The Oxford English Dictionary has added LOL, OMG, and FYI to its list of published initialisms. I kid you not. But listen to this. It gets crazy. The OED post about these new additions to our increasingly digitized lexicon reveals that “As such usage indicates, many people would consider these recent coinages, from the last 10 or 20 years, and associate them with a younger generation conversant with all forms of digital communications. As is often the case, OED’s research has revealed some unexpected historical  perspectives: our first quotation for 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’; see LOL n./1); and the entry for FYI [FYI phr., adj., and n.], for example, shows it originated in the language of memoranda in 1941.”

Read it all on the OED website.


One thought on “The OED LOLs.

  1. Mad hatters
    The OED misses a few. The event in 1986 that involved a tinfoil hat was Lilly Tomlin’s one woman Broadway show. She wore a tinfoil hat because it enabled her to talk with her friends in space. In one scene she had a small ‘cup’ of coffee whitener. He friends looked at the contents and said, “Why, that is what we are made of,”

    There is another tragic history, that of mad hatters. Mercury was used in treating cloth fibers to make hats. The workers were poisoned over time and went mad.

    The new entry for tinfoil hat n. recounts how the shiny chapeau began its life with only festive connotations. However, in 1986, just over a century after its first attestation as an innocent party favour, the tinfoil hat migrated to a more sinister milieu, popularly associated with conspiracy theories suggesting that such headwear could protect the wearer from mind control or surveillance. This association, in turn, led to the development of a depreciative attributive use, designating people regarded as paranoid or delusional, and to the adjectival compound tinfoil-hat-wearing, also included in this update.

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