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'Tweet' is a real word (in the social media sense): Oxford

By certifying celebrities, Twitter has gotten itself into the trust business. But trust requires process.

jason logan The Globe and Mail

Do you tweet? Have you tweeted? Did you read my tweet? Is tweet even a word?

If it wasn't before it is now both a noun and verb according to the Oxford English Dictionary, which recognized the term and the act associated with posting the 140-character updates to the micro-blog/social network Twitter.

In a "quiet announcement" John Simpson, Chief Editor of Oxford English Dictionary, added the word in his June update of the renowned index of the English language, writing:

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"The noun and verb tweet (in the social-networking sense) has just been added to the OED. This breaks at least one OED rule, namely that a new word needs to be current for 10 years before consideration for inclusion. But it seems to be catching on."

Twitter launched in 2006 with a tweet by founder and creator Jack Dorsey "just setting up my twttr," (initially the service's name had no vowels). The Oxford references some of the first printed uses of the word "tweet" from 2007.

The update defines two uses of the word tweet as "To make a posting on the social networking service Twitter. Also: to use Twitter regularly or habitually;" and also "To post (a message, item of information, etc.) on Twitter. Also: to post a message to (a particular person, organization, etc.)."

In a way, this comes full circle, because the founders have claimed they decided on the name Twitter after reading a dictionary definition about short bursts of communication, though probably not Oxford's: "Twitter, A series of short, high-pitched calls or sounds; [mass noun] idle or ignorant talk."

Other tech terms included in the latest OED update: "big datacrowdsourcing,e-readermouseoverredirect (the noun), and stream (the verb)."

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About the Author
Technology reporter

Shane Dingman is The Globe and Mail's technology reporter. He covers BlackBerry, Shopify and rising Canadian tech companies in Waterloo, Ont., Toronto and beyond. More


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