Latest Oxford dictionary reflects Internet era

The dot-com bomb may have blasted the stock markets, but it's still boom time with the Concise Oxford Dictionary.

The dot-com bomb may have blasted the stock markets, but it's still boom time with the Concise Oxford Dictionary.

Oxford University Press released its latest revision of the dictionary yesterday, with additional entires like "MP3," "e-book," for a paperless book and "i-Mode".

"In the past few years new technologies have been emerging faster than ever," OUP English dictionaries publishing manager Judy Pearsall told The Associated Press. "Many of these are now part of the general language, and so this is why we are including them in the latest revised edition."

Indeed, the wireless world of SMS has spawned entries like "RUOK" (are you OK)", "KWIM" (know what I mean)", "BCNU" (be seeing you) and "BFN" (bye for now).

And why stop at acronyms? The appendix of the dictionary also lists emoticons like :) which are lateral smiles popular with SMS and Internet communications.

"Burn" has taken on a new definition, meaning "produce (a CD) by copying from an original or master copy."

The most significant entry may be "digital divide," which is explained as "the gulf between those who have ready access to computers and the Internet and those who do not."

The Oxford dictionary is doing its bit to help that divide close slightly. Now all it has to do is explain to computer-illiterates why they must click on the start icon to shut down their machines...

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