Thursday, June 07, 2012


I'm LQTM not LOLOkay, so, this is probably picky, but ... BCD, CWOT, TWITA, EBCAK, and LQTM are not really "Internet slang" - heck, they don't even stand for "slang", with the vaguely possible exception of EBCAK - error between chair and keyboard. They're simply initialisms. (In fact, I'm not sure the guy who figured out that QTM was this sort of "laughing" (quietly to myself) had ever seen it before.)

Slang is something like pwnd or rick-roll or copypasta or even teal deer - actual words. Not just the initials of easily comprehensible phrases.

(The others are Behind Closed Doors, Complete Waste of Time, and That's What I'm Talking About)

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At 8:42 PM, June 07, 2012 Anonymous Kathie had this to say...

Bearing in mind that we're old and tragically un-hip -- we'd never heard of any of them either, even though I follow the weekly chats of WaPo web hostess Monica "Cupcake" Hesse faithfully.

At 9:14 PM, June 07, 2012 Blogger The Ridger, FCD had this to say...

I'm not saying they're common or that people have or should have heard them before - I'm saying they're not "slang". They're just initialisms, and of phrases that were mostly fairly easy to guess with the hints built into the clue.

"Behind closed doors" is not slang. "Laughing quietly to myself" is not slang. "This is a complete waste of time" is not slang.

It's the label, not the arcaneness, I'm quarreling with.

At 11:52 PM, June 07, 2012 Anonymous Kathie. had this to say...

Agree on both the label and the arcaneness. Guess it's hard for "Jeopardy!" clue-writers to invent new categories.

At 5:28 AM, June 08, 2012 Anonymous The Ridger, FCD had this to say...

They could have just called Internet Initialisms or something!

At 1:44 PM, June 10, 2012 Anonymous Kathie had this to say...

Ridger, you may have missed your true calling in life ;-)

At 10:20 AM, June 17, 2012 Blogger Barry Leiba had this to say...

Well, I'm not so sure. I would say that "snafu" and "fubar" are slang. Would you not? Certainly, by what you're saying here, they aren't. There are folk etymologies for "posh" that claim it as an acronym, though those are probably bogus.

The government came up with "POSSLQ" for the 1980 census, and it became a word for a while (too bad it was just a nonce word and didn't stick), pronounced "poss'l-kew". I'd certainly say that was slang at the time.

Anyway, once we accept that something that started out as an abbreviation of some kind can at some point become a word, fully fledged or slang, isn't it just a matter of deciding when that's happened? Why should we say that intentionally misspelled words, such as "teh" and "roxx" are slang, but "LOL" and "BFF" aren't, just because they're the initials of something?

Besides, if, as I gather from the tags, it was a Jeopardy! clue that called these slang, well... 'nuff said there.


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