24 Feb /14


The introduction of OMG in English is based on a joke almost nobody can understand.
The phrase was used almost 100 years ago! In a letter from a 76-year old man asking for a favour in the form of another medal. But it was not any old man. It was John Fisher, one of the most important figures of the British Navy who did more than anyone else to modernise the navy, introducing battleships, excellent naval training and better food on ships just to mention a few things on his list of achievement. He made it all the way to the top to positions such as Commander of the Mediterranean Fleet and Admiral of the Fleet. As such he got to know almost all the politicians and collected a chest full of medals. His close acquaintances obviously included Winston Churchill who was First Lord of the Admiralty and also Minister of Munitions.  Fisher collected medals for services provided. He already was CB (Companion of the Order of the Bath), GCB (Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath), GCVO (Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order). Fisher had heard a new medal – the order of something – was up for grabs and wanted to get his hands on it. Not one to pass something up, he asks Winston Churchill in a letter to see that he gets one. He makes a joke out of his request.

“I hear that a new order of Knighthood is on the tapis—O.M.G. (Oh! My God!)—Shower it on the Admiralty!!”

Translated the above note means “I have heard there is a new medal around – the OMG. Give me the medal”. After all, he was working at the Admiralty and plays on the fact that the navy used abbreviations when signalling at sea, often with flags, something well known to both the person writing and the person reading the letter.
Maybe he is giving a hint that he had not yet received any level of the Order of St Michael and St George which is for merit in relation to foreign affairs. Or maybe it is simply a new medal. At any event there is no record that any such a medal was initiated nor that he received any more medals at this stage of his life.
But it is clear that this is a completely irrelevant blog. This first use has no connection at all with OMG in today’s everyday internet use which appeared only in the 1990s.

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