updated 04:35 pm EDT, Sat June 15, 2013
Twitter's importance verified by dictionary
The Internet is responsible for a number of words that didn't exist just over a decade ago, and the Oxford English Dictionary has just added another net phrase to the official lexicon. Already a word related to bird vocalizations, "tweet" now also officially references the social networking service Twitter. The OED also added "big data," "crowdsourcing," "e-reader," "mouseover," "redirect," and "stream" to its list of words.
The OED's definitions -- as The Register notes -- mark tweet as both a noun and a verb. The actual definitions are as follows:
v. 2 a. intr. To make a posting on the social networking service Twitter. Also: to use Twitter regularly or habitually.
2 b. tran. To post (a message, item of information, etc.) on Twitter. Also: to post a message to (a particular person, organization, etc.).
n. 2. A posting made on the social networking service Twitter.
The dictionary lists the first usage of tweet as occurring in 2007.
Tweeting, of course, has already made its way into the colloquial lexicon, as it is already used in everyday conversation, on news broadcasts, and in Internet communications. The inclusion in the OED, though, is a testament to Twitter's rapid rise in importance. In December, the social network announced it had passed the 200 million user mark, adding 100 million users between September of 2011 and mid-December of 2012.
An additionally impressive fact about tweet's official recognition: the OED bent one of its own rules in the process of canonizing the term. Typically, words have to be in use for 10 years before the OED considers including them. Tweet has only been around for six.