BFD? LOL! OK, SMH...
A Romney campaign aide criticized the Obama campaign last week for selling T-shirts reading "Health Reform Still a BFD." That's BFD as in "big fucking deal" and a reference to the apt description of health reform by the ever-quotable Vice President Biden. In the days since the T-Shirt's release, BFD has seen a renewed popularity in our social news feeds, but what are the chances it will stick around as long as abbreviations like LOL or OMG? And where do these abbreviations originate, anyways?
Many of the popular expressions we see a lot of these days -- TTYL ("talk to you later"), BRB ("be right back"), and ROFL ("rolling on the floor laughing"), for example -- started in online chat rooms, where jargon-loving computing enthusiasts created and refined their abbreviations.
And what makes them durable? Our friends at Slate investigated, pointing to this handy scale developed by linguist Allan Metcalf to forecast a neologism’s (fancy for "a newly coined word for phrase") chances of becoming a long-term part of the language. He assigns the expression a score of 0, 1, or 2 in each of five categories: frequency of use, unobtrusiveness, diversity of users, ability to generate related neologisms, and endurance of the concept it describes.
How does BFD rank? Arguably it's too early to tell... but initially, not well. "BFD has been in use for many years, but it didn’t get a lot of attention before the VP popularized it 2010. If BFD stays linked to the health care reform bill, its life could be very short indeed." Eep.
What are your favorite abbreviations? Ones that you'd like to see eliminated from the lexicon? Tell us below!
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