Learn The Lingo: Common Gaming Terms You Should Know

Dave Parrack 20-06-2013

gaming termsFor those who don’t play video games, the world of Call of Duty and Final Fantasy must seem totally alien. This is fine, so long as you remain disinterested in video games. But what if you suddenly decide gaming might be for you? Or decide that you’ve had enough of being a casual gamer filling the pockets of Nintendo and opt instead to progress up to being a core gamer filling the pockets of Sony or Microsoft?


All hobbies have their own terminology; sets of words and phrases that are only known to those actively involved. Gaming is no exception. What follows are 20 of the most common gaming terms, along with short, easy-to-understand definitions. Think of this as a crash course in gaming lingo that will prevent you looking like a n00b in front of your fellow clan members. If that sentence makes no sense then you’ve come to the right place.

General Gaming Terms

gaming terms

Easter Eggs — Easter eggs are hidden features such as a new character or secret level. They don’t just appear in video games, with Google particularly known for hiding them in plain view 10 Video Game-Related Easter Eggs From Google Google Docs contains a dragon, YouTube's video player contains a hidden game, and zerglings are waiting to devour your search results when you challenge them to a battle. Over the years, many video game-related Easter... Read More .

Triple-A (AAA) — A game is described as being a triple-AAA title if it has a big budget, a lot of backing, and receives almost universal praise from fans and critics alike.

Grinding — This is the act of plugging away at a certain element of a game, for example, raising your experience level in an RPG by continually getting into random fights with monsters.


Glitching — Despite being subjected to QA testing, most games ship with bugs intact. Encountering one could lead to you glitching; getting stuck in a wall, for example.

Clan — Most team-based games have clans, which are disparate groups of friends or strangers who come together to form a team. Clan matches are when two clans face off against each other.

Common Acronyms

gaming terminology

DLC — Or Downloadable Content. This term applies to all additional content that can be purchased online and downloaded onto your system. Includes new levels, characters, costumes, etc.


FPS — Or First-Person Shooter. This term refers to the genre of game in which you see the world through the eyes of your character. They commonly show a weapon floating around in front of you.

MMORPG — Or Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game. This term refers to games such as World of Warcraft which see millions of people occupy the same game world at one time.

PvP — Or Player vs. Player. This term refers to games (or portions of games) which see one or more human players face off against one or more other human players.

NPC — Or Non-Player Character. This gaming term refers to all characters in a game not controlled by the player or a human opponent. The behavior of NPCs is controlled by AI (artificial intelligence).


Online Utterances

gaming terminology

n00b — Short for newbie, refers to new players who clearly possess no skill or are otherwise clueless about the game. Can also be used to disparage veterans who are exhibiting n00bish behavior.

FTW! — For The Win! The exclamation point is optional but preferred. Used as a general expression of enthusiasm – example: MakeUseOf FTW! – on the Internet as well as in video games.

Pwned — A corruption of “owned,” used to refer to those times when someone has dominated or been dominated. If you beat another player 10-0 in a one-on-one match, for instance. Teabagging said player to celebrate the pwning is optional.


Camper — Primarily used in online shooters to refer to people who stand, sit, or lie still rather than rove around the map. Camping is frowned upon, and taking a camper out of the game is very satisfying.

Spammer — Primarily used in online shooters to refer to people who keep their finger pressed down on the trigger button at all time. Any kills they make are more as a result of luck than skill.

Technical Jargon

gaming terms

Kill Ratio — Most online shooters rank players according to their kill ratio. You’d be ranked higher for ending a game with 6 kills and 0 deaths than you would for 10 kills and 6 deaths.

XP — A shortened version of Experience Points, which are racked up as you progress through a game. Hitting certain levels of XP usually sees your character level up and gain new abilities or weapons.

BotsMultiplayer gaming The 10 Greatest Free MMORPGs To Start Playing Now The landscape of MMORPG gaming has never been better than it is today. Some may pine for the good old days when games like Ultima Online, Everquest, and Dark Age of Camelot dominated the scene,... Read More doesn’t always require you to have real friends, as bots (AI players) can take their place instead. You can usually choose the difficulty of bot you want to face off against.

Ping — In online gaming your ping is the time (in milliseconds) it takes for information to travel to the server and back. The lower the ping the better.

Lag — If your ping (or latency) is too high then you may experience lag. This is when your real-life actions take too long to translate to the actions on screen, making a game virtually unplayable.


You should now be much better versed in the gaming terms used in and around games, though these are only a fraction of the phrases freely bandied about between players competing online. These should at least stand you in good stead the first time you head online to play against real people in (virtual) fights to the death.

What do you think of the terminology that has arisen around video games? Are there are words, phrases, or acronyms you think should have been included in this list but weren’t? Have you ever called anyone a n00b? Or been caught camping in an online shooter? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

We’ll leave you with one more gaming term you should know about: RNG. Learn what is RNG and how it affects games What Is RNG? A Lesson for Gamers What is RNG and how does it affect video games? Here's everything you need to know about RNG and how it's used in games. Read More .

Image Credits: Katherine McAdoo, Jackie, John Trainor, Trochim, Joriel Jimenez

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

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  1. Chayzer
    July 28, 2019 at 7:48 am

    Fine list of certain fundamental gaming terms. And readers have added an impressive list as well.

    Anyway, here's my addition: You forgot the term "buck".

    Oh, yes, and you also forgot the term: "mob"
    (Now where would we be if we couldn't talk about the mobs? Unimaginable chaos would result!)

  2. Hashim Mousa
    July 12, 2018 at 6:45 pm

    thanks a lot , tomorrow I have an interview in a videogames company and this was like gold to me :)

  3. YouTube : megamitegamer
    April 11, 2017 at 8:57 pm

    STFU, GTFO AND KYS M8!!!! LOL :pppppppppp XD

  4. :ppppp
    January 11, 2016 at 10:55 pm

    gr8 m8 i r8 8/8

  5. Kida
    May 2, 2015 at 7:48 am

    I was wondering if there was a word for when you mess up in a game and you jump back to the last save point.

    • Anonymous
      May 3, 2015 at 3:57 am

      That would be "respawning".

      • Bectorneri
        January 20, 2019 at 11:43 pm

        I will win this game.. And pls if ever i want to play again with you.. I hope it will be my last and forever.. Because game is my life.. Im a real republic of gamers...

      • Bectorneri
        January 20, 2019 at 11:45 pm

        I will win this game.. And i hope if i will win this game.. This will be my last and be forever.. I like games a lot... Because im the real REPUBLIC OF GAMERS

    • Slider
      August 2, 2016 at 5:04 pm

      Save scamming / save scumming is also a term. Generally when you messup and reload an earlier save in order to miss/avoid a bad/terrible/game breaking outcome.

  6. Yewty
    January 21, 2015 at 3:41 pm

    th3s3 scrubs couldn't even 1v1 me if i was a lone imp outside of a lee!

    Additional terms:

    Rekt - Almost literally translates to wrecked. Similar to pwned.

    Scrub - Like a noob.

    AA - Admin abuse.

    Noscope - Shooting someone with a sniper without using the scope.

    Quickscope - Zooming in and out of the sniper scope while firing quick shots.

  7. Samir Chong
    June 21, 2013 at 7:17 pm

    DC - DisConnected, usually not intentionally (bad internet line, game crashed, need to RC, PC shut down etc) when playing online games.

    RC - ReConnecting back into the game/match after DC.

    RageQuit - Usually used in PvP online games (CS, CoD, Dota2, LOL etc.) when a player rage out and logout/quiting in the middle of a match, mostly done by n00bs after been pwned multiple times.

    • Dave Parrack
      June 24, 2013 at 7:14 pm

      All good suggestions. Thank you :)

  8. Justin Dennis
    June 20, 2013 at 10:55 pm

    RPG - Role-Playing Game, like Pokemon or other games where you are one person going about your life doing your thing.

    AFK - Away From Keyboard, usually used in MMORPGs to let your team know that you're leaving for a bit, like "brb" but gamers.

    Spawn-killed - usually in FPSs when you spawn and are immediately killed without a chance to do anything. Really, really aggravating.

    • Krastan D
      June 20, 2013 at 11:07 pm

      Spawn Camper - a person that waits at a spawn point so he/she can spawn-kill you, also very aggravating

    • Jacques Knipe
      June 21, 2013 at 8:50 am

      Spawn Raping: the highest level of spawn killing. The term "spawn rape" is often used when one team has the overhand on the other team, bleeding tickets at such a rate that the losing team just gives up or quits the game. This is where the term 'ragequit' is often used.
      Ragequit: the act of suddenly quitting a game because of (see above). 'Ragequitting' is best done with a string of profanities no person should ever be allowed to hear.

      • Dave Parrack
        June 24, 2013 at 7:14 pm

        Ragequitting is funny if you're the reason for it rather than the victim ;)

    • Dave Parrack
      June 24, 2013 at 7:13 pm

      All good suggestions. Thanks :)

      Spawn-killing deserves a place in an article about annoying habits of online gamers... working on it!

    • Geetartho
      February 26, 2016 at 10:10 am

      OP- overpowered. when someone's level, skills and/or equipment lvl is massively high compared to the rest he is OP. usually paid users in mmorpgs

    • Slider
      August 2, 2016 at 5:06 pm

      DAK - Dead at keyboard. Usually when you didn't let the team know you were going AFK, like an occurrence in a dungeon in WOW where said player went to...take a fracking shower....

  9. Jacques Knipe
    June 20, 2013 at 10:54 pm

    "Teabagging" should also be explained.

    • Justin Dennis
      June 20, 2013 at 11:00 pm

      good point!

      teabagging is generally when one player repeatedly stands up, crouches, stands up, crouches, (repeating) overtop of another player's dead body. it's a sign of dominance; if you killed someone you didn't like (like a camper) you would proceed to teabag their dead body. yeah, pretty morbid.

    • Dave Parrack
      June 24, 2013 at 7:12 pm

      I decided not to go into detail for obvious reasons. I knew someone would do so in the comments anyway ;)

  10. Krastan Dimitrov
    June 20, 2013 at 10:24 pm

    fps could also mean frames per second

    • Dave Parrack
      June 24, 2013 at 7:11 pm

      It could indeed! Thanks for pointing that one out :)