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Internet Slang

Internet slang

Internet slang is slang which Internet users have coined and promulgated. Such terms typically originated with the purpose of saving keystrokes: many use the same abbreviations in text messages. The terms often appear in lower case, with capitals often reserved for emphasis: The pronoun "I", for example, often appears simply as "i".


The vocabulary of Internet slang draws from many different sources — typically environments that placed value on brevity of communication. Some terms, such as FUBAR have roots as far back as World War II. Other terms come from more recent forms of communication, such as TTY and IRC.

Chat acronyms originally developed on pre-Internet bulletin board systems. A handful (for example, ASAP, PO'ed) far pre-date computers. The three-letter acronym remains one of the most popular types of abbreviation in computing and telecom terminology and slang. Similar systems have since come into use with users of text-messaging wireless telephones.

With the rise of instant messaging services (ICQ, AOL, and MSN, among others) the vocabulary has expanded dramatically.

Aside from instant messaging programs another realm full of online languages exists: the Internet gaming world. One of the most popular forms of video game slang has become known as H4x0r (Haxor, meaning hacker) or as 13375p34k (in leetspeak). For parents today, learning the online language can play an important role in maintaining the online safety of children. An article produced by Microsoft may help parents begin to understand some of the things their kids say in-game. (Many of the more knowledgeable "online gamers" consider this article unhelpful, especially for Microsoft's attempts to interpret 1337 speak.)

Note that many more serious internet users regard leetspeak as a trademark of people who don't know what they're doing. In these circles, leetspeak is almost always used sarcastically if at all. Such people may also label the use of leetspeak, excessive use of abbreviations, and incorrect spelling and grammar as simply rude, and a sign of laziness. In addition, sometimes chatspeak or leet can be so illegible that it becomes an annoyance for those who wish to read it.

Sometimes users make up Internet abbreviations on the spot, therefore many of them can seem confusing, obscure, whimsical, or even nonsensical. This type of on-the-spot abbreviating leads to such things as: OTP (on the phone) or the less common, OPTD (outside petting the dog). Another feature common to Internet communication involves the truncation and morphing of words to forms that users can type more readily. Examples of this include:
  • addy — "Address" (plural: "addys" or "addyz")
  • pic — "Picture" ("pics", "pix" or "piccies" for plural)
  • sig — "Signature" (also "siggy")
  • asl? — "Age/Sex/Location?" (also "a/s/l?"; a phrase often used in internet chat rooms)
  • AFAIK - "as far as I know"
  • BRB - be right back
  • LOL - laugh out loud
  • ROFL - rolling on floor laughing
  • ROFLMAO - rolling on floor laughing my ass off
The form "teh" offers a special case of this transformation. This originated as a corruption of "the", and often pops up spontaneously when typing fast. So common has it become, in fact, that it has made the jump to deliberate usage. Typically it occurs in situations where the writer presents as self-consciously enthusiastic, mimicking the less-grammatical Internet newbie: "That movie was teh sux!!", "The fight scene with all the Agent Smiths was TEH AWESOME", etc. It occurs most commonly in "teh sux/orz", "teh lame," and "teh cool".

Similarly, netizens may use the word "liek", "lyke", or "leik" as sarcastic misspellings of the word "like", as in "I LIEK PIEZ". It often implies an insult to one's intelligence and/or typing ability. "Liek" is also often used as a geeky way of typing the preposition like, for example in the phrase "...and I was liek...".

Internet abbreviations evolve and change continually. Online games provide a good place to observe language variation in use. Often, people uninterested in computer programming do not understand the more classically "nerdy" phrases like "2B||!2B" (which means "to be, or not to be"), thus such usages become useless or appear only in minority forums.

From the days of FIDO mail when many computers ran DOS we find meaning "Grin", "Big Grin", "Very Big Grin", and of course "Very Big Shit-Eating Grin". Lower-case variants ( and so on) are also used.

Common examples

Common disclaimer phrases (sometimes called "parentheticals") also often contract into acronyms — they tend to occur at certain points in a sentence, which can facilitate decoding. Common examples include:

lol Laugh Out Loud/Laughing out loudly
lmao Laughing My Ass Off
lmfao Laughing My Fucking Ass Off/Laughing My Fat Ass Off
rofl Roll On Floor Laughing. Sometimes "rofl" and "lmao" are combined into "roflmao"
omg Oh My God, sometimes "omfg" making: Oh My Fucking God
sec Just a second
iirc If I Remember Correctly
afk Away From Keyboard
bk Back, also can be spelled "bak"
bbl Be Back Later
brb Be Right Back
btw By The Way
bio Rest Room ex. "afk bio"
ftw For The Win or Fuck The World
fu Fuck You
g2g Got To Go, and sometimes Good To Go
gg good game, sometimes mockingly; vgg after a very good one
gl Good Luck before a game
gtfo Get The Fuck Out
imo In My Opinion
imho In My Honest Opinion, In My Humble Opinion
jk Just Kidding; can also be spelled "j/k"
k, kk Okay
ic I See
idk I don't know
l2p Learn To Play; In many MMORPG's, l2 can precede other aspects of the game, such as level.
log Log Off
n00b mocking term for new users
ne any
ne1 anyone
nop No or No problem
nvm never mind
stfu Shut The Fuck Up
stfumf Shut The Fuck Up Mother Fucker
tldr Too Long, Didn't Read
ttyl Talk To You Later
tttt To tell the truth
wth What The Hell
wtf What The Fuck?
hf Have Fun
lshipimfp Laughing so hard I pissed in my friend's pants
rtfm Read the Fucking Manual
oic Oh, I see
sumb stop using my brain
tc Take Care
teh the equivalent of the