Laughing out load: PM not quite down there with the kids

Sat, May 12, 2012, 01:00

Proof of the prime minister’s less than total grasp of the modern world came courtesy of Rebekah Brooks’s testimony to the Leveson inquiry.

After brushing aside reports that David Cameron was in the habit of texting her as many as 12 times a day - “no, thankfully ... it is preposterous” - Brooks revealed that she had had to give the PM a crash course in text linguistics.

“He would sign them off DC, in the main,” she said. “Occasionally he would sign them off ‘lol’, lots of love - until I told him it meant ‘laugh out loud’.”

LOL entered the online edition of the Oxford English Dictionary last year, where it appears thus: “LOL int. and n./2: ‘laughing out loud’.”

Despite the OED’s definition, though, the abbreviation is still widely used for both laughter and love.

A poll in 2011 found that lol was the UK’s favourite piece of text speak, and was used by 68% of 18-34 year olds and 37% of those aged 55 and over.

The confusion was neatly illustrated by the creator of a Facebook page who plaintively noted: “My mum thinks ‘lol’ means ‘Lots of Love’. She texted me: ‘Our dog died LOL’.” – (Guardian service)