Accomplishments and Records

You Might LOL About the PM Who Received the First OMG

The first use of OMG was in a letter to Winston Churchill in 1917.

Winston Churchill (1874-1965) lived long before the smartphone but was a pioneer in the use of mobile communications lingo. More than a century ago, he was the recipient of the first recorded use of “OMG” in a message.

 Lord John Arbuthnot Fisher was a retired English naval admiral. He wrote to Churchill on September 9, 1917, when the future Prime Minister was serving as Minister of Munitions.

churchill OMG letter
Lord Fisher’s “OMG” letter to Winston Churchill

The admiral was clearly in an excited state when he wrote to Churchill, expounding on a number of developments. When he got tot he point of saying that a new order of Knighthood was being considered, Fisher found it impossible to restrain himself. He wrote, “O.M.G.” Perhaps out of the recognition that he had just coined a brand new expression, he then spelled it out, “(Oh! My God!)”

If Churchill picked upon the innovative phrase and adopted it for himself, history has failed to record it. Given the high esteem the great statesman held for the English language, it is doubtful that he would have ROFL’d at the pervasiveness of today’s usage of OMG.

BTW By the way, the expressions LOL, ROFL, BTW, OMG, etc. are not acronyms. They are initialisms. An acronym, such as NATO, NASA, and SONAR, are abbreviations that can be read as a word. An initialism, in contrast, must be read letter-by-letter.

Read more fun facts about languages.

Read more fun facts about words.

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