Glossary of Texting Abbreviations, Part 2

a Dictionary of Modern Text Message Terms

With the mass adoption of handheld devices, many bizarre jargon expressions have spawned. Primarily about shorthand, this jargon saves us keystrokes to say common expressions like TY (thank you) and YW (you're welcome).  The new jargon also conveys spontaneous emotion and personal feeling ('FML', 'OMG').

Here is a continued list of the most common modern text and online chat expressions.

Reminder: all of these expressions may be typed lowercase or uppercase as a matter of personal style.

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IDK - 'I Don't Know'
Glossary of Text Talk and Internet Shorthand. DRB Images / Getty

IDK - I Don't Know

IDK is a straightforward expression:  you use IDK when you cannot offer an answer to someone's question. Like most of these messaging jargon terms, you would only use IDK for personal conversations or when there is a trusted work colleague relationship established in advance. Do not use this shorthand jargon for professional communications with your client or customer. 

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sup = 'What's Up?'
sup = 'What's Up?'. Inuk Studio / Getty

SUP - What's Up

Sup is a common personal greeting amongst acquaintances, especially amongst tweenagers.  You would open a conversation with friends using "sup", in the exact same way you would ask "how are you doing?"

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fml = 'f*ck my life'
fml = 'f*ck my life'. Courtney Keating / Getty

FML - F*ck My Life

This harsh-sounding expression is a form of humorous despair... a cheeky way for people to whine "I am having a really bad day".  When used occasionally, FML can be quite funny amongst friends.

If you want to be dramatic, however, FML can also be used to shout serious despair, as in "my life is seriously pathetic". Be mindful: if you use this expression repeatedly, then your friends will start to  worry that you are in serious depression.

Never use FML in professional email conversations, especially never with clients or customers. For text messaging between friends, FML is acceptable.

FML is such a widespread expression in personal chatting, there are entire websites dedicated to humorous FML messaging:

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wtg = 'way to go!'
wtg = 'way to go!'. Thomas / Getty

WTG - Way to Go!

Also: GJ - Good Job

Also: GG - Good Game

Also: Props - Proper Respect and Recognition

WTG is a form of kudos... a way to acknowledge that someone performed some good work or achieved some good results.

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tbh = 'to be honest...'
tbh = 'to be honest...'. Thomas Barwick / Getty

TBH - To Be Honest

This expression is used to say 'I am being extra candid by saying this' or 'I am going to admit a weakness or partial failure on my part by saying this'.

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jk = 'just kidding!'
jk = 'just kidding!'. Caiaimages / Getty

JK - Just Kidding

JK is used to complete the delivery of a joke, something especially important to do when the joke is a ribbing or a playful insult.

Example of JK:

  1. User 1: o man if you're cooking then i'm going for takeout
  2. User 2: u don't like my cooking?
  3. User 1: JK! you're cooking isn't so bad, it's just the same thing every time
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ntiam = 'not that it matters'
ntiam = 'not that it matters'. DRB Images / Getty

NTIM - Not That It Matters

This is internet shorthand for saying "sadly, this statement is inconsequential". It can be used as a statement of fact, or as a way of martyring oneself while someone pushes you into doing something.

NTIM is commonly used when a conversation topic touches on something that is outside of the parties' control, or if something is being forced upon someone.

Example of NTIM usage:

  • (User 1) Did you read the news today? The USA is over 1 trillion dollars in debt for government spending. How the heck did this happen?
  • (User 2) We had to wage two wars, shut down several bankrupt banks, and rescue three major car manufacturers.
  • (User 3) NTIM, but this country is built on debt. The families who own the Federal Reserve are all laughing their heads off as they prepare to print another trillion dollars of FIAT money for our government.

Another example of NTIM usage:

  • (User 1) OK, Jeff is going to build us a new section on the website, profiling each of our baseball players before the game on Friday.
  • (User 2) Awesome! And make sure you get the stats from two seasons ago, so you can show those on each player's page.(User 3, Jeff) Ummm, by Friday? Gee thanks, guys. I had a date on Thursday, NTIM :(
  • (User 1) Did you read the news today? The USA is over 1 trillion dollars in debt for government spending. How the heck did this happen?(User 2) We had to wage two wars, shut down several bankrupt banks, and rescue three major car manufacturers.
  • (User 3) NTIM, but this country is built on debt. The families who own the Federal Reserve are all laughing their heads off as they prepare to print another trillion dollars of FIAT money for our government.
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thx = 'thanks'
thx = 'thanks'. Yulyart / Getty

THX- Thanks

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o gawd = 'oh god!'
o gawd = 'oh god!'. Van de Meer / Getty

O GAWD - Oh God

O Gawd is the same expression as OMG.  It is used to express dismay, shock, surprise.  It is often used during moments of extreme embarrassment, either by the writer, or by someone the writer witnesses.

