Feeds

It's official: 'tweet' an English word – not just in the avian sense

If the Oxford English Dictionary says it is so, then it is so

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications

Proving either – or both – that the English language is a living organism in constant flux and evolution, or that the authoritative Oxford English Dictionary is cheapening itself with a premature bow to cultural pressure, the word "tweet" in its social-media sense has been added to that sacred paragon of lexicography.

This momentous news – and the definitive decision that the term has been reduced to the mass market status of lowercase orthography for both noun and verb – was released in a "Quiet announcement" by the dictionary's chief editor, John Simpson, as a footnote to "A heads up for the June 2013 OED release":

Announcement by OED chief editor John Simpson that 'tweet' has been accepted into the world's most influential English dictionary

Rules are made to be broken, even in as august a reference work as the OED

As a verb, both intransitive and transitive, the OED lists the first usage of tweet as being in 2007. The intransitive example provided is from the "Weblog" NevOn, and reads "Not much chance to tweet on Twitter, especially since it seems that SMS posting from my mobile phone doesn't work;" the transitive first usage is from a Google Groups posting, "My Wife has Twitter Acct.", reading "The folks on my friends list are tweeting me all kinds of advice for her in almost real time."

NevOn is also listed as the first example of the use of tweet as a noun. However, with the word being at the beginning of a sentence, it's unknown whether the writer would have capitalized it had it been in mid-sentence: "I think it's got legs. It's just beginning to gain traction. Tweets show up in Google searches. Technorati will rank your Twitter profile." All following examples of "tweet" as a noun in the OED's listing have it in all lowercase.

The OED definitions are suitably prosaic:

tweet, v.
2 a. intr. To make a posting on the social networking service Twitter. Also: to use Twitter regularly or habitually.
2 b. tran. To post (a message, item of information, etc.) on Twitter. Also: to post a message to (a particular person, organization, etc.).

tweet, int. and n.
2. A posting made on the social networking service Twitter.

And so our language grows – whether or not the admission of "tweet" into the OED leads the Queen's English into areas you may wish it to grow.

And speaking of language growth, Simpson's "heads up" also includes the news that a number of other tech terms have made it into the OED, namely big data, crowdsourcing, e-reader, mouseover, redirect (the noun), and stream (the verb). One of those terms also gained admission before its 10-year currency requirement had been fulfilled.

We'll leave it up to you as a weekend puzzler to guess which one. ®

Using blade systems to cut costs and sharpen efficiencies

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Nadella: Apps must run on ALL WINDOWS – PCs, slabs and mobes
Phone egg, meet desktop chicken - your mother
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
White? Male? You work in tech? Let us guess ... Twitter? We KNEW it!
Grim diversity numbers dumped alongside Facebook earnings
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.