Friday, February 25, 2011
N00b? PWN3d? Forget English, try 1337.
I'm not having a complex migraine, seizure, or a stroke. Nope.
I keep seeing this cryptic speak insinuating itself into our language and did a little investigating. Have you heard of Leet? (1337 or l33t, in leet-speak)
Leet, which originally derived from "elite" is an alternative alphabet for the English language that came about from 1980's computer hacking and online gaming.
One of the hallmarks of leet is the substitution of letters or numbers for similar looking ones in the standard alphabet. Misspellings are commonly part of leet as well (the=teh)
Some of the more commonly known leet words that have come into everyday usage include:
w00t ("we owned the other team", one among many possible origins)
n00b ("newbie", not in a good way.) Addendum: see Erinn's comment below.
pwn3d (or "owned", as in, getting defeated badly in an argument or game)
Can you imagine writing a novel in leet? No? Me neither. But the language is pretty fascinating. I could imagine how it could find its way into a cyberpunk novel. It probably has, and one of you is going to tell me about it.
This might come in handy, if you feel the need to email someone and make them think they're having a neurological accident:
Leet online translator
Wikipedia on Leet
Urban Dictionary (warning--some bad language on this site)
H4V3 4 9r347 W33K3nD!