BBC News: Don't be 404, know the tech slang.

A study of new slang terms entering English finds that technology is driving and perpetuating them.  For instance, "404" - the error message given when a browser cannot find a webpage - has come to mean "clueless".  Slang lexicographer Jonathon Green says that some such terms and abbreviations come about because of the limited speed and space afforded by text messaging.  However, an Australian study found that reading "textese" takes more time and results in more mistakes.

Interesting that the error cards on London Transport's Oyster cards are making their way into slang.  Some common HTTP error codes are:

  • 403 - Forbidden
  • 404 - Page Not Found
  • 418 - I'm A Teapot
  • 509 - Bandwidth Limit Exceeded

Error code 418 - I'm A Teapot is part of the HTCPCP/1.0 standard (Hyper Text Coffee Pot Control Protocol), described in RFC 2324 dated April 1st 1998.

Any attempt to brew coffee with a teapot should result in the error code "418 I'm a teapot". The resulting entity body MAY be short and stout.

(For other novel computing applications, checkout the Google PigeonRank system, released on April 1st 2002.)

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