and n.) and adj.: ‘Oh my God’ (or sometimes ‘gosh’, ‘goodness’, etc.)”. LOL is defined as “LOL int. and n./2: ‘laughing out loud’.”

Some of the initialisms have a history, however, and have not spawned from 21st-century tech talk. OMG, the OED discovered, was first used in a personal letter in 1917. People in the 1960s used LOL, but back then it meant ‘little old lady’.

It may all be enough to make one ROFL.