The letter R, that is; read all about it at the latest update. I particularly call to your attention the section on “New initialisms in the OED”; they’ve added “a number of noteworthy initialisms—abbreviations consisting of the initial letters of a name or expression. Some of these—such as OMG […] and LOL […] are strongly associated with the language of electronic communications….” Remarkably, they’ve found a citation of “OMG” from 1917; you can read about it and its context here. And you can see “some videos that shed light into the revision process” at this post on the OED blog.


  1. Puts me inescapably in mind of Everard Raven.

  2. The teenage otaku inside me is gleeful with the addition of “h⁠entai”.
    (and also with how I had to add an invisible space to the word to get through “questionable content” comment filter :3 )

  3. How do you add an invisible space?

  4. “How do you add an invisible space?” With a silent curse.

  5. It’s the Unicode character “zero-width no-break space” (U+FEFF) (alternatively, “word joiner” U+2060). If you’re under Windows, use Alt+FEFF to write it (says Google).
    On Linux, I add lines like these to my ~/.XCompose file (notice the capitalization in the file name). Then I can input a word joiner by typing e.g. the sequence Compose, w, j (no commas).

  6. Everard Raven
    Yes! The doggy letter.

  7. The OMG is a nice find, but hardly “brilliant sleuthing” as it’s on Google Books. How easy research is today.

  8. Thank you, Leonardo.

  9. Whenever a quarterly OED update comes online, I always compulsively check to see whether “floorball” is included. It never is, even though I’ve pointed it out to the editors. It yields 12.4 million Google hits, but the sport is almost unknown in the English-speaking countries, so it’s an interesting example of a word invented and primarily used by non-native speakers. (I understand that editing the OED is a mammoth task, so I may be in for a bit of a wait. Still, if “eggcorn” could make it…)

  10. Permanent links, divided into two pages: John Simpson’s comments on revisions and new initialisms and other new words.

    When individual entries are linked from the public blogs, they are (generally) opened to the public and (sometimes) remain open indefinitely. The links in the post above to OMG and LOL are still open and should work for anyone, even without a subscription. (At least, they work for me on a tablet that isn’t logged in. Anyone else want to try it and report back?) The most recent updates (December 2021) include major entries light and dark, which are currently open.

    My favorite part of John Simpson’s revision notes was his comment on rude: It had a lot of meanings already by the end of the Middle English period — “without reason, harsh, violent, primitive, inexpert, unrefined, raw, makeshift, inexact, and impolite” — because these meanings had already developed in French, and they were borrowed “in a shower”. The full OED entry on rude, adj. and adv. now lists over a dozen different senses in Anglo-Norman and Latin with their dates, where the old entry just had a bare “a. OF. ruide, rude (F. rude), or ad. L. rudis”. This is the payoff of a century’s work on documenting Anglo-Norman, and it shows how bilingualism affected the language: the literate classes used French so much that they were familiar with many different senses of rude. Another one for the list of most-improved etymologies!

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