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The Internet can be a confusing place, even for someone who is using it every day. Because Internet language evolves every day. In fact, Internet slang words can transform language itself Don't Poke Me! How Internet Slang Words Have Transformed Language Don't Poke Me! How Internet Slang Words Have Transformed Language It's amazing to see how Internet words are having such a tremendous impact on the English language. Let's go back in time and observe just how many have infiltrated the English language Read More , so you need to know them to get by in real life.

Sure, you can look up words in online slang dictionaries 10 Online Slang Dictionaries To Learn Jargon & Street Language 10 Online Slang Dictionaries To Learn Jargon & Street Language Read More , but it’s difficult to stay clued in that way. Instead, we whipped up a quick crash course of trendy Internet acronyms and phrases.

AMA: Ask Me Anything

What It Means: Ask Me Anything is a series started on Reddit, where an authority on a subject fields open questions. It is now used more widely on the Internet, with any sort of public Q&A being termed an AMA. For example:

“Hi, I am Adam Savage, co-host of Mythbusters, AMA!”

Incidentally, Savage’s AMAs have earned him a spot on our list of the best Reddit AMAs of all time The Best Reddit AMAs Of All Time [Weird & Wonderful Web] The Best Reddit AMAs Of All Time [Weird & Wonderful Web] Under the IAmA subreddit, you'll find informal interviews with all sorts of interesting people. These are some of the best AMAs online. Read More .

Bae: Babe / Before Anyone Else

What It Means: Urban Dictionary says Bae is a Danish word for poop. Unfortunately, the Internet thinks it’s a term of endearment: either an acronym for “before anyone else” or a shortening of “babe”. Soon enough, pop stars Pharrell and Miley Cyrus turned it into a song, “Come get it, bae.” Sorry Danes, this is what the word means, now and forever. The good news is that most of the Internet also treats it as a term of mockery in memes and captions for images, so you can feel free to use it to be sassy. If you’re interested, Esquire has a detailed piece on the rise of bae.

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DAE: Does Anyone Else?

What It Means: DAE is generally a prefix for a question, where the person asking wants to know if they are not alone in whatever they are experiencing. It’s huge on Reddit, niche forums, and discussion groups, but is not used as regularly elsewhere on the Internet. For example:

DAE use the condensation from their fast food beverage container to clean their hands when a sink is not readily available?

Dafuq: (What) the f***?

What It Means: The first time you see “dafuq” on the Internet, you might think it’s a legitimate word. It’s not. Pronounce it, preferably while no kids are around. Dafuq is the Internet’s way of saying WTF because apparently, the Internet-made WTF was not convenient enough. Let not the logic of five characters being better than three characters bother you, weary Internet traveller. We have a long way to go still.

DM: Direct Message

What It Means: Twitter’s Direct Message feature lets you send private messages to your friends, or receive private messages from anyone Opt-in to Receive Direct Messages from Anyone on Twitter (If You Dare) Opt-in to Receive Direct Messages from Anyone on Twitter (If You Dare) If you want, you can let the entire Internet DM you on Twitter. Is that a good idea? Read More . It’s especially useful for sharing information you don’t want to post in public, like your phone number or address. “DM” is slowly becoming the default way of telling someone to message you privately, much like “PM” in the past for personal message/private message. For example:

“DM me your contact number plz!”

ELI5: Explain Like I’m 5

What It Means: When someone gives a complex explanation for an event and you need them to dumb it down for you, ask them to “explain it like I’m 5 years old”, or ELI5. Most often, it’s used to explain science or technology in layman’s terms. Big on Reddit and discussion forums, not so big on other forms. Here’s an example from Hacker News:


FML: F*** My Life

What It Means: As old as this is, it’s still used a lot. The idea is that when you go through an unfortunate event, share it with the world by tagging it with “FML”. Simple. It’s actually pretty therapeutic, especially if you want to confess your misfortunes anonymously at a place like FMyLife, which is one of the best sites to read true stories from real people 7 Best Sites, Forums, and Sub-Reddits for True Stories from Real People 7 Best Sites, Forums, and Sub-Reddits for True Stories from Real People Everyone loves a good story. And the best stories, more often than not, are true stories. Some websites are aimed at being a platform for people to tell their honest tale. Here are seven. Read More .


