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Trendspotter: Abbreviations

BY DI ARTS STAFF | OCTOBER 02, 2009 7:20 AM

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At first it was amusing. “FML,” similar to every overused pop-culture catch phrase, began as a fairly playful, entertaining concept. But alas, FML is now riding aboard the mind-numbing abbreviation bandwagon.

FML descended down this slippery slope when people started using it in situations not warranting an F at all. Consider, for example, the following Facebook status: “My mom made meatloaf for dinner. FML.” Oh, yes, Facebook pal, that sounds terrible. You should be happy your mother puts dinner on the table for you. That is a luxury a lot of people don’t have.

Don’t get me wrong — we’re all allowed to complain about poor luck. If your cable goes out on “American Idol” night, I’d encourage you to use an FMD — that is, F my day. If your computer crashes during midterms, throw down an FMW (F my week). If you happen to shave off one of your eyebrows in an over-zealous grooming session, I’ll grant you an F My Next Two to Four Months. But F my life seems entirely too dramatic. The only time you should be allowed to justify an FML is if, say, you were wrongly convicted of a crime and sentenced to a life in prison. Now that is an FML we can all agree upon.

Last night, my friend texted me: “My boyfriend is making me watch Transformers tonight, FML.” Well friend, be happy you’re not home alone watching reruns of “Gilmore Girls” and listening to your neighbors enjoy a Britney Spears dance party. How about F my life, OK?

FML is one culprit in an all-out abbreviation invasion. There are innocent ones that hark from middle school AOL IMing years (i.e. TTYL, BRB, G2G, LOL, OMG) and then there is this strange subcategory, tainted by the likes of Paris Hilton and Khloe Kardashian. TTYLater is now TTYNever, LOL is LMFAO, and OMG is OMFG.

One feels pressured in conversation to make up abbreviations just to fit in. With this desperate effort, it’s easy to lose track of what abbreviations mean in the first place. OMFG, for example, may stand for a number of things: Oprah May Fart Gold or Outed My Fairy Godfather, just for starters.

Then there are nonsensical, confusing hybrid-words that turn out being longer in letter count than the original — “hawt” for “hot,” “lovessss” for “loves,” and “awk-city” for “awkward.” These are “words” that deserve to be excommunicated from language entirely. They make FML seem dictionary-worthy. Well, let’s not go that far.

FYI, I am going somewhere with all this babbling. My conclusion is simple: Some abbreviations are useful, yes, but just because you can find ways to abbreviate everything doesn’t mean you should.

— by Dee Fabbricatore


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