The world wide web was officially invented in 1989, by Tim Berners-Lee, a British scientist working at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research. I’ve been using the internet in one form or another since 1992 and I consider myself to be somewhat tech-savvy.
In addition, I’ve been using a cell phone since the days of the Motorola flip phone, also since 1992. Even though I have almost 30 years of experience with each, there are still many things that I don’t understand.
Almost daily I come across text messages, Facebook or Twitter comments, or online discussion forum conversations with an acronym, abbreviation, or other types of shorthand that I don’t understand. It seems as if an entirely different language has evolved, all in the interest of saving us keystrokes and time.
I have a history in communications, so these abbreviations tend to bug me. Why? Because for communications to be effective, all of the parties involved need to understand the language. Most people know what LOL means (Laughing Out Loud), but when you mix in acronyms like ROFL (Rolling On Floor Laughing), BRB (Be Right Back), and BAG (Big Ass Grin), then you start to lose people. If people have to ask or go somewhere else to look up the meaning, then it impacts the effectiveness of the communication.
So, for my benefit and yours, I’m compiling a list of acronyms, abbreviations, and shorthand used in chatting, texting, and online discussions. This list will be updated regularly as I come across new abbreviations, as well as from comments from users.
List of Chat Acronyms
Following is a starter-list of some of the most commonly used acronyms and their general meaning.
- 4E = Forever
- BAG – Big Ass Grin
- BBL – Be Back Later
- BBS – Be Back Soon
- BFF – Best Friends Forever. This term has become transgressed chatting and texting and is now a noun that can be found in the dictionary.
- BRB – Be Right Back
- BTW – By The Way
- CU – See you later
- CYA – Cover Your Ass. This term has been around for a long time, especially in the military, law enforcement, and the business world.
- DM = Direct Message
- FWB – Friends with benefits
- FYI – For Your Information
- HIFW = How I Feel When. HIFW is a popular acronym associated with posting memes.
- HMB – Hit Me Back
- IDC – I Don’t Care
- IFYP = I Feel Your Pain
- ILY = I Love You
- IMO = In My Opinion
- IMHO – In My Humble Opinion. A great example of one I had to look up. The shortened version, IMO (In My Opinion) is also used. I guess it depends on whether you feel humble or not.
- JK – Just Kidding
- LOL – Laughing Out Loud
- LMAO – Laughing My Ass Off (when LOL just won’t do)
- LMK – Let Me Know
- IKR – I Know, Right
- MEH – Means a sigh, or sighing. I’ve also seen it defined as a shrug. These things get really confusing when they aren’t even an acronym.
- OMG – Oh My God
- POV = Point of View
- NP – No Problem
- NVM – Nevermind
- ROFL – Rolling On The Floor Laughing (when things go beyond LMAO)
- ROTFLMAO – Rolling On The Floor Laughing My Ass Off.
- SMH – Shaking My Head (Yep, had to look this one up myself)
- SOL – Shit Out of Luck. Another one that has been around for years, but is still popular in today’s discussion.
- STFU – Shut The F**k Up
- TBH – To Be Honest
- TMI – Too Much Information
- TTFN – Ta Ta For Now, meaning goodbye
- TTYL – Talk To You Later
- WTF – What The F***
- XOXO – Hugs and Kisses.
- YOLO – You Only Live Once
- ZZZ = Bored, tired
List of Chat Symbols
In addition to chat and texting acronyms, people also use symbols to convey information, especially feeling. These symbols eventually evolved into emojis, which save even more keystrokes! Which is a good thing, because I hate typing these. Here are a few examples:
- :) = Smiling or happy
- :( = Frowning, unhappy or sad
- :p = Tongue hanging out
- :D = Big Grin
- :-|| = Angry
- :’-( = Crying
- :-)) = Laughing, very happy
Questions, Comments, and Suggestions
If you have any suggestions for the list of chat acronyms, please post a message below. If you like lists, visit our List of Lists section.