FTFY: Fixed That For You

What It Means: This particular phrase is used in two ways. The first is literal, where if you say something that has an obvious unintentional mistake, another person on the Internet corrects it for you, adding, “FTFY.” The other way is sarcastic. For example:

Matthew says, “4 reasons vinyl is better than digital 4 Reasons Why Vinyl Is Better Than Digital 4 Reasons Why Vinyl Is Better Than Digital Greetings, peasants! What, still listening to MP3s? Look, as someone who knows more about music than you, I think it's my duty to tell you there's a better way. It's called vinyl. Read More .”

Harry quips, “4 reasons digital is better than vinyl Forget Vinyl: 4 Reasons Digital Is Superior Forget Vinyl: 4 Reasons Digital Is Superior Vinyl is overrated. Fact. Digital is clearly superior for many reasons, some of which we lay out below for your reading pleasure. Feel free to disagree, even if doing so makes you a massive hipster. Read More #FTFY.”

Facepalm: Short for “Ugh, idiot.”

What It Means: When someone does something stupid, instinctively, your palm hits your own face or forehead. That entire series of action is now reduced to a single word: facepalm. It can be used to convey dismay, disappointment, ridicule, or disapproval.

Headdesk: Supreme frustration

What It Means: Headdesk is the extreme facepalm. When someone says or does something monumentally idiotic, you hit your head on the desk to convey your utter loss of faith in humanity. As you flail for hope, take solace in the knowledge that at least you can express your feelings in one succinct word.


HIFW: How I Felt When

What It Means: This is another acronym that reduces the number of characters you type, giving you more space to say what you want in the 140-character limitation of Twitter. Typically, HIFW is paired with an image, video, or a hilarious reaction GIF when words aren’t enough 5 Reaction GIF Sites For When You Just Don't Know What To Say 5 Reaction GIF Sites For When You Just Don't Know What To Say Reaction GIFs are a crucial part of Internet communication that help provide emotion where mere text cannot. Many people may say that they are over-used and tacky. However, where punctuation can make the difference between... Read More .

ICYMI: In Case You Missed It

What It Means: One of the few times the Internet tries to be polite, ICYMI is just a precaution when you aren’t sure if other people already know about something, or when you are repeating something you have said before. It’s a way of saying, “You might have already seen this, but if not, here you go.”

IDGAF: I Don’t Give A F***

What It Means: It means exactly what it means in English: a crass, emphatic way of saying that you don’t care.

IMO / IMHO: In My Opinion / In My Humble Opinion

What It Means: Another Internet classic, IMO is the safe way to express your opinions without making it sound like you are proclaiming a universal truth. IMHO is the way to do that while seeming humble, or at least pretending to. Since the Internet is always up for a debate The Internet Is Opinion Saturated And Why I Am Quitting The Debates [Opinion] The Internet Is Opinion Saturated And Why I Am Quitting The Debates [Opinion] The Internet is an interesting creature. I know I'm dating myself here, but sometimes I'm thankful that I had the opportunity during my life to personally experience the birth and growth of the Internet. Then,... Read More , those are the perfect forums to use these two acronyms in. For example:

IMO, cursive writing is obsolete Cursive Writing Is Obsolete; Schools Should Teach Programming Instead [Opinion] Cursive Writing Is Obsolete; Schools Should Teach Programming Instead [Opinion] Cursive writing is an anachronism. Spending any classroom time on it is a waste because as a day-to-day skill, it is not at all practical in the modern, connected world. Read More .

IRL: In Real Life

What It Means: The Internet is the virtual life. People often have a whole second persona online, or keep their real life neatly separated from their online life. If you want to talk about something in your real life, the qualifier “IRL” is enough to let people know. Just remember, the Internet can aid in real-life interactions Real Life Interactions Can Start With Facebook: Here's How [Weekly Facebook Tips] Real Life Interactions Can Start With Facebook: Here's How [Weekly Facebook Tips] Is Facebook taking over your life or is it leading to more interactions? Read More .

