Remember the days before smartphones? Back in those days, direct messages were limited to 160 characters. And before unlimited texting plans, each message would cost money, too. Needless to say, you had to convey your message in the most practical and concise manner possible. That’s how texting abbreviations were born.
Even though all those texting limits were removed today, abbreviations remain an inseparable part of texting culture. And they evolve at a rapid speed too! You’re probably familiar with the common “LOL” and “OMG,” but what about ROFL or FWIW? If these letter combinations look intangible to you, it might be time to brush up on your texting lingo. Luckily, we rounded up 15 of the most common internet acronyms you should know.
This simple and super useful abbreviation means Thank You (TY) or Thank You SO Much (TYSM). It is one of the most commonly used text abbreviations out there. You may see it in another variation - THX meaning ‘thanks.’
The first thing that comes to mind when you see the letters BC might be ‘Before Christ,’ but in texting terms, BC is short for the word ‘because.’ Often, texting abbreviations like this won’t be capitalized. For example, “I couldn’t come to the party bc I was feeling under the weather.”
Let’s be honest. When people use this abbreviation, they’re most likely not literally rolling on the floor laughing. However, it’s a stronger indicator than simply ‘haha’ that you find something funny. You could add an exclamation mark or laughing emoji to make the message even clearer.
Since the expression ‘Him me up’ is slang, it might need further explanation. Hit me up means 'contact me' or 'call me.' The phrase originated in the 1990s hip-hop culture. During those days, many people used one-way pagers, which were unable to receive text-based messages. When someone would call (beep) your pager from their phone, the device would light up and make an audible ‘beep’ sound.
‘Hit up’ grew out of the specific rules of paging. Rappers used the phrase in hundreds of popular songs until it eventually became mainstream. While pagers are now extinct, the abbreviation evolved, and it is now closely associated with cell phones.
You have probably seen this popular abbreviation often. And if you weren’t sure before, now you know that NBD means 'no big deal.' For example, if someone says they'll be a few minutes late to your meeting and apologizes, you can reply “Don’t worry about it, it’s NBD!”
This abbreviation, which translates to “let me know,” is useful in many situations - from reminding someone to send you an update to putting the ball in their court when you are trying to decide on something. For example, if you’re trying to arrange a meeting with a group of friends and one person isn’t sure if they can make it, you can tell them “Alright, LMK when you know.”
Needless to say, using the abbreviation ILY to say 'I Love You' makes this usually heartfelt statement pretty casual. You can certainly use it when texting a long-time significant other or a very close friend or relative. But perhaps, it’s best to avoid it if you want to give your message a deeper or more meaningful tone.
OMW means 'On My Way,' but it often gets used by people who are... not quite on their way yet. Still in the middle of blow-drying your hair? Just got out of the shower, even though you were supposed to leave 10 minutes ago? This abbreviation covers all of those situations.
NVM is short for 'Nevermind,' and you would use it the same way you use the phrase in real life - when telling someone not to be concerned about or give attention to something. For example, you might be texting your spouse or children "Where did you leave the remote?" and follow the text with “NVM Found it!” five minutes later.
In a world where so much of life happens online, there is a need for a term that describes what happens outside of the screen, in real life. And that’s exactly what the letters IRL stand for. The phrase emerged in the early days of the internet in the 1990s and was added to the English Oxford Dictionary in 2000.
For example, if you haven’t met up with someone face-to-face in a long time due to Covid-19 restrictions, you can say “I can’t wait to meet you IRL!”
Imagine you are waiting for your friend at a restaurant you decided upon, but they are running late. After waiting for a while, you might want to ask them what their Estimated Time of Arrival is. That is quite a long phrase to text out, so ETA was born as shorthand for the long phrase. In fact, this is an abbreviation you’re likely to hear people say out loud, too.
This is another abbreviation that became common beyond the digital sphere of texting. TMI stands for "Too Much Information." If your friend decides to share every detail of their food poisoning with you, “TMI” would be the perfect response.
Another way people use this phrase is as follows. When someone prefaces a story with the words, “This might be TMI, but…,” it indicates that they are about to share some personal information.
FWIW means 'For What It’s Worth.' It almost always comes at the start of a statement in the sense of “You may choose to ignore or disagree with this, but I’ll say it anyway.” You can think of it as a mixture of “in my opinion” and “for your information.” What started out as an economic phrase turned into a popular snarky but polite way to preface a strong opinion.
Standing for 'Shaking My Head,' SMH is an internet slang term used to convey disappointment, disapproval, or frustration. Some would even say it has an air of condescension. So it’s definitely important to keep your audience and your intention in mind before using SMH. One example would be, “the neighbors are having a loud party again while I’m trying to sleep SMH.”
The popular abbreviation IMO, meaning 'In My Opinion,' is another one that can cause the recipient to brace themselves for what is about to come. However, it’s by no means necessarily sassy or controversial. It simply means that the following statement is your own opinion, and people don’t always share the same opinions, after all. So sometimes, it's worth pointing out that you're about to express your own opinion and not a fact.
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