‘BBM’ now a recognised English word

The abbreviation BBM, short for ‘Blackberry Messenger’, was on Thursday added to the latest edition of the Collins English Dictionary after Blackberry-maker RIM was successful in its application to have it included.

The “word” is now in the dictionary as both a verb and a noun.

Regarding the submission, RIM stated: “BBM is an instant messaging application available on all BlackBerry smartphones and is favoured by housewives, students and businessmen alike.”

It seems that BBM’s popularity and use in colloquial language and a number of songs persuaded the lexicographers at Collins to recognise it as a word.

As part of the submission for approval, Blackberry added, “BBM has over 56 million users including some well-known fans such as music artist Tinie Tempah, who mentioned BBM in his song ‘Miami to Ibiza’.”

“BBM shot even further into the spotlight with a name check from Usain Bolt in a TV interview at the 2012 Olympics. BBM is often used as a noun (e.g. “I got your BBM”) and as a verb (e.g. “I’ll BBM you later”). With its global fan base, it’s likely that the term will feature in conversation for a long time to come.”

The addition is a rare piece of good publicity for the ailing phone-maker, which plays a bit-part role behind Android based phones and the iPhone in Europe and North America but continues to enjoy popularity in Africa.

It also demonstrates the extent to which popular culture and consumer technology has influence on things as conservative as culture and language.

The full definition of BBM in the Collins English dictionary can be found here.

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