Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Oh Em Gee, and other Acronyms

I was reading that the phrase OMG has been used before, despite teenagers perhaps thinking they invented it. Apparently a certain Lord Fisher, wrote it in a letter to Winston Churchill way back in 1917. I think the difference in 1917 was that although OMG may have been written, I'm pretty sure no one was walking around actually saying "Oh Em Gee".

Mind you, (she says, warming to the subject), given that telegraphs were a main form of communication until about fifty years ago, you'd have thought acronyms like LOL and BTW would have been fully integrated into our language by now. Alas not, and I know I'm not the only mother who thought her kids were saying "Lots of Love" instead of Laughing Out Loud for a while there. (BTW, by the way, is the acronym for, well, "by the way".)

Some acronyms I get from the teens are pretty easy to decipher if I read them out loud, but some are slightly more "sketch". (That's teen speak for "dodgy").

The answer to "When are you coming home", - ("IDK"), threw me at first. "What, he's at the Dairy Queen and he can't spell?" (It means "I don't know", which wasn't exactly a satisfactory answer anyway.) And although LMAO makes sense to me now (Laughing my A** Off), I always have to stop and figure out ROTFL (Rolling on the Floor Laughing).

Acronyms are nothing new though. I grew up writing quite a lot of them (but rarely saying them out loud; that would just be ridiculous, wouldn't it?)

TTFN - Ta ta for now
ASAP - as soon as possible
AKA - also known as
AWOL - absent without leave
PTO - please turn over
OTT - over the top
PS - post script
And, of course, my fave -
PBAB - please bring a bottle.

Quick US/UK point - the American version of PBAB is BYOB - Bring Your Own Bottle.

So it appears that us crusties have been ahead of the curve with our little acronyms all along. I'd like to think they're just not as crude. I mean WTF?


  1. Good post! And I didn't have to use tl;dr to describe it.

  2. Never thought about how ahead of the curve we were. Course we Kiwis always had the BYOB for centuries you can never have too many Bubs and Bobs and Babs

  3. Bring Your Own BOTTLE? Is that what they are calling it now. wow. Maybe I should move back!
    I never knew that there was a PBAB. Our household motto is BMANTM
    Bring more alcohol, never too much.
    In Michigan It was always bring YO beverage. Like more coke and wine and ice. not ever a BOTTLE! you must have some great friends!

  4. It figures the Brits would fit a "please" into an acronym (PBAB.) Love it!

  5. Detroit - In Chicago we have an online list of BYOB restaurants, which are usually those that are waiting for their liquor license. But sometimes BYOB can mean Bring Your Own Beer too!

    Melissa - I was going to say that!

    Kiwi - translation?

  6. What about SWALK?

    (sealed with a loving kiss)

    Yes - I am probably part of the last generation to send teenage love letters. I admit it.

  7. When in doubt, there's always FTW: 'for the win', for an old person like me, and 'eff the world ' for the non-old.

  8. In the dealing room, we had a whole code of acronyms used when doing/confirming trades (Reuters dealer, for those in the know):

    B = buy
    S = sell (yes, I know, I know, duh...)
    OLI = Old Lady intervening (Bank of England, sounds pervy, yes?)
    FEDIN = Fed Reserve in (the market)
    BFN = bye for now
    TTYL = talk to you later
    ITYD = is this your deal?
    DK = don't know
    YFU = you f*cked up
    OB = oh b*llocks

    I may have made some of those up. memory fades somewhat after a while.

    LCM x

  9. LCM - yes, I used to work for one of the Big 8 accounting firms (at the time) and the acronyms we had were ridiculous. IN fact, no one came up with anything unless it could be made into a perky little TLA. (Three letter acronym.)


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