OMG! Text shorthand makes the dictionary

Texters rejoice! Your language gets some cred in the Oxford English Dictionary

Texting has come a long way.

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

OMG and LOL -- which, of course, are shorthand for "oh my god" and "laughing out loud," respectively -- both made the March additions to the dictionary. And while almost everyone who texts or uses instant messaging makes use of those two abbreviations, the dictionary also added the possibly lesser-known IMHO (in my humble opinion), TMI (too much information) and BFF (best friends forever) to its catalog of "words."

"Of course ... initialisms are quicker to type than the full forms, and in the case of text messages or Twitter ... 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."

And tech-related words in general 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 -- as a verb, not as a noun -- was the top word of the past decade.

And late in 2009, the New Oxford American Dictionary announced that unfriend -- which, of course, means 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, a crisp-fried Tex-Mex snack, and California roll, a type of sushi.

For those who eat too many taquitos or California rolls, the dictionary added 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

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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