The Oxford English Dictionary has completed its latest quarterly online update, with revisions to over 30% of the existing words and a number of new ones added into the mix.

Aside from the fact of its Internet presence, which is already 10 years old, the OED has planted both feet firmly in the 21st century. New words, phrases and initialisms include: couch surfing, la-la land, smack talk, heteronormativity, muffin top, banh mi, OMG, LOL, and—not a word last time I looked, but we live in an age of hypersonic semiotics, so why not?—♥, as in to “heart” something. I don’t know why they didn’t just put in nom, a perfectly cromulent onomatopoeia, while they were at it, but I’m not in charge. The full list is here.

The revised words span from roto- to the end of the R words. Hence languagehat’s post on the subject, the title of which had me scared for a minute. But no, thankfully, txtspk hasn’t made it into the dictionary of record yet. If the use of “r” for “are” and “u” for “you”—fingernails on chalkboard to me, I can’t help it—ever make it into the OED, I’m moving to Canada. Or Amsterdam. Just see if I don’t.

(Above image is a sculpture by Michael Mandiberg / Eyebeam Art + Technology Center Open Studios: Fall 2009.)


2 Comments to The OED, OMG

  1. Miriam's Gravatar Miriam
    March 28, 2011 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    Our university library just canceled their subscription to the OED, and I’m still in mourning.

  2. March 29, 2011 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    When you look at the works of our best writers they are all full of various words and expressions made up at the time and these words later became the symbols of these popular works which now belong to the literary treasure of Great Britain. So there’s no need to stop this development of our vocabulary.

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