History's first OMG directed at Winston Churchill?

Turns out the oft-used abbreviation has its origins in a British Naval dialogue.

Churchill would ROTFL if he saw what OMG became. Library of Congress

Today's OMG isn't your grandpa's digital shorthand, but it turns out it is old enough to be your great-grandpa's abbreviated analog slang.

Letters of Note dug up a letter penned by John Arbuthnot "Jacky" Fisher, 1st Baron Fisher of Kilverstone and Admiral of the Fleet in the British Royal Navy (OMG! what a title) to then Minister of Munitions Winston Churchill in 1917 that contains a very early use of the acronym.

In a letter relating a few good rips of the Germans and decrying the current naval situation of the day, Lord Fisher writes:

"I hear that a new order of Knighthood is on the tapis --O.M.G.- (Oh! My God!)--Shower it on the Admiralty!"

I'm particularly impressed with the valley girl cadence implied by Fisher's punctuation, as in "Oh... my... God. Becky, look at her butt!"

While he might be remembered for his efforts to reform the British Navy, Jacky also obviously had a great sense of contemporary culture nearly a century before the fact.

Now that we've identified the originator of this key cultural touchstone, perhaps it's time we tried to revive some of the man's other favored phrases. The baffling series of words "on the tapis" appears immediately before the world's first OMG in Fisher's letter to Churchill -- it's a Victorian-era phrase meaning "on the table" or "under consideration."

So, in honor of Admiral Jacky Fisher, originator of the venerable OMG, let me be the first to say "on the tapis" is back on the tapis!

(If he were still with us, I'm sure Churchill would be ROTFL right now.)

(Via New York)

 

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