Most everyone who's ever chatted online, read chat room conversation or written an email is familiar with the term LOL, or "laughing out loud."
Now some people are asking themselves whether the expression has become so overused that it no longer has one meaning.
Naomi Baron, a linguist at American University, says some college students surveyed use LOL when they want to acknowledge something, and they say it has nothing to do with laughter.
Ben Huh, who heads a Seattle-based company that oversees popular humor Websites, says LOL feels as natural as saying "OK," or "cool." Seth Ginsburg, a 29-year-old New Yorker, wonders when he sees LOL, "Are they really laughing out loud?"
Back in 2004, LOL was added to the "List of Words to Be Banished from the Queen's English for Mis-use, Over-use and General Uselessness."
But the modern-day acronym appears to be here to stay, at least for a while.
©2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.