The Oxford English Dictionary has lowered the bar yet again.
The increasingly breezy bastion of the English language has added the Internet-and-texting-teen-friendly abbreviations "OMG," "LOL," "FYI" and the heart symbol (♥) to its once-prestigious, now porous pages.
Well, the book already has "IMHO," "TMI" and "BFF," so, uh, "WTFN"?
The "initialisms," as Oxford's editors call them, are "strongly associated with the language of electronic communications," and their usage "is usually to signal an informal, gossipy mode of expression, and perhaps 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."
"'Insider’ au fait"? IAF?
The Washington Post argues that the "OED" is "supposed to have dignity. It is supposed to enshrine the words that actually mean things." WTF, WaPo? Their meanings are pretty straightforward, IMHO.
Moreover, Oxford’s "research revealed some unexpected historical perspectives": the first "OMG" was used in a personal letter in 1917; "LOL" used to refer to "little old lady"; and "LOL" originated in memo form in 1941.
Another acronym added to the dictionary that teens may be unfamiliar with, but sports fans certainly are: "WAG" — short for "Wives and girlfriends."
"In 2002," Oxford explains, "the Sunday Telegraph reported that the staff at the England footballers’ pre-World Cup training camp referred to the players’ partners collectively as ‘Wags,’ from the initial letters of ‘wives and girlfriends.'"
The term "remained relatively dormant, except for a small and brief revival around the time of Euro 2004, before the 2006 World Cup in Germany saw an explosion of usage, as the women, including Victoria Beckham and Colleen McLoughlin (now Colleen Rooney), had a high profile of their own, and were a visible element (especially to the media) of the England team’s presence in their base, Baden-Baden. Debates raged in the newspapers about whether the women’s presence was ‘distracting’ the footballers, alongside an equal fascination with what they were buying and wearing."
Now, can I get a "WAG" FTW?