Aug 24, 2009

WORD OF THE WEEK: Pwn (& Other Acceptable Type-Os)

I keep reading this word: Pwn—as in, "'Get ready to be pwnd,' said the gamer to his adversaries, typing out his online insults." By context, I could tell the first time I saw it that it was synonymous with own, but I thought it was the result of a type-o. Three days later, having seen it nearly half a dozen times in the very same context—with the very same typing mistake—I realized I was watching language evolve before my very eyes.

Despite arguments I've supported in the past in this blog, I have a hard time not believing that I'm really seeing language devolve—or maybe it's the evolution of slanguage that I'm witnessing?

Whatever the case may be, pwn seems here to stay (although I cross my fingers and click my heels and hope against hope that this is just a passing fad, something that we'll look back on in the next decade with wry wit in a VH-1's "I Love the 2000s" episode as we text real whole words to each other in nanoseconds from our flying cars).

According to a plethora of internet information, pwn did, in fact, originate from a type-o—although it's disputed whether this was first done on a QWERTY keyboard or a cell phone's call pad. Some variations of the word are spelled with a number: p0wned. Personally, I find this an even more confounding acceptability for the actual word owned. But what can I do about it?

There are a number of other acronyms and abbreviations proliferating the texting and instant messaging world. I'd intended to include a few links to lists of them for you here today, but the content of such lists is not G-rated. So, instead, we'll focus on just the one word:

Pwn – (v.) to rule over or dominate another, usually an opposing player in a videogame or a marketplace adversary, especially in the technological market.

Lets hope our online lingo is a little more eduifying in the future.

© KiKi Productions, Inc. 2009

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