Mark Brown at Wired reports:
The Oxford English Dictionary has announced the latest batch of words and phrases deemed worthy of etymological conservation. From the encyclopedia’s just-released 2011 edition, you’ll see cream crackered, wag and tinfoil hat, as well as internet-era initialisms like LOL and OMG.
“They help to say more in media where there is a limit to a number of characters one may use in a single message,” says principal editor Graeme Diamond on the dictionary’s website. With the rise of concise text messages and 140-character tweets, sometimes less is more. But there’s more to OMG and LOL than just textbox frugality, though, explains Diamond.
“The intention 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.”