#1
Old 03-12-2008, 09:31 AM
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Origin of "pwn"

Did a title search on this 'un, to no avail.
Can someone try to etymologically explain this word to me?

I get it's usage -- "I totally pwned (pwn'd?) you!" he declared after crushing his father at Super Smash Bros.

I believe it comes from the slang usage of "own" as in "I beat you so bad I now own you!"

Where'd the "p" come from? Is it pronounced "Pone" or "Own"? Has "pwn" been defined? Was this word coined by the on-line/gamer/texting community? Is it right for a 14-year-old kid to say he "pwned" his old man?
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Last edited by ChiefScott; 03-12-2008 at 09:32 AM.
#2
Old 03-12-2008, 09:33 AM
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Typo enshrined in culture. O and P are adjacent on the keyboard.
#3
Old 03-12-2008, 09:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mangetout
Typo enshrined in culture. O and P are adjacent on the keyboard.
Like teh for the, I'm guessing?
#4
Old 03-12-2008, 09:38 AM
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pwn and teh are common mispellings in game chats that sort of took on a life of their own. It is a (now deliberate) misspelling of 'own' as you thought. (See you are kewlr than you thought)

As for how you pronounce it i believe originally you still said 'own'. The 'pwn" is sort of a ret-conned l33t usage that is meant to be typed.

Now of course everyone tries to pronounce it someway and every way is different.

Last edited by Death of Rats; 03-12-2008 at 09:38 AM.
#5
Old 03-12-2008, 09:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Death of Rats
The 'pwn" is sort of a ret-conned l33t usage that is meant to be typed.
I believe I'm of above-average intelligence and relatively well-educated. But the above statement might as well be written in Aramaic. I don't know what it means.
#6
Old 03-12-2008, 09:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncommon Sense
Like teh for the, I'm guessing?
Yes!!!11!!one
#7
Old 03-12-2008, 09:44 AM
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I have a vague memory of poker player Phil Hellmuth claiming he invented "pwn" while playing online, but a cursory Google doesn't turn up the claim. I can't check specific poker sites from work, though.
#8
Old 03-12-2008, 10:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChiefScott
I believe I'm of above-average intelligence and relatively well-educated. But the above statement might as well be written in Aramaic. I don't know what it means.
From Wikipedia:

Retroactive continuity (or informally retcon) is the deliberate changing of previously established facts in a work of serial fiction. The change itself is informally referred to as a "retcon", and the act of writing and publishing a retcon is called "retconning".

Leet (written 31337, 1337, L337, 1337r0z, 13370rz, and l33t), or Leetspeak, is a written argot used primarily on the Internet, which uses various combinations of ASCII characters to replace Latinate letters. The term is derived from the word "elite", and the usage it describes is a specialized form of symbolic writing. Different dialects of leet are found on different online forums.
#9
Old 03-12-2008, 10:20 AM
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I pronounce it 'pone', but feel like an idiot saying it, so usually don't verbalize it.
#10
Old 03-12-2008, 10:22 AM
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In other words, it was a mistake that people who couldn't type claimed was correct, and eventually became accepted as such.

I say 'pone'. Well, I don't say it, but I mentally pronounce it. I have geekier friends who will say it out loud, and pronounce it 'poon', and I giggle.
#11
Old 03-12-2008, 10:35 AM
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Huh. I thought it was L337 for punk. Who knew?
#12
Old 03-12-2008, 10:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Otto
I have a vague memory of poker player Phil Hellmuth claiming he invented "pwn" while playing online, but a cursory Google doesn't turn up the claim. I can't check specific poker sites from work, though.
Phil Hellmuth making grandiose claims for himself? Will wonders never cease...
#13
Old 03-12-2008, 10:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DeadlyAccurate
From Wikipedia:

Retroactive continuity (or informally retcon) is the deliberate changing of previously established facts in a work of serial fiction. The change itself is informally referred to as a "retcon", and the act of writing and publishing a retcon is called "retconning".

