Internet and Text Slang
When it comes to slang and texting, less is more. Text abbreviations like OMG are a type of shorthand used to save time and space when we communicate online. Like most slang, they are also cool. Most abbreviations are created by using the first letter of each word that is represented. In our native language, we learn these abbreviations easily through context and frequency. If English is not your native language, you might feel left out of (excluded from) the conversation. Are you ready to learn some internet slang and put your FOMO to an end?
Text Messaging and Online Chat Abbreviations (약어)
There are thousands of text and chat abbreviations. Learning all of them would be both overwhelming and unhelpful. Below, I have chosen 32 of the best and most common text slang for you to learn. They are divided into 2 categories of abbreviations: initialisms and acronyms. There is also a short bonus category at the end of this post, which includes numbers. First, let’s look at the 2 main categories or types of abbreviations.
An initialism is an abbreviation consisting of the first (initial) letter of the content words, and the letters are pronounced separately. They are not pronounced as words. Some common examples include CPU (central processing unit), FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation), and BLT (a bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich).
An acronym is an abbreviation that is also created using the first letter of words. However, acronyms are pronounced as if they were words. Some common examples include NASA, SCUBA, and UNICEF.
In the audio recording below, you will hear how each abbreviation is pronounced. Many initialisms have not crossed over from text lingo to being spoken. I will say all of them as they would be said, but the ones in bold typeface are ones that are not only used in texting and social media but are also spoken. Of course, they are an informal style of speech.
Audio Recording of Each Abbreviation
Internet Slang Guide
|BRB||Be right back||I will be right back. Used when you need to stop texting for a moment.|
|CU||See you||I will see you later.|
|EOD||End of day (5:00 p.m.)||Explained on Indeed along with COB (close of business)|
|ETA||Estimated time of arrival||What’s your ETA? / ETA 5 minutes|
|FYI||For your information||This is for your information. / Just FYI: My ETA is 3pm.|
|HRU||How are you?||Good explanation here.|
|JSYK||Just so you know||Used before giving someone information. (replacing FYI)|
|K||Okay||It’s okay. / That’s okay.|
|ILY||I love you.||❤ Used as both an initialism and acronym. Explained here.|
|IMO/IMHO||In my opinion||In my humble/honest opinion – Explained here.|
|IRL||In real life||Explained well here|
|LMAO||Laughing my ass off||Used when something is very funny.|
|LOL||Laughing out loud||I am laughing out loud. – Used when something is funny.|
|NP||No problem||It is not a problem. (I will explain the many uses of this idiom in an upcoming post.)|
|NSFW||Not safe for work||This is not safe for work. Used as a warning not to view something at work where your boss or coworkers might see it.|
|OMW||On my way||I am on my way. = I am coming to where you are now.|
|SMH||Shaking my head||Used to express disapproval, disagreement, and disbelief.|
|SOML||Story of my life||Explanation and examples here.|
|TGIF||Thank God it’s Friday||Thank God it’s Friday. Used to express happiness that it is Friday.|
|TIL||Today I learned||Usage explained here with examples|
|TMI||Too much information||That is too much information. Used when someone shares private information like bathroom habits or private medical details.|
|TTYL||Talk to you later||I will talk to you later. Used at the end of a texting session.|
|WTF||What the f***||Used to express surprise or annoyance|
|ASAP||as soon as possible||Used as both an initialism and acronym.|
|BAE||before anyone else||Fully explained here.|
|FOMO||fear of missing out||Social anxiety that something interesting or exciting is happening elsewhere.|
|JOMO||joy of missing out||Enjoying what you are doing instead of having FOMO.|
|YOLO||You only live once.||Explained well here|
Want 2 Learn More Text Abbreviations?
For a more comprehensive A-Z list of 1,650+ abbreviations, head over to Vangie Beal’s Huge List of Texting and Online Chat Abbreviations. It includes abbreviations used in texting, online chats, Twitter, Facebook, and gaming. I’ve searched the web and this list is both the most comprehensive and the easiest to use. Beal’s list also includes other common text abbreviations that use characters and numbers, like the ones below.
|?||I have a question. / I don’t understand. (depending on the context)|
|L8R||Later –> Used as a way to say goodbye.|
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OMG! I didn’t include OMG in my list! Well, to be fair, I think you probably already know it. But just in case, I’ll explain it. OMG is an expression used to express shock, excitement or disbelief. It stands for Oh my god, but the ‘g’ can also stand for gosh or goodness if you are trying to be respectful of people’s religious beliefs. People text it and also say it as an initialism. It is a VERY common spoken abbreviation. Okay, TAFN (that’s all for now).