LOL @ 25

According to an article I found in The Guardian today the accronym LOL (laughing out loud) first appeared 25 years ago in the International FidoNet Association Newsletter dated 8 May 1989.

The article mentions a few equivalents in other languages: “ㅋㅋㅋ” (KKK) in Korean; MDR or mort de rire (died of laughter) in French; and 555 (ห้า ห้า ห้า / haa haa haa) in Thai. Do you know or use any others?

LOL is not related to the Welsh word lol, which means “nonsense, foolery, bosh, bunkum, gammon, moonshine, rigmarole, rot, rubbish, tomfoolery or twaddle”; or to the English word loll (to hang down loosely; to droop, dangle), an expression that, according to the OED, has a sound suggestive or rocking or swinging, and might be connected to the Middle Dutch lollen (to sleep) – found in Modern Dutch in lollebanck (couch, sofa).

This entry was posted in English, Language, Words and phrases.

4 Responses to LOL @ 25

  1. Rauli says:

    In Japanese, they use 笑, which is the kanji used in writing the verb “warau” (to laugh, to smile). Also in use is the letter “w”, the first sound of the same verb. It can be alone or repeated.

    In Finnish, you would probably just write “hahahaha”, but in Internet communication, LOL and other similar acronyms are in frequent use. I, as a Finnish speaker, tend to pronounce these as words rather than spelling out the letters. Therefore, I say [lol] (LOL), [rofl̩] (ROFL), [omg] (OMG), and so on.

    What often puzzles me, is the habit of Spanish speaking people using the Spanish “jajajaja” even when writing in English. Another thing that puzzles me, is the habit of Spanish and Indonesian speaking people writing in their native languages on English or Japanese conversations, but that’s an entirely different story. And I’m not trying to generalize that they all do this.

  2. Drabkikker says:

    Dutch uses English LOL as well, a nice coincidence being that the (non-southern Netherlands) Dutch word lol means “fun”, “laughter”, “a jolly time”, etc.

  3. Christopher Miller says:

    In Portuguese — perhaps just from Brazilians — I’ve noticed both ‘kkkkkk’ and ‘rsrsrsrsrs’ (where the ‘rs’ stands for ‘risa’ i.e. ‘laughter’.

  4. caenwyr says:

    Being a native Dutch speaker myself, I’m afraid I never heard of the word lollebanck. The ‘ck’ cluster seems to suggest it’s no Modern Dutch word at all: the cluster has long disappeared from Dutch. In the middle of words it has become ‘kk’ (as in the verb bakken, to bake), and at the end of a word it’s simply ‘k’ (as in the expression ik bak, I bake). The modern form of that word would therefore be lollebank. However, the only reference I found to the word lollebank (already without the c) comes from Kiliaan, a 16th century lexicographer and translator:

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