Every year, new words and expressions gain acceptance into the English lexicon. Without a definitive authority, these new phrases may have conflicting, multiple definitions. Depending on the context, the meaning of "IMO" varies. However, there is a definition that IMO is most often associated with.
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IMO is most widely known as an acronym for the phrase "in my opinion." This informal abbreviation is widely used in e-mails, text messages, Internet chat rooms, on discussion boards and even in verbal conversation.
The exact date that IMO was first used is unknown but its origin can be traced to the mid-1980s on Usenet, one of the first computer networks used for online communication. To conserve keystrokes, Usenet's creators coined IMO as well as other Internet shorthand expressions, eventually compiling a lexicon called "The Jargon File." IMO became so popular it crossed over from Internet-speak into verbal communication.
Variations of IMO as Internet shorthand for "in my opinion" include IMHO, meaning "in my honest opinion" or "in my humble opinion" and IMNSHO for "in my not so humble opinion."
IMO is also an acronym for the International Maritime Organization, International Mathematical Olympiad, International Meteorological Organization and the Irish Medical Organization. IMO can also stand for "in memory of" and Information Management Officer.
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