Here’s something to ‘tweet’ about
The Oxford English Dictionary breaks the rules to add a new word in.
June 19, 2013 9:17 by Muhammad Aldalou
For all the talk of how technology and social media continues to change our lives, our jobs and, perhaps most prominently, our behaviour – it’s how we speak that’s really been influenced. And nothing reaffirms that notion more than having the word ‘tweet’ officially added to the Oxford English Dictionary.
With more than 500 million members around the world – and, if you’re a regular user, you’d know how active they are – it’s safe to assume that Twitter seems to be catching on.
That’s exactly what John Simpson, chief editor and lexicographer of OED, thought when it was decided that the word ‘tweet’, referring to posts on the social networking site, would be both worthy and ‘current’ enough to become an official word.
The addition was marked as a ‘quiet announcement’ on the dictionary’s June 2013 update – and Kipp reckons it might be best to keep it that way – because, what you might not know is that, in spite of this being fantastic news for Twitter, it’s also slightly unethical.
“This breaks at least one OED rule, namely that a new word needs to be current for 10 years before consideration for inclusion,” admits 59-year-old Simpson. “But it seems to be catching on.”
In the dictionary, ‘tweet’ was as defined as simply: “To make a posting on the social networking service Twitter. Also: to use Twitter regularly or habitually”. In 2011, the OED recognized the acronyms ‘LOL’ (laugh out loud) and ‘OMG’ (oh my god) – which were both being frequently used online and in SMS messages.
Obviously, the word ‘tweet’ isn’t new but, at least until 2007, it referred merely to the chirp of a small or young bird.
Oh, remember the days. . .