New(?) jargon using the verb, _root_

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Mon Nov 19 04:38:51 UTC 2012

On Sun, Nov 18, 2012 at 10:04 PM, ADSGarson O'Toole wrote:
> In the 1998 example below the spelling for "rooted" is "r00t3d". This
> is "leet" style parody spelling. This date can be pushed back I
> believe. But searching Google Groups is a Sisyphean task. The results
> are inconsistent and nonsensical. Also, maybe Phrack magazine has an
> early cite.
> Newsgroups: uk.telecom,
> From: Paul Gregg
> Date: 1998/12/26
> Subject: Re: Free Calls to 07050 numbers
> [Begin excerpt]
> Absolute tripe. Unless you've r00t3d every news server in the world.
> Which isn't the case since you sent begging emails to all ISPs begging
> us to add your crap.
> [End excerpt]

With the usual spelling, the hacker sense of "rooted" can be pushed
back to 1997:

---, Sep. 27, 1997
So if it IS an evil program, they've already got you rooted.

This issue of "ThE HaX0R bRoThErS NeWzLetTeR" from Oct. 1997 has a
couple of alternate spellings:

YeS w3 DiD iT@# ThE hAX0R bR0tHErZ roOTED mTv!
WaRPY iS bEinG r00TeD

An earlier issue of the newsletter (from June 1997) has "R00tErZ":


Ben Zimmer

The American Dialect Society -

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