The 10 best words the internet has given English

Fascinating article here on the linguistic contributions that the internet has given the English language. We now use all of these every day, I’ve even seen some of them migrating from webspeak into real life. Geek has always been in common use hasn’t it?

My favourite is Scunthorpe problems. For anybody who has ever been on an online dating site, Plenty of Fish has a pretty common one. “I like wine bars and wouldn’t say no to the occasional ****ail!” The word being deleted is, of course, cocktail.

Though not a language purist, I’m always fascinated by how it evolves, how word use changes and adapts. For example, until about ten years ago “text” was not a verb so every time you said something like “I text him earlier on” you were usually a gramatically incorrect sentence. Then due to common use it was adjusted.

My favourite tongue-in-cheek example I once heard on the radio.:

I hate how the word gay has been hijacked. Today it is being used to mean that something is a little bit crap. When I was a kid it used to mean homosexual.

We can laugh at the irony of this but it is indicative of how quickly language changes. Three meanings for the word “gay”
1. Happy/cheery and carefree
2. Homosexual
3. Rubbish/A disappointment

My personal favourite new words are blog and vlog, though people discuss their blogs rather than their vlogs, it seems to have moved into common usage – mostly because everyone has one!

Can you think of any more?

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4 thoughts on “The 10 best words the internet has given English

  1. “I googled it last night.” or “Just google it.”

    We regularly say things like that at work – and I’m taking about over 50 year-old geologists!

    1. I wonder if in years to come “Google” will mean any type of search such as

      I’ve mislaid my mobile phone somewhere. I’m off for a google

      That would be weird but interesting!

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