Winston Churchill Was the Recipient of the First OMG

I can't say that I saw this one coming. This week, the Oxford English Dictionary added several words to its hoary collection including OMG, the common IM abbreviation for Oh My God, and it turns out that the acronym is a lot older than you'd expect. Turns out, British Navy Admiral John Arbuthnot Fisher beat the kid in that AOL chatroom to the punch by about 80 years.

Slate limns:

In 1917, Fisher wrote this sentence in a letter: "I hear that a new order of Knighthood is on the tapis--O.M.G.(Oh! My God!)­--Shower it on the Admiralty!" He sent the letter to Winston Churchill.

("On the tapis," for those not up on their Victorian slang, could mean "on the table.")

Via @elizabethw723.

Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is the deputy editor of TheAtlantic.com. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer has called Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at Wired.com, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science website in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.

He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).

Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.


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