If you had told someone 15 years ago you were taking a job as a writer at a website, that person would have probably fretted about your mental health. Now, it’s second nature to hear that sort of thing, because so much of our work and personal lives have shifted to the Web.
Perhaps the most telling sign is how deeply our online interactions have seeped into the popular lexicon. Abbreviations such as LOL and OMG haven’t just become common parlance in written communication. It’s altogether normal to hear these abbreviations—ostensibly created to save time on typing—spoken aloud.
But the Internet’s effect on language isn’t simply limited to shortening things. In at least these eight cases, it has changed the meanings of words that were around long before IMs, message boards and emails even existed.