Since the early days of the web (and even before that, for the small number of you who had BBS or Newsgroup access in the ’80s and early ’90s), standard English has come off as a cyber no-no, something to be ignored for the sake of typing convenience and the desire to be snarky with text. Yet while most people online LOL at cat macros and ROFL after being Rickrolled by clicking on the link of a coworker’s email, there are still many phrases and abbreviations out there that only the most “1337” of users know.
a/s/l – Age/sex/location. Someone might ask you this on a chat room, by email, or through a text message from a new number. While the question is innocent enough, it is often one of the first to me raised by those…looking for a good time, often illegally.
AFAIK – As Far As I Know. Use this when you’re expressing your apparent observation about something currently happening, or something that already occurred. There are variants of it that include AFAICT (as far as I can tell) and AFAIR (as far as I remember)
BBFBBM – Body by Fisher, Brains by Mattel. Enough said.
BRB – Be Right Back. When you have to stop chatting with someone, you write that you have to do something else and that you’ll return soon…although “soon”, from my anecdotal evidence, can be anywhere from two minutes to nearly two hours.
B/C – Because. A holdover from pre-Internet shorthand (I recall learning this abbreviation in grade school) it has thrived b/c of its existing popularity and unarguable convenience.
BTW – By the way.
BYO – Bring Your Own ____. When attending certain events that ask you to supply others, keep this abbreviation in mind. The most common variant is BYOB, or Bring Your Own Beer, something that you should do for barbeques and any establishments that will try and stop you from getting plastered.
C2C – Care to chat?
CRAP – Cheap, redundant assorted products. Have a laptop with no battery charge or a new car that needs its transmission replaced? Then this acronym (and word) is for you!
CRAT – Can’t Remember a Thing. Use this to describe your state of mind, or lack thereof. Also has an expletive-filled counterpart: CRAFT.
CYA – Cover your ass. When you make a mess through the sheer force of your own incompetence, an excuse or a diversion can come in handy.
DFTT – Don’t feed the trolls. If you happen to encounter some of the Internet’s least desirable creatures of your favorite message boards, please don’t encourage them to stay and vie for your attention. Let them whither away and take their infantile rants to another site.
DOA – Dead on arrival. Any attempt at something, especially if it is done poorly, is almost sure to fail from the start.
EOM – End of message. A good way to end a post, especially for shorter ones.
FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions. Often ignored by many a visitor, FAQ sections of websites provide answers to questions that people have asked often.
FYI – For your information.
G2G – Got to go. Use this when you need to stop talking with someone. Other variations include GTG and GG
Gr8 – Great. As a general online rule, use the number eight with any word that sounds like “ate” at the end.
GTK – Good to know.
H4X0R – Hacker. A great example of “leet-speak,” or “elite” Internet slang used by people who frequent tech and gaming sites (or those who joke about being computer-savvy) that is primarily alphanumeric in its spelling substitutions. For example, in leet-speak, the letter “A” is replaced with a 4.
HAND – Have a nice day.
IC – I see
IDC – I don’t care.
IDK – I don’t know
IMO – In my opinion. Use this to start off describing your position on a given issue. IMHO, in my humble/honest opinion, is another version.
J/K – Just kidding.
JP – Just playing
K – OK
KISS – Keep it simple, stupid. Give someone a KISS when they are talking in a convoluted way.
1337/Leet – “Elite,” the namesake for “leet-speak.” Those who talk in leet-speak wear the number as a badge of honor.
L8R – Later
LMAO – Laughing my ass off
LOL – Laughing out loud. One of the most widely used terms, LOL epitomizes the cyber lexicon. It is used casually when writing articles (such as this one) to make a point about online vocabulary.
LY – Love you.
Meh – Who cares?
MTF – More to follow…
MYOB – Mind your own business!
N/A – Not applicable
N/T – No text. Use this abbreviation when you don’t have anything to write in the body of a message board post.
N2M – Not to mention, or not too much
NBD – No big deal
NE1 – Anyone
NM – Never mind, not much
O RLY? – Oh really? Use this comment when someone makes a comment about something that it already obvious to others…and make sure to include a picture of this owl in your response.
OAO – Over and out!
OATUS – On a totally unrelated subject…
OMG – Oh my god! One of the most common abbreviations known, it is used to make a point about being excited or surprised.
OP – Original poster (for a message board topic)
OT – Off topic
OTW – Off the wall
PANS – Pretty awesome news stuff.
PITA – Pain in the ass.
PPL – People
Pr0n – Porn in leet-speak
Pwn – To “pawn,” or to dominate someone, in leet-speak
QLS – Reply
QT – Cutie
RE – Hello again! Also use REHI
RNN – Reply not necessary
ROFL – Rolling on the floor, laughing. You can also combine the term with LOL and LMAO at the end.
RU – Are you…?
RUNTS – Are you nuts?
RUS – Are you serious?
SIT – Stay in touch
Sk8/Sk8r – Skate, skater
SO – Significant other
SOBT – Stressed out, big time
SYS – See you soon
TBH – To be honest
TC – Take care
TCOY – Take care of yourself
TL;DR — Too long; didn’t read
TFX – Terrific
THX/TNX – Thanks
TTYL/TTUL – Talk to you later
UR – You are/your
URW – You are welcome
VBG/VBS – Very big grin/very big smile
W/ – With
W00t – Woo hoo, or yay! Used to express excitement in leet-speak. Was named Word of the Year for 2007 by Merriam-Webster.
WTG – Way to go!
WUWH – Wish you were here
X-I-10 – Exciting
XME – Excuse me
Y – Why?
YGBK – You gotta be kidding!
YGWYPF – You get what you pay for
YTB – You’re the best
YW – You’re welcome
ZZZ – Sleeping, bored, tired