OMG! Text Shorthand Makes the Dictionary

Texting has come a long way.

The Oxford English Dictionary has added some new words -- and shorthands or initialisms -- to its esteemed dictionary. And the tech world was well-represented.

OMG, which represents "oh my God," and LOL, which means laughing out loud, both made the March additions to the dictionary. And while most everyone who texts or uses instant messaging makes use of these two shorthands, the dictionary also added IMHO (in my humble opinion), TMI (too much information), and BFF (best friends forever) to its catalog of words.

"Of course in such a context initialisms are quicker to type than the full forms, and, in the case of text messages, or Twitter, for example, they help to say more in media where there is a limit to a number of characters one may use in a single message," the dictionary noted in an online statement. "OMG and LOL are found outside of electronic contexts, however; in print, and even in spoken use."

Tech-related words are becoming more mainstream.

Early last year, the American Dialect Society, an association that studies the English language announced that "tweet" was the top word of 2009, and "Google" -- the verb, not the noun - was the top word of the past decade.

Late in 2009, the New Oxford American Dictionary announced that "unfriend" -- a word meaning to remove someone from a list of friends on a social network like Facebook -- was its 2009 Word of the Year.

Other words that the Oxford English Dictionary added this month, include "taquito," is a crisp-fried Tex-Mex snack, along with "California roll," a type of sushi.

For those who eat too many taquitos or California rolls, the dictionary added the term "muffin top," which could refer to the actual top of a muffin, or to a protuberance of love handles hanging over the top of one's pants.

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed . Her e-mail address is sgaudin@computerworld.com .

Read more about web 2.0 and web apps in Computerworld's Web 2.0 and Web Apps Topic Center.

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