5 Internet Words That Have Entered Mainstream American Lexicon

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As the Internet has grown up—and those using it have grown up with it—certain terminology has become so prevalent that people actually have defined or redefined technology terms into the mainstream American culture. In other cases, existing words have gained new meanings that rose out of Internet culture. Certainly the Internet isn’t done affecting the way humans communicate, but five key terms are already a part of mainstream American lexicon.

5 Google

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“Google” has become a verb used by people to mean “perform a Web search” regardless of whether they’re actually using the Google search engine. For example, the phrase “here, let me Google that for you” refers sardonically to someone asking a question—especially in a text chat where you could just as easily be typing the question into a Google search box—that’s easily answerable via a simple Google search. Competing search engines such as Bing and Yahoo Search probably aren’t terribly happy about the fact, but you don’t “Bing” or “Yahoo” something—you “Google” it. Google itself isn’t terribly happy, either, as generic usage of a company name can dilute and eventually nullify a trademark.

4 Tweet

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Twitter has a lexicon all its own, but “tweet” is by far the most popular term from the service that is instantly recognizable by many people. If someone says to you “I tweeted X” you know they’re not talking about making bird noises, they’re talking about posting on Twitter.

3 OMG

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“OMG” is an acronym for “Oh, my God” that conveys a sense of near disbelief of the magnitude of some concept. For example, “OMG SO CUTE SQUEEEEE” would likely accompany a photo of a cute cat or dog on Facebook or another social network. “OMG” has spawned offshoot terms, namely “zOMG,” which essentially means the same thing as “OMG” with a leading “z” for that extra dramatic flair.

2 Surf

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“Surfing” used to mean getting on a surfboard and cruising the waves, and then it started being used to describe “channel surfing;” librarian Jean Polly claims she was the first to use “surf the Web” in an article in 1992. Strangely, we surf the Internet on Web browsers instead of “surfboards,” but the overall concept of “surfing in cyberspace” just conjures positive visuals to mind and reinforces the term.

1 LOL

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Originally an acronym for “laughing out loud,” LOL has gotten to the point that people actually say “I lol’d” or “El Oh El.” The term has even sprung offshoots such as “lulz,” which means “laughs” as in “I did it for the lulz.” And in 2012 there was a movie released named “LOL.”

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