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u ok = 'are you ok?'
u ok = 'are you ok?'. Brand New Images / Getty

UOK - Are You OK?

'Are You OK?' is a question expressing concern.  This is meant for personal relationships where the parties are good friends, or at least cordial acquaintanaces at work.  


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WDYMBT - What Do You Mean By That?

This expression asks for clarification when a person is unclear.

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XOXOXOX - Kisses

This is a decades-old expression that dates to the days of handwritten letters. It is used to show non-verbal affection

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BTW - By the Way

BTW is used to change converstion topics for the sake of information.  Exactly in the same manner as in face-to-face conversation, you would use btw to politely shift the online conversation towards some tidbit that you need to relay.

  • e.g. BTW, there are going to be office visitors tomorrow at 1pm
  • e.g. your cellphone voice mail isn't working, btw. It just keeps ringing and ringing.


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DH and DW

DH - Darling Husband

DW - Darling Wife

DW and DH are affectionate (and sometimes: sarcastic) terms for one's spouse. Decades ago, 'old lady' and 'old man' were common... today, we say more-affectionate versions of the same in just two letters. This expression is used both in uppercase or lowercase format when typed into an email or instant message.

DH and DW have multiple related abbreviations:
  • BF (Boyfriend)
  • GF (Girlfriend)

Other common abbreviations used in online messaging include:

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CYA - See Ya  

(variation: CUL8R  - See You Later)

CYA and CUL8R are 'goodbye for now' expressions, very similar to BBIAB or TTYL.  Use CYA when you need to end the conversation and go about your business.

While, you would not use this shorthand for professional email conversations, CYA is very common in personal text messaging and online chat.


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QFT - Quoted for Truth

This peculiar QFT acronym expression stands for "Quoted For Truth". It has two particular meanings when used in a discussion forum.

1) QFT is an expression of agreement and support, where the user stands behind you and one of your statements. This commonly occurs in controversial topics where opinions are very heated, and people will choose sides in an argument. If someone "quotes you for truth", they are paying you a compliment, and siding with you in the discussion. 

2) QFT can also be used to preserve an original forum post, so that the original author cannot edit after the fact. A user who copy-pastes the original forum content will sometimes put the letters "QFT" at the top of the copy-paste. It is a type of forensic stamp, commonly used during very heated discussions on a controversial topic. The original author can no longer change their original text, because it is now preserved through someone else's post. The original author is prevented from denying what they originally wrote because the QFT public copy can refute any denial.

See examples of QFT here.

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GG = Good Game

GJ = Good Job

GG and GJ are shorthand for saying 'good work', or 'congratulations to everyone, we achieved the result'. Some people will even say "gee gee" out loud in face-to-face conversations.

This expression was spawned by online gamers to thank their teammates after a match. In 2011, GG and GJ are very popular as daily expressions of gratitude and congratulations.

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TTYL - Talk to You Later

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NP - No Problem

NP is a jargon way to say "you're welcome", or to say "not to worry about that, everything is fine".  You can use NP right after someone thanks you in instant messaging.  You can also use NP when someone turns down your request or invitation, and you want to tell them that there are no hard feelings.

Example of NP

  • (first user) We could really use a designated driver tonight.  Are you available? We'll pay for dinner and soft drinks.
  • (second user) Sry, I really need to get some sleep.
  • (first user)  Sure, np, we'll get Jeff or Salma to drive.  Have a good Friday!
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PLZ - Please

PLZ is the shorthand way of saying "please".  This is a straightforward acronym that is good to use in daily personal conversation.


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This peculiar acronym expression stands for "Ok" or "message acknowledged". It is the same as nodding in person or saying "gotcha".  KK is becoming more popular than OK because it is easier to type.

The other bit of history behind "kk" is the 1990's expressions "k, kewl". Translated, this expression meant "ok, cool", but was stylistically spelled otherwise. "k, kewl" undoubtedly also influenced the use of kk in today's online chatting.

