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OMG ❤ goes into the OED. Tragic. LOL!

Fri 2011-Mar-25 @ +08 14:35:50 pm

Graphic designers and typographers, rejoice. Milton Glaser’s “INY” sets a first in the English language

Graphic designer Milton Glaser’s rebus of “I NY” in 1977 for New York State tourism, which gave rise to variations in posters and bumper stickers, has won recognition in the English language because of frequent Internet usage.

The online Oxford English Dictionary has added ♥ “heart” as a verb in its March update of new words to be added to the dictionary’s corpus.

[It] may be the first English usage to develop via the medium of T-shirts and bumper-stickers. It originated as a humorous reference to logos featuring a picture of a heart as a symbol for the verb love, like that of the famous ‘I ♥ NY’ tourism campaign. Our earliest quote for this use, from 1984, uses the verb in ‘I heart my dog’s head’, a jokey play on bumper stickers… From these beginnings, heart v. has gone on to live an existence in more traditional genres of literature as a colloquial synonym for ‘to love’ [» Online OED]

Other abbreviations

OMG (Oh-my-god or Oh-my-goodness) as an exclamation; LOL (laughing out loud) WAG or wag for wives and girlfriends of English football players (blame it on Victoria Beckham and Colleen Rooney).

The OED says though many new terms are associated with online usage and young people, OMG is from a personal letter from 1917; the letters LOL had a previous life, starting in 1960, denoting an elderly woman (or ‘little old lady’) and the entry for FYI (for your infomation) for example, shows it originated in the language of memoranda in 1941.

For the lumpenintenlligentsia

Slang and colloquial terms include

  • tragic, from Australian English, meaning a ‘boring or socially inept person, esp. one with an obsessive interest or hobby’;
  • cream-crackered (rhyming slang for ‘knackered’, that is exhausted);
  • smack talk (boastful or insulting banter);
  • fnarr fnarr (a representation of a lecherous snigger popularized in the comic magazine Viz and used to denote crude sexual innuendo);
  • pap, shortening of paparazzo; dot-bomb n. (a failed internet company);
  • couch surfing (the practice of spending the night on other people’s couches in lieu of permanent housing);
  • dotted-line (an indirect reporting relationship);
  • the faux-German lumpenintelligentsia;
  • fabless (not “someone who is insufficiently fabulous” the OED drily notes — but why not, it should — not from fab or fabulous, but from fabrication in the electronics industry, and describes a technology company which does not do its own manufacturing;
  • la-la land either to Los Angeles or to a state of being out of touch with reality — and sometimes to both simultaneously;
  • bogus caller, happy camper, dot-bomb (a failed internet company);
One Comment


  1. Oxford English Dictionary | Aquarian Publishing

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