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More Net-speak enters Oxford English Dictionary

But will have to wait 10 years to go offline

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More language from Internet culture is to enter the Oxford English Dictionary - but only on its online version because a new printed version is not due for another 10 years.

A whole raft of new words are going in from modern culture, but the IT and Net-based ones include: .com, FAQ, HTTP, HTML, homepage, information superhighway, MP3, search engine, spam, smiley face, smail mail, WAP and Y2K.

Now hang on here a minute. We did the same story in August last year - new OED words. You're not telling us that HTML wasn't in there before. Well, looking back, no it wasn't.

Last time the words included e-commerce, cybersquatting, dot-com, e-tailer, WAP phones, webcam and - get this - XML.

So there we have it, XML gets in before HTML. E-tailer is there before homepage. Cybersquatting was going on before the information superhighway or search engines even existed (actually we like to think info superhighway was left out on taste considerations). WAP phones have now been reduced to plain old WAP. Not that we expect the word to survive much longer in anything but a Sinclair C5 context.

And so to non-IT words. Well, Homer Simpson exclamation Doh! is in there. "Mullet" - probably in deference to the mullet man that John Prescott thumped during the election campaign. "Docusoap" (ugh), "euro", "road rage" etc etc. It goes on.

If you wish to search the online OED though, you'll need to stump up £350 + VAT for a year's subscription. This seems a real shame to us. Why is the OED charging so much? At £350, it won't have many takers, but if it charged say £50, thousands upon thousands of people all over the world would take it up.

The OED may have incorporated Internet words but clearly it hasn't got its head round the Net's potential. ®

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