Tomorrow is an august day in the history of the English language. (Although, really, isn’t every day?)
Tomorrow, 9 September 2017, is the 100th anniversary of the earliest documented example of a writer using the acronym OMG as a boiled-down version of the exclamation “Oh! My god!” It most definitely predates the Internet.
How do we know this? The OED tells us so. The venerable Oxford English Dictionary, which is available online to Washington and Lee students, faculty, and staff, points to a letter written by J. A. F. Fisher on 9 September 1917:
- 1917 J. A. F. Fisher Let. 9 Sept. in Memories (1919) v. 78 I hear that a new order of Knighthood is on the tapis—O.M.G. (Oh! My God!)—Shower it on the Admiralty!!
You may read further to discover that the editors of the OED have found no other uses of the term in print for nearly 80 years — John Arbuthnot Fisher was ‘way ahead of his time. You also may find Lord Fisher’s original quotation in his volume Memories, courtesy of the HathiTrust Digital Library.