Every now and then, you read in an op-ed or an academic study that text speak is ruining language. According to some, the Internet has made the use of three letter acronyms and silly abbreviations ubiquitous and thus will slowly erode the precious vocabulary of the equally precious Millennial generation.
But fear not Millennials, Winston Churchill and Lord John Fisher are on your side! It turns out that in 1917, British admiral John Fisher sent a letter to the Honorable Winston Churchill containing the first use of “OMG” as short form for Oh My God. Fisher expressed his desire for a “new order of Knighthood” to be showered “on the Admiralty” with the phrase “O.M.G.” Fisher also perceptively explained the acronym with the parenthetical, “Oh! My God!” Of course it would take well over eighty years for “OMG” to catch on in the popular lexicon, but it’s nice to know that Fisher and Churchill were as progressive as we are in their use of language.
Hopefully, this will be the first in a series of historical validation of text speak. Maybe Amelia Earhart sent a telegram to a friend saying “BRB” before she took to the skies. Maybe Teddy Roosevelt told a friend of his he will “TTYL” before going on a hunt. Or maybe, just maybe, George Washington expressed his frustration with the Redcoats in a letter with “SMDH.” One can only hope.