Leet (written 31337, 1337, L337, 1337r0z, 13370rz, and l33t), or Leetspeak, is a written argot used primarily on the Internet, which uses various combinations of ASCII characters to replace Latinate letters. The term is derived from the word "elite", and the usage it describes is a specialized form of symbolic writing. Different dialects of leet are found on different online forums.
Wow.

I just realized how frickin' out of touch I am.

Thanks, DeadlyAccurate, for the cite.
#14
Old 03-12-2008, 10:54 AM
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[retcon]Me, I say "pawned"; a pawn is the most pathetic and weak chess piece, thus if you "pawned" someone they automatically are considered to be the lowest ranking and wimpiest peon in the game in question.[/retcon]
#15
Old 03-12-2008, 10:59 AM
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I've always heard it as "pone" so it rhymes with "own." My cousins use it all the time.

Last edited by HazelNutCoffee; 03-12-2008 at 10:59 AM.
#16
Old 03-12-2008, 11:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John DiFool
[retcon]Me, I say "pawned"; a pawn is the most pathetic and weak chess piece, thus if you "pawned" someone they automatically are considered to be the lowest ranking and wimpiest peon in the game in question.[/retcon]
The other meaning of "pawn" that might be in the background of the meaning of "pwn" is to pledge an item as security for a loan, i.e., deposit an item of value at a pawnbroker in exchange for a loan. If you don't repay the loan with interest, the pawnbroker gets to own the item.
#17
Old 03-12-2008, 11:58 AM
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I use the Welsh pronunciation for the "w", thereby rendering it as "poon".

Of course, I only say it to mock leet-speakers, so the sillier pronunciation is better. This works best if the term is surrounded by posh pseudo-British verbiage. "I say, old chap, I do believe that I have pwned you, as it were."
#18
Old 03-12-2008, 02:20 PM
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Wait wait wait. I've heard it claimed for years that "pwn" originated as a typo in the first Warcraft, and that it took off from there. Cn anyone confirm or deny?
#19
Old 03-12-2008, 02:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HazelNutCoffee
I've always heard it as "pone" so it rhymes with "own." My cousins use it all the time.
The Geeklings (my kids) pronounce it the same way you do.

I thought it was older than warcraft, coming maybe from Quake or Doom.
#20
Old 03-12-2008, 02:54 PM
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So I'm assuming on these games there's some type of shat feature.
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#21
Old 03-12-2008, 02:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chiefscott
So I'm assuming on these games there's some type of shat feature.
(bolding mine)

...snrrrrrrrk.

Generally, yes.
#22
Old 03-12-2008, 03:01 PM
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Damn.
Double damn.
I re-read that post, what, two times before posting?

Last edited by ChiefScott; 03-12-2008 at 03:01 PM.
#23
Old 03-12-2008, 03:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bosstone
I have geekier friends who will say it out loud, and pronounce it 'poon', and I giggle.
Years ago my friends and I would say 'Ya bloody poon!' But then I started working with a woman whose surname was Poon.
#24
Old 03-12-2008, 03:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ogre
Wait wait wait. I've heard it claimed for years that "pwn" originated as a typo in the first Warcraft, and that it took off from there. Cn anyone confirm or deny?
I strongly doubt it. It more than likely arose from the time when deathmatch FPS was the king of online play, in the days of Quake 1 and 2. Games were very fast-paced, and you usually only had a few spare seconds to type out a quick text message to the guy you just fragged. It's very likely that many people, attempting to stab out a quick 'owned!' flubbed it and came out with 'pwned!'. You certainly never had time to proofread what you were typing.
#25
Old 03-12-2008, 03:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bosstone
I strongly doubt it. It more than likely arose from the time when deathmatch FPS was the king of online play, in the days of Quake 1 and 2. Games were very fast-paced, and you usually only had a few spare seconds to type out a quick text message to the guy you just fragged. It's very likely that many people, attempting to stab out a quick 'owned!' flubbed it and came out with 'pwned!'. You certainly never had time to proofread what you were typing.

Yeah typos become part of the vocab. Back when I played EQ everybody knew PPM stood for Out-Of-Mana (I never saw it used intentionally, but that's a real common accident).
#26
Old 03-12-2008, 03:54 PM
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There is a wikipedia entry on the word, for those who are interested.

