WTF! Social Media Propels Oxford Dictionary To Accept OMG, LOL and More

By Kenna McHugh Comment

Instant Messaging clients like Messenger and ICQ once made terms like WTF and LOL mainstream, as they were used in person-to-person chats, but it can be said that the rise of social media has meant that these terms now live in the public domain, and are becoming ubiquitous in today’s culture. Oxford Dictionary agrees, as they’ve added a whole slew of WTF words to the library.

With approximately 600,000 words, the Oxford English Dictionary is the longest official dictionary; as stated by The Guinness Book of World Records.

The committed empire of words now includes ♥ and LOL as real words worthy of etymological recording. Even other words such as OMG are included, citing that they “are strongly associated with the language of electronic communications,” and have entered the mainstream because of how easy they are to use. OMG! That is so true!

We use them because they are faster to type whether we are texting or tweeting. Huffington Post reports these little jewels are called “initialisms” to “help to say more in media where there is a limit to a number of characters one may use in a single message.”

According to the Oxford Dictionary, the rise of these helpful acronyms has influenced other media as well. I distinctly remember a scene in It’s Complicated that has Alec Baldwin saying to Meryl Streep “OMG, I thought he’d never leave.”

The dictionary states that “in print, and even in spoken use there often seems to be a bit more than simple abbreviation going on.”

I just love Oxford’s descriptions: “informal, gossipy mode of expression” or in other cases the term is meant to “parody the level of unreflective enthusiasm or overstatement that can sometimes appear in online discourse, while at the same time marking oneself as an ‘insider’ au fait with the forms of expression associated with the latest technology.”

As an avid Scrabble player, I can happily say these little electronic jewels are official words in the dictionary. LOL!