Helping Learners Understand Spoken English

Internet Slang Guide

Internet Slang Word Cloud

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

InitialismStands for…Explanation
BRBBe right backI will be right back. Used when you need to stop texting for a moment.
CUSee youI will see you later.
EODEnd of day (5:00 p.m.)Explained on Indeed along with COB (close of business)
ETAEstimated time of arrivalWhat’s your ETA? / ETA 5 minutes
FYIFor your informationThis is for your information. / Just FYI: My ETA is 3pm.
HRUHow are you?Good explanation here.
JSYKJust so you knowUsed before giving someone information. (replacing FYI)
KOkayIt’s okay. / That’s okay.
ILYI love you. ❤ Used as both an initialism and acronym. Explained here.
IMO/IMHOIn my opinionIn my humble/honest opinion – Explained here.
IRLIn real lifeExplained well here
LMAOLaughing my ass offUsed when something is very funny.
LOLLaughing out loudI am laughing out loud. – Used when something is funny.
NPNo problemIt is not a problem. (I will explain the many uses of this idiom in an upcoming post.)
NSFWNot safe for workThis is not safe for work. Used as a warning not to view something at work where your boss or coworkers might see it.
OMWOn my wayI am on my way. = I am coming to where you are now.
SMHShaking my headUsed to express disapproval, disagreement, and disbelief.
SOMLStory of my lifeExplanation and examples here.
TGIFThank God it’s FridayThank God it’s Friday. Used to express happiness that it is Friday.
TILToday I learnedUsage explained here with examples
TMIToo much informationThat is too much information. Used when someone shares private information like bathroom habits or private medical details.
TTYLTalk to you laterI will talk to you later. Used at the end of a texting session.
WTFWhat the f***Used to express surprise or annoyance
AcronymStands for…Explanation
ASAPas soon as possibleUsed as both an initialism and acronym.
BAEbefore anyone elseFully explained here.
FOMO fear of missing out Social anxiety that something interesting or exciting is happening elsewhere.
JOMOjoy of missing outEