Hawking Up Hairballs

Monday, September 10, 2007


The computer revolution of the last several decades has had its effect on the language. Chief among them is the introduction of new words into the everyday language. The oddest of such examples that I know of is "pwn" and its past tense "pwned". I had seen these words several places online, but it is only recently that I learned what they meant. "Pwn" is a misspelling of the word "own". It is used in a slang sense for "own" insofar as this verb is used to indicate that one person has bested another in a competitive endeavor, as in "I owned you." Then, where in the hell did "pwn" come from? It isn't even pronounceable. Well, as it turns out, in a very popular computer game, which one I don't know, it turns out that "own" was misspelled as "pwn". Aficionados of the game started writing "pwn" and "pwned" when they meant "own" and "owned." It was a short jump from there into the world of common cyber slang. I find that kind of neat, but I still wish I knew how the damned wprd is pronounced.


Blogger David Matthews said...

Well, there's no vowel. So how the heck would you pronounce it?

Interesting story. I guess I could say after last night's game that my Phillies pwn the Mets - except we'd be sure to lose today's game if I said that. Nah. That's just not a word for me.

1:48 PM  

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