Like, OMG: World War I Admiral Invented Favorite Tween Acronym
Think your text- and Web-crazy tween daughter and her oh-so-over-it friends invented English language travesties like LOL and OMG? Well, in the case of the latter, think again.
A Letters of Note tweet this week revealed a letter written in September of 1917 from WWI Admiral John Arbuthnot Fisher to the not-yet-British-prime-minister Winston Churchill. At one point in the letter, Fisher exclaims:
“I hear that a new order of Knighthood is on the tapis—O.M.G (Oh! My! God!)—Shower it on the Admiralty!!” (We thought the double exclamation points pretty modern/teenybopper-esque, too.)
This means that OMG will celebrate its 95th birthday in September, to which we say, LOL, HBD.
Other common Web acronyms actually invented by famous dead people (in our imaginations, that is):
- Little did you know, WTH originally stood for “whaling to Hell” and was used in the ending of the first draft of Melville’s Moby Dick.
- ROFL used to describe shepherds who were skiving off their sheep-watching duties and instead just lying down on the job: Rolling in Field, Lounging.
- In Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, Clarissa originally left a note to her boring husband before she went to London that simply said, “BRB, getting flowers.”
- And of course, like everything else we can’t actually figure out the origins of, we’re going to assume LOL comes from Shakespeare. Thou Laughest Out Loudeth. Or something.
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