JSYK: Just So You Know

What It Means: FYI, if you still use “FYI” to be sassy when schooling someone, you’re old. JSYK is the new FYI, so get with it. End of.

Lulz: Kicks (as in “For kicks”)

What It Means: Lulz is an off-shoot of LOLs*. Lulz is usually used in the form of “For the lulz”, which would be just like saying “for the kicks” or “for the laughs”. It’s a justification for whatever you’re doing or saying; the justification being that it’s for a few laughs.

*If you need to know what LOL is, then you need a much more basic “Internet for Dummies 101” guide than this article.

MFW: My Face When

MRW: My Reaction When

MIRL: Me In Real Life

What It Means: Like HIFW, these are mainly intended as reactions coupled with photos or GIFs. They are also often used to provide a funny caption to an image of a trending topic. Of course, in the case of MFW, the image has to have someone’s face.

NSFW: Not Safe For Work

What It Means: If you’re at the office, you don’t want to open a link that has nudity, graphic language, or anything offensive. If the link says “NSFW”, then it’s not safe to open in an environment where someone might see it and be offended.

NSFL: Not Safe For Life

What It Means: In Internet lingo, NSFW is now used more for something that would be offensive in a formal environment, but would be fine if you’re around friends. NSFL usually has images, videos or content so graphic that it could be scarring for your eyes, whether around others or not.

PAW: Parents Are Watching

What It Means: Literally that. If kids want to avoid saying or showing something while their parents are around, PAW is a warning to the recipient. In recent times, Code 9 has been also been used instead of PAW, although it hasn’t caught on that much yet. For example:

Her: You want to send me that Snapchat?

Him: paw later

QFT: Quoted For Truth

What It Means: There are two ways this is used. First, when someone says something you agree with so vehemently that you couldn’t have said it better yourself. Second, when someone says something and you want to hold them to it in the future, as proof. For example:

A: “I gotta say, Bieber is pretty good sometimes.”

B: “QFT, I’ll remind you about this when you aren’t drunk.”

SMH: Shaking My Head

What It Means: Like headdesk and facepalm, SMH is used to convey your disappointment at someone doing or saying something utterly stupid.

TBT: Throwback Thursday

What It Means: When you want to post an old photo, hold off till Thursday and tag it with #ThrowbackThursday or #TBT. It’s a sure-fire way to get more likes and comments on Instagram How to Get More Likes and Comments on Instagram, According to Science How to Get More Likes and Comments on Instagram, According to Science Read More . While TBT is used more on Instagram than anywhere else, it has become a central part of the Internet’s lexicon and is used everywhere.

TIL: Today I Learned

What It Means: When you learn about information that isn’t new but is novel for you, share it with the world by adding a “TIL”. This is used almost everywhere on the Internet, but mainly on Reddit. In fact, the TIL sub-reddit is a great place to learn stuff every day 5 Best Subreddits To Learn Cool Stuff 5 Best Subreddits To Learn Cool Stuff Reddit is more than just a time sink where you can look at pretty girls, read about nerdy stuff, and procrastinate as you build a memory of random trivia. Reddit can be used to learn... Read More . For example:

TIL Leonard Nimoy once gave a cab ride to JFK. The future president told the aspiring actor, “Lots of competition in your business, just like in mine. Just remember there’s always room for one more good one”.

TL;DR: Too Long; Didn’t Read

What It Means: The Internet is a treasure trove of detailed information, but sometimes, you just want the basic nugget and not read the whole thing. TL;DR or TLDR was invented to give a quick summary of the content. For example:

20 geeky TL;DR Wikipedia entries you need to read Time Is Short: 20 Geeky TL;DR Wikipedia Entries You Need To Read [Weird & Wonderful Web] Time Is Short: 20 Geeky TL;DR Wikipedia Entries You Need To Read [Weird & Wonderful Web] Wikipedia can be a little wordy. So, what we need is an alternative version of Wikipedia which condenses the information down to its bare essentials. Read More

YMMV: Your Mileage May Vary

What It Means: In a similar situation or with a product, your experience might not be the same as someone else’s experience. The Internet has decided to make it easy to say that with “YMMV”.