You can find it here.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pwn
#27
Old 03-12-2008, 04:02 PM
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It definitely predates World of Warcraft by some years, since I recall it being in common usage in EQ years before WoW's release.

It's almost certainly a typo of "own" since in a good many FPS (and other pvp games or games with pvp elements), "own" is vernacular for "killed you in a particularly embarassing fashion/without any difficulty whatsoever" and has been for as long as I've been playing those sorts of games. So at least 12 years.

ETA: I've always heard it pronounced (when I've heard it pronounced aloud) as "pone".

Last edited by Aangelica; 03-12-2008 at 04:03 PM.
#28
Old 03-12-2008, 04:18 PM
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My World of Warcraft contacts told me, when I asked the same thing, that it originated as "power-owned", kinda like a superlative to "I owned that mofo!" The people who told me this have been known to play for 14 hours straight, so they are somewhat reliable on that topic.

Oh, and ChiefScott, "some sort of shat function"? Teh. Best. Typo. Evar.
#29
Old 03-12-2008, 04:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aangelica
It definitely predates World of Warcraft by some years, since I recall it being in common usage in EQ years before WoW's release.
Nono, not WoW:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ogre
I've heard it claimed for years that "pwn" originated as a typo in the first Warcraft, and that it took off from there.
I don't have any citation to back me up, but while I don't believe it came from the original Warcraft RTS, that's certainly an old enough game to have been popular during the word's inception.

And the 'power-owned' explanation is a complete load of after-the-fact hooey IMO. I strongly suspect the word would have emerged some other way were that the primary meaning, likely as powned or p-owned or some such.
#30
Old 03-12-2008, 05:49 PM
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I never use it, and I mentally subtract about 30 IQ points from my evaluation of anyone I come across on the internet who uses 'pwn' in a sentence. Either that, or I assume they are twelve years old.

Leet speak is a perfect example of a joke that was funny for about the first dozen times it was ever used, and after that just became increasingly tedious.
#31
Old 03-12-2008, 08:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny L.A.
Years ago my friends and I would say 'Ya bloody poon!' But then I started working with a woman whose surname was Poon.
What kind of a name is "Poon," anyway?
#32
Old 03-12-2008, 09:24 PM
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Quote:
The 'pwn" is sort of a ret-conned l33t usage that is meant to be typed.
Huh. I would have never knpwn. Boy do I feel like a clpwn.
#33
Old 03-12-2008, 09:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KneadToKnow
What kind of a name is "Poon," anyway?
Commanche Indian.
#34
Old 03-12-2008, 09:53 PM
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So, it wasn't named after a certain bad-ass Marine Sergeant on LV-426?
#35
Old 03-12-2008, 10:17 PM
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Quote:
It definitely predates World of Warcraft by some years, since I recall it being in common usage in EQ years before WoW's release.
No no no. Not WoW. Warcraft. The first Warcraft. Orcs vs. humans and whatnot. It came out in 1994, easily early enough to be the origin of the word.
#36
Old 03-12-2008, 10:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Otto
I have a vague memory of poker player Phil Hellmuth claiming he invented "pwn" while playing online
That bullshit stinks to high heaven. And Ogre, most online gaming communities are going to claim to have invented "pwn" and any number of other conventions if pressed. bufftabby, your WoW friends are full of shit. "pwn" has been around a lot longer than WoW has.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bosstone
In other words, it was a mistake that people who couldn't type claimed was correct
Are you seriously suggesting that the original users of "pwn" claimed it was the correct spelling? Are you sure?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChiefScott

I just realized how frickin' out of touch I am.
I hate to rain on your parade even more, but "leet" hasn't been very cool for almost 10 years--any usage since then has mostly been either ironic, frowned upon, or both. I would also argue that "pwn" has a tenuous connection to leet, at best.
#37
Old 03-12-2008, 10:23 PM
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Quote:
That bullshit stinks to high heaven. And Ogre, most online gaming communities are going to claim to have invented "pwn" and any number of other conventions if pressed. bufftabby, your WoW friends are full of shit. "pwn" has been around a lot longer than WoW has.
Look up two posts. NOT World Of Warcraft. The 1994 Warcraft. The first one.
#38
Old 03-12-2008, 10:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Controvert
So, it wasn't named after a certain bad-ass Marine Sergeant on LV-426?

