Love, Redefined: “<3" the First Symbol to be Included in the OED!

Well, now it’s legit. The “less than” symbol and number three combo, <3, has officially been added to the Oxford English Dictionary! That combo in conjunction with its symbolic counterpart, the heart symbol (♥ ), are now synonymous with love in verb form. Here’s the explanation given:

♥ to heart: The graphic symbol – which will be found alongside the word ‘heart’ and listed as a verb meaning ‘to love’ – is the first of its kind to be included in the comprehensive reference work.

Hmm…what effect, if any, might this have on relationships? After all, it’s hard enough already to get to the “I love you” stage–no one wants to be the first to say it. Now that “to heart” means “to love”, are we gonna see more copouts? Will this redefinition of a very innocent symbol just add to the miscommunication? (New dealbreaker: any guy who thinks it’s OK to tell me he “hearts” me before ‘I love you’.)

I guess we should have known this was coming. After all, “I NY” has reached iconic status as a logo for New York  since its launch in 1969, but no one ever fought for the heart’s addition into a dictionary. It’s only more recently, now that you can type two keys in Facebook chat and Gchat and create the symbol, that the heart as verb has become a true phenomenon. And the editors behind the OED took note. Well, you know what they say: once something’s on Facebook, it’s official!

What do you think about this precedent? Do you hate it? Or do you heart it?

* Check out the full list of added words, as well as OED editor John Simpson’s thoughts, here. (My fave? “Rub-a-dub”! I mean, why not??)

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