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Oxford English Dictionary breaks own rule, lists 'tweet'

Other techie words like 'live blog,' 'flash mob,' 'search engine optimization' and '3d Printer' are also added

Tweeting has become so popular that the Oxford English Dictionary broke one of its own rules to add 'tweet' to its lexicon this month.

"Tweet" is listed as both a noun and a verb that's used in social networking.

The addition of stands out because it breaks an Oxford English Dictionary rule that a word needs to be in use for 10 years to be considered for inclusion. Since the Twitter social network just turned seven in March, the word aficionados broke their own rule by three years.

The word was given special consideration because it so quickly became widely-used in the English language.

The dictionary now adds to the definition of "follow." The definition now includes the tracking of a person or organization on a social media site like Facebook or Google+. The addition to the definition comes as this form of the word has quickly grown in general usage.

Other words from the world of technology that made the cut this month include "flash mob," defined as a large group of people who assemble suddenly in public, and "live blog," defined as continual textual coverage of a live event.

The term "3D printer" was also added to the Oxford English Dictionary. The dictionary defined "3D Printer" as a means to create something by printing out layer upon layer of material. "Search engine optimization," defined as the practice of trying to keep a website high on lists of search engine results, also made the list.

Non-techie, words and terms added to the dictionary this month include fiscal cliff and the silent treatment.

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin, or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed . Her email address is sgaudin@computerworld.com.

Read more about social media in Computerworld's Social Media Topic Center.


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