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Twitter wants to trademark ‘subtweet’

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The advent of the digital age has caused our collective vocabularies to balloon – and Twitter is partly to thanks.

Twitter has made a bid to trademark the rights to the word “subtweet”.

The term has been in use for several years, and originates on the social network.

The word is a colloquialism for a tweet that references a specific individual, but that doesn’t include the person’s Twitter handle.

It’s a way of indirectly communicating an idea, often so there’s no proof you were specifically referencing a given person – it’s also called an “indirect”, although that term can be used across other social networks.

The key point about a subtweet is that because the target person’s Twitter handle isn’t included, the tweet won’t show up in their account timeline.

Twitter filed its application for the trademark on October 30, 2015. It was then published formally on November 19.

The news – first broken by Politico’s Alex Weprin – was, unsurprisingly, revealed in a tweet:

If the trademark goes without opposition, it could be approved as soon as next year.

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Do you use the word ‘subtweet’? Had you even heard of it? Let us know in the comments.

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