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BIO - Bio Break

Bio is a common term when you do realtime chat with regular friends.  Very similar to AFK (Away from Keyboard), the bio expression says that you are stepping away to go to the washroom, and will return very soon.

Bio is a regular expression used amongst online gamers.  When gaming sessions can often go for 2 or 3 hours at a time, it is natural for people to need to dash to the washroom.  Expect to see 'bio' if you get into online gaming and MMORPG culture.

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MTFBWY - May the Force Be With You

"MTFBWY" is the slang acronym for "May the Force Be With You". It is a coloquial way of saying "good luck / take care" when someone leaves an online chat conversation.

"MTFBWY" is often spelled all uppercase, but can be also spelled "mtfbwy". All versions mean the same thing. Just be careful not to type entire sentences in uppercase, as that is considered rude shouting.

Examples of MTFBWY usage:

  • (first user:) OK, peeps. I'm off to break the news to wifey. I hope she doesn't kick me in the nuts over the dent in the car.
  • (second user:) good luck man!
  • (third user:) MTFBWY!
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IRL - In Real Life

Also: RL - Real Life

IRL is the expression for "in actual practice" or for referring to "one's life away from the computer/phone".  People commonly use this expression when they are making an argument for something, and want to claim that their suggestion is the most practically useful.  IRL is also a humorous way to refer to one's responsibilities and stressors away from the computer and telephone".


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BTAM - Be That as It May

BTAIM is used to say "while that may be true, there is something else to consider". BTAIM can be a polite gesture to acknowledge someone else's viewpoint in a conversation. BTAIM can also be a used to show that you are about to be devil's advocate for your own opinion. Example of BTAIM usage:

  • (first user:) Forbidding people from outright using cell phones in cars is the only way to reduce distracted driving.
  • (second user:) BTAIM, there will always be people who abuse any policy. Forbidding everyone from using cell phones in their cars, even with hands-free microphones, will ultimately cost more than what it gains us.
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FWIW - For What It's Worth

Just like in face-to-face expression, the FWIW phrase is used to preface a humble comment of optimism.  You will use FWIW when the topic is emotional, and the other person is upset or feeling despair, but you still wish to offer some kind of condolence or positive remark.

A good time to use FWIW is right after your friend messages "FML", and you wish to offer some kind of reply that will make them feel better.


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JTLYK - Just to Let You Know

JTLYK is used to preface information-sharing that could be uncomfortable, or could change previous arrangements for group activities.  Commonly, JTLYK means that the information is important, and conveying it is both critical and courteous.

e.g. User 1:  JTLYK:  Sue will be late for practice tonight.  She has to pick up her car from the shop right at 4:45pm.

e.g. User 2: Suresh, JTLYK the menu for the staff party does include vegetarian dishes right now, but that could change if we get a different caterer.

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COO - Cool

This is largely a west-coast expression, spawned in California.  "Coo" is a stylish way of saying "Cool" or "I definitely approve of this".  Coo does not really save you typing time, but it will set you apart as having a different speaking style than people around you.

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Noob - Newcomer / Rookie / Amateur

Also: Nub 

Also: Newb

Also: Noobie

"Newb" means "newbie/newcomer" or "amateur/rookie", a derogatory description for the new person in the group.  Newb is also spelled "Noob" (both rhyme with "tube"). There is the variation spelling "nub" (which rhymes with "tub"). All mean the same thing. 

Newb / noob / nub is used to express condescension or harsh impatience towards a new participant in the community. The term implies that the new person is unskilled and inexperienced, and has yet to earn the people's respect.

Yes, it is possible to use newb as a type of awkward expression of affection, but the term is inherently a harsh word, so be careful how and when you use it. 

Newb / noob / nub is often used with another expression of frustration, RTFM. 

Examples of newb / noob / nub usage:

  • Did you see the noob that the boss just hired? Get a load of the tie he's wearing!
  • Sergeant: what's with all the nubs? We don't have enough room in these barracks!
  • OK, noobs. Welcome to our gaming clan. Now get ready to earn your membership, because this next fight is set to hard mode.
  • What are you, a newb? Fer chrissake, RTFM and turn off your caps lock if you want to be a part of this forum.
  • OK, listen up, nubs: we expect all of you to have flask buffs in place before we start a boss fight. Our gaming guild assumes that you have basic knowledge, so please don't disappoint us with stupid newb mistakes. 


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