The Oxford English Dictionary is, arguably, the most esteemed authority on the English language, but it’s making room for trendy millennial slang like a Tumblr-cum-Snapchat-Insta-blog.
The OED today released a slew of updates to old words — many of them pithy Roald Dahl-isms in honor of the legendary author’s 100th birthday — and inducted some new ones. Chief among them is “YOLO,” and everyone’s favorite digital quandary, “Clickbait.”
Now, YOLO is an acronym for “You Only Live Once,” the general feeling of which can mostly be seen/felt/heard in inspirational maxims tweeted by Pitbull, but the OED defines the word this way: "Used to express the view that one should make the most of the present moment without worrying about the future (often as a rationale for impulsive or reckless behaviour)." OED Senior Assistant Editor Jonathan Dent notes that YOLO’s first axiomatic usage dates back to Balzac’s 1847 novel Le Cousin Pons, which places the word in a weird, academic context, to be sure.