YOLO: You Only Live Once

What It Means: YOLO is a justification for doing something that you probably shouldn’t be doing, but want to do it anyway. It’s also used ironically as commentary on someone else doing something idiotic.

Bonus! The Shruggie

What It Means: The humble shrug, expressed in the form of a few lines and strokes. Like this: shurggie-shown

It can range in meaning: “whatever”, “why not”, “who knows”, “doesn’t matter”, “enh”, and almost anything else that’s a quick dismissal. The Awl’s piece on the “shruggie” or the “smugshrug” that’s worth a read if you’re more interested in this super-popular reaction emoticon.

What Did We Miss?

This isn’t an exhaustive list of the trendiest Internet slang, so tell us what we missed. What acronym or word did you recently come across that you had to look up on the Internet?

Image Credits: internet slang Via Shutterstock

  1. reloading._.xoxo, follow my instagram
    October 20, 2016 at 8:19 pm

    IDK: i don't know
    TBH: to be honest
    TBR: to be rude
    LOLZ: it doesn't stand for anything but it means that something is funny or amusement.

  2. Pizza Cat300
    October 19, 2016 at 11:05 pm


  3. Daddy Dadddy Dab
    October 10, 2016 at 10:23 pm

    MILF- Moms I love forever
    DILF- Dads I love forever

  4. Eagle
    September 28, 2016 at 2:43 pm

    You have do do LMAO

  5. Adbos
    August 18, 2016 at 4:00 am

    What does YADFF mean

  6. Mary
    July 20, 2016 at 1:57 pm

    can anyone tell me what "zbb" means please

    • Silent Sucker
      August 21, 2016 at 2:42 pm

      zero boobs

    • lily
      August 31, 2016 at 9:57 am

      zero based budgeting

  7. Lo
    July 20, 2016 at 5:32 am

    G4B- God forbid

    March 7, 2016 at 10:32 pm

    Yolo! Have u read Lord of the Rings? I didn't because it was TL;DR. by the way Donald Trump sucks! IDGAS! xD roflmao!

  9. BenFranklin-pre-death
    March 4, 2016 at 10:15 pm

    "Trendy" internet speak is nothing more than social media-spread valley girl talk. This throw-away culture has taken to altering large swathes of its language every 2-3 years. It makes you sound absolutely fucking stupid if not totally trashy. The internet has allowed language to become a part of the same throw-away garbage culture that pop music has become. In fact, it seems like everything the masses of internet users touch turns to pure throw away trash within a couple years. Since the blooming of the internet, trash culture has blasted off, celebrities have become exponentially more trashy, and social standards have gone down the toilet. It seems like people love to exercise their freedom... freedom to act like trashy assholes and really nothing more than that. Anti-war protests and groups are at all time lows, union busting is at an all time high, militarized police now patrol our streets, and total widespread surveillance has become common place even though crime and actual dangers to everyday life had already been at all-time lows before. Yet we don't give as hit. We love swimming in our mountainous landscapes of garbage / trash culture. The language has simply reflected the reality of our society. Garbage in, garbage out.

    "So, like OMG, dafuq? YOLO so WTF? Like, ummm, why read that paragraph? It's like tots TL;DR! Just chillax, bae. IRL IDGAF." Facepalm. No wonder Drumpf is going to be our next president... headdesk.

    • Revonda Ball
      March 21, 2016 at 10:04 pm


      • Revonda Ball
        March 21, 2016 at 10:06 pm

        Meaning: I know, right?

    • Tatkret
      May 18, 2016 at 11:03 am

      You must be fun at parties.