You mean Apone?
#39
Old 03-13-2008, 07:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Morbo
Commanche Indian.
Nice....except it's Comanche with one M.
#40
Old 03-13-2008, 08:12 AM
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Using my newfound knowledge gained from this thread, I'm more apt to believe the "typo" origin of 'pwn' vice the retconned-sounding "Powerfully Owned" origin.

And I'm considering using the 'poon' pronounciation if only to get me some sweet "pwntang" from MrsChief!

Last edited by ChiefScott; 03-13-2008 at 08:12 AM.
#41
Old 03-13-2008, 08:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Uncommon Sense
Nice....except it's Comanche with one M.
Even so, don't you fuckin' love this board?
#42
Old 03-13-2008, 09:05 AM
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It means "own" and the second paragraph of that Wikipedia definition came first. I saw them being used interchangeably as early as...1995? 1996 at the very latest. Crossover between internet security hobbyists and FPS players saw its migration from IRC channels into gaming servers shortly thereafter. But it was originally just what someone would say (type) when they had root (or claimed to have root) on a box not their own. Root = woot, which is why you have woot as a happy exclamation getting popular at about the same time. Woot died out about five minutes later for obvious reasons, but "pwone" survives and still gets used even if only ironically.
#43
Old 03-13-2008, 10:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hostile Dialect
Are you seriously suggesting that the original users of "pwn" claimed it was the correct spelling? Are you sure?
No, you're right, I take that back. It was adopted ironically, if anything, not as a correct spelling in earnest.
#44
Old 03-13-2008, 10:49 AM
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I think any arguments that "pwn" originated from any source other than common mispellings just doesn't hold water in the context of the usage. As others have pointed out, it is often used in conjunction with other words like "teh" "kewl" "lawl" "!!!1" etc. Besides the fact that if it stood for "powerfully owned" "pown" would make more sense, common phrases will more often have an accronym than some sort of contraction.
#45
Old 03-13-2008, 12:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grossbottom
Woot died out about five minutes later for obvious reasons, but "pwone" survives and still gets used even if only ironically.
Woot is hardly dead. I see it used all the time.

EDIT: One example: woot.com

Last edited by Praetor; 03-13-2008 at 12:58 PM.
#46
Old 03-13-2008, 01:02 PM
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Woot is an excellent exclamation to express pleasure, like woo or woohoo. Woot.com is an awesome website. w00t is just silly.
#47
Old 03-13-2008, 01:19 PM
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Revision: Woot died out about five minutes later [amongst its originators and early adopters but persisted amongst script kiddies and gamers for years to come, causing pain and unmitigated flinches of nostalgic horror for the former group] for obvious reasons, but "pwone" survives and still gets used even if only ironically.
#48
Old 03-13-2008, 06:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grossbottom
Woot died out about five minutes later
Oh, how I wish. It seems to have made a resurgence among geeky girls.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grossbottom
but "pwone" survives and still gets used even if only ironically.
Why are you spelling it like that? Anyway, I and many others still use it non-ironically today. I really don't think it became a part of the mainstream gaming lexicon until the early 2000s--or at least, that's when I first noticed it, and I was a Frag God in Quake 1.
#49
Old 03-13-2008, 09:02 PM
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You want a real kicker? Ask where 're' came from.

I been hangin around IRC since 1993, which is back in the early-ass days of that. I don't remember when I first saw pwn. I remember woot, then woop, then qoop, and all of those dying out by like... 1995.

But good old 're' ... still around.
#50
Old 03-13-2008, 09:59 PM
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Of course, to be truly l33t is to use these terms entirely without irony and only in the situations they were coined in, because anyone using them for plain old colloquial shits 'n giggles fun is obviously some out-of-it wanna-be who is mocking and disrespecting the authentic culture.
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