Call Me Stormy

Finding righteous currents in turbulent times

The Web’s Pig Latin

Contrary to what you might assume, “OMG,” the fallback euphemism favored by teenage girls to punctuate their every exclamation, wasn’t coined anywhere near the San Fernando Valley. The first recorded use of the acronym came in a 1917 letter written to British Prime Minister Winston Churchill by a retired admiral, John Arbuthnot “Jacky” Fisher, 1st Baron Fisher of Kilverstone. The 75-year-old sailor employed the shorthand, but then also thankfully offered a precise explanation of what he meant, when he wrote: “I hear that a new order of Knighthood is on the tapis — O.M.G. (Oh! My God!) — Shower it on the Admiralty!”

Wonder if Fisher would be pleased by how his catch-phrase has entered the vernacular, or whether he rolls over in his grave each time Paris Hilton chokes over the expression?  Whatever, OMG has now been canonized, as the term officially gained acceptance into the Oxford English Dictionary in 2011. And, lo and behold, it had barely achieved respectability when meme magicians began to bowdlerize it again, transforming it into “Ermahgerd.”

Internet scientist Forest returns to the lab, with his lovely assistants Alison and Sarah, to trace this tectonic shift of great import to linguists everywhere. H/T Know Your Meme

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