Oxford American Dictionary Adds Webspeak Terms

BFF, LMAO, and TTYL are just a few of the internet/text messaging generation inspired terms recently added to the Oxford American Dictionary. While this is not the first time that the dictionary has added cultural slang, their latest version has an unusually high spike in the number of these abbreviations commonly used as words. WTF, right? Parents, however, should not be worried as long as they know what the terms mean. Every generation has gone through its own catalog of slang, but the new ‘webspeak’ can sometimes seem like a coded language all its own.

The online Internet Slang Dictionary and Translator can be helpful to parents confused by ‘webspeak’ and internet slang. The website has a slang translator and slang dictionary, as well as a netspeak guide that can help parents decipher messages. Some items that appear on their Top 25 Terms for Parents include: BF/GF – Boyfriend/Girlfriend, BRB – Be Right Back, CD9 – Code 9 (means parents are around), GNOC – Get Naked on Cam, and TDTM – Talk Dirty to Me. Susan Shankle and Barbara Melton are co-authors of a book titled “What in the World Are Your Kids Doing Online?” Their translation of a real message that they found (below) demonstrates how complex and cryptic some of these ‘webspeak’ users can get.

The message reads:

“1 w45 50 j4ck3d up |457 n16h7. 1 5c0r3d 50m3 cr4ck 47 7h3 p4r7y 50 1’d h4v3 17 f0r 70n16h7 4nd 70m0rr0w, 4nd 7h3n J1mmy 700k 0ff w17h 17, 7h3 455h0|3! 1 4m 4|| j1773ry 4nd n33d 70 m337 up w17h y0u 70n16h7 4f73r my p4r3n75 7h1nk 1 4m 45|33p. c4n y0u m337 m3 47 b0j4n6|3’5 47 m1dn16h7 ju57 f0r 4 f3w m1nu735? 1 ju57 n33d 4 |177|3 4nd 1 c4n p4y y0u b4ck 0n m0nd4y, 1 pr0m153.”


“I was so jacked up last night. I scored some crack at the party so I’d have it for tonight and tomorrow, and then Jimmy took off with it, the [expletive]! I am all jittery and need to meet up with you tonight after my parents think i am asleep. Can you meet me at Bojangle’s at midnight just for a few minutes? I just need a little and I can pay you back on Monday, I promise.”

In addition to in Internet Slang Dictionary and Translator, some other websites that can assist parents in understanding this seemingly foreign language are noslang.com, teenchatdecoder.com, netsmartz411.org, and 1337Talk.com.