because

Half the people on my Facebook friends list have linked to an article by Megan Garber in the Atlantic titled “English Has a New Preposition, Because Internet,” about the growing use of the word because in the structure “because noun,” as in “because Internet” or “because FEELINGS” or “because Science!”

That article draws on a bunch of other recent articles from the linguistoblogosphere, including one by Stan Carey that goes into more detail and provides more links. The Atlantic also provides a cute followup by Alexis Madrigal categorizing becauses, which roundaboutly reminds me of an old column of mine, “Matt Brocchini Explains It All to You”; also of Jay and Elliott's Universal Explainer.

Anyway, I think the linguists' observations about because+noun are interesting (let's not call it “because-noun,” because confusing!), but so far I haven't seen anyone talk about it specifically as a shortening of the phrase “because of,” which seems to me to be the most likely derivation. It's expanded beyond that by now; in some contexts it can be thought of as short for “because that is” or “because I like” or all sorts of other things. But I think it's closer in structure to a shortened form of “because of” than to (for example) a shortened version of “because, hey,” which was one linguist's suggestion for an earlier similar construction.