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Pwn (1)

verb; creative respelling and semantic change via metaphor
To defeat someone very badly, usually used in reference to a computer game.
 
I first heard this word two years ago when my friend told me he was going to pwn me while we were playing a computer game. The word originally started off as “own” but it kept being misspelled as “pwn” because the “p” is very close to the “o” on a keyboard. The definition of the word “own” shifted its meaning via metaphor. The idea is if you own something you have the ability and right to destroy it. If you destroy something you defeat it. Then the word underwent a creative respelling in which the misspelling of “own” as “pwn” was kept. This would is only used in a gaming community and would only be used to sound cool. Perhaps it may be used as a shibboleth. If someone says “own” instead of “pwn” they may be automatically thought of as not part of the gaming community.
Etymology : Misspelled from the word own. Old English agan ‘to have’, agen ‘possessed by’
Source : I am going to pwn you so bad. (conversation, July 2006)
Last modified: 1 December 2008


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