I don’t know who’s more responsible for this — the maker of the “I ♥ NY” T-shirts/various merchandise, or the hordes of Justin Bieber fans. I’m tempted to say the latter, since the young popstar seems to have taken a symbol that I remember my friends making in photos in high school, and made it suddenly popular for the younger generation. When I went to see Never Say Never, every girl in the audience had her hands raised up to the screen.
According to the Daily Mail (via Gothamist), the symbol is listed alongside the word heart, but as a verb with its own definition: to love. No word on if “<3″ will be listed as an alternative spelling.
The heart symbol joins several other modern words and phrases in this new edition of the OED:
- muffin top
- tinfoil hat
- banh mi