One of the oldest everyday online abbreviations is LOL, which is short for ‘laugh out loud’, just celebrated its 25th birthday. Other considerable mentions include but are not limited to OIC, which stands for ‘oh I see’, BRB that is short for ‘be right back’, and BBL, which stands for ‘be back later’. LOL has been around for as long as online chat and internet connections have been around. It became widely popular around the 80’s and 90’s when chat systems through bulletin board systems were a hot commodity.
LOL was supposedly first coined through a bulletin board system known as Viewline in Canada by a man known as Wayne Pearson around the mid-80s. The use of the acronym spread like wildfire throughout the internet world. However, these claims cannot be supported by any real proof.
Lexicographer and netspeak historian Ben Zimmer mentioned that the first documented use of LOL comes from a May of 89 issue newsletter from FidoNews, which listed it as a commonly used web acronym. This newsletter featured all types of acronyms, abbreviations, and early forms of emoticons. If you were around in the 80’s or 90’s with access to a computer, you may remember some of those early versions of emoticons such as : ) for happy or smiling, : ( for sad, and : * was used to show a kiss.
LOL has become so popular over the past two and a half decades that it is even used in television, movies, and music. Trey Songz put out a single entitled “LOL ????”. There was even a low-budget film produced in 2006 by the name LOL.
Today, users use the acronym LOL on a daily basis through text messages and emails. It has become so widely used that we even say it when we are not really “laughing out loud”. Throughout the years LOL has been around, it has grown into several different variations such as LMBO and ROTFL, which stands for “laughing my butt off” and “rolling on the floor laughing”. Both of which have also become just as popular as the original LOL.