OMG! CATO Among New Words in Oxford Dictionary

Major news media outlets recently reported that the new words added to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) for 2011 include several time-saving online abbreviations. Abbreviations such as LOL, OMG, and IMHO are familiar to most people who have spent any time on internet discussion forums, reading email, or composing “Tweets.”

The media, however, failed to note another abbreviation found among the 900 new words, CATO.

A contrived initialism for “Catastrophe At Take Off,” the abbreviation CATO is used as a noun and is generally defined as “a catastrophic failure.” Although originally used to describe the dramatic malfunction of a rocket motor, the use of CATO has broadened to include a range of calamitous events such as a rocket “shredding” in flight due to aerodynamic stress or a participant in an online discussion suffering apparent meltdown as the result of others committing common grammar mistakes.

No one from the OED was available to comment on the

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