  10. Kai
    February 23, 2016 at 5:49 am

    OMG words can me different things in different languages ???? Bae and Bæ are not the same thing. Plus the term Bae doesn't mean "before anyone else" it was just a shortened way of saying baby that has been used by black people since the early '90s

    • Mark Harrison
      September 14, 2016 at 4:53 pm

      Yup, it's been used for babe/baby for about 20 years or so for sure.

  11. MizFurbaall
    February 2, 2016 at 8:20 pm

    I have been coming across the term "DOLORES" (all caps) frequently. I have not been able to find out its meaning.

    • Lola
      July 2, 2016 at 10:36 pm

      Thats spanish for a lot of pain

  12. Jim
    February 2, 2016 at 10:48 am

    PMHT or #PMHT short for Pardon My Hashtag is going around a lot now. It's a way of saying, here's my hashtags.....Sorry for dumping them on you like this!

  13. Luiz Fernando Alves
    July 31, 2015 at 4:07 pm

    There's a very important one IMO, which is
    INB4 = an expression commonly used on discussion forums and imageboards to forecast an anticipated response or a predictable outcome within a given thread.
    Example: someone asks for help in a post full of spelling mistakes. You know there will be people more keen into pointing the mistakes (which are not what's being discussed) instead of actually answering the OP. So, before they do, you can post "inb4: grammar nazis", meaning "yeah, yeah, everyone noticed the mistakes, there's no need to play smart. now let's get to the real point of the discussion here."

    • Mihir Patkar
      August 3, 2015 at 8:57 am

      That's a good one, Luiz, thanks! You're right, I've seen it often on Reddit.

    • ENZO
      November 12, 2015 at 3:00 am

      NSS !!!

  14. Mici Cronstedt
    July 17, 2015 at 7:53 am

    NSS = No Shit Sherlock?! seems to be pretty much the same as Facepalm. Widely used in our family, but not sure where it comes from.

    • Mihir Patkar
      July 30, 2015 at 6:23 am

      Hahahaha I love this!

    • gary reid
      January 23, 2016 at 8:21 pm

      Actually other than the obvious which is that its referring to Sherlock Holmes and his power of deduction (possibly a phrase Dr. Watson might have exclaimed), one might offer the following; You see there were these two brothers from the "Lott" family who owned a farm together. One day the older brother named Sherm noted that their garden was not performing well. He told his younger brother to go to the pasture to get some manure to spread in the garden. After several hours when his brother didn't return he sent a neighbor to search out his brother. The neighbor return to pass a message from the young brother. which was your brother says "No Sh*t", Mr. Shem Lott! Well through the years that phrase has been shortened to NSS = No Shit Sherlock. There you have it.

  15. Davis “??” Wiitala
    July 16, 2015 at 8:29 pm

    The one thing I'd have to mention is: it's not called a 'shruggie.' It's called "'sup son." Originating from StarCraft II eSports fans.

    • Mihir Patkar
      July 30, 2015 at 6:24 am

      Oh really? Interesting! I've only heard it referred to as the shruggie, shrug, or smugshrug.

  16. Guy Davis
    July 16, 2015 at 5:10 pm

    Quite a few of these have been in use for a long time; so not very "trendy". Although a few examples are pretty recent.

    I never believed that PAW was used much IRL. Maybe back in the days of BBS and dial up modems, when just getting on line was a hassle and your only screen was a big monitor. How many parents have you seen hovering over a kid while they are texting?

    • Mihir Patkar
      July 30, 2015 at 6:25 am

      By trendy, I meant phrases/acronyms that are used regularly right now. I'm not debating their age, just saying that it's likely you might see one of these.

  17. saw101
    July 16, 2015 at 1:19 am

    Really want to know what you missed?? You missed WDWM: What Did We Miss.

    • Mihir Patkar
      July 30, 2015 at 6:25 am


  18. John Everett
    July 15, 2015 at 8:42 pm

    -\('J) OK I give up- How do you make a "shruggie"??

    • Mihir Patkar
      July 30, 2015 at 6:26 am

      Hello and welcome to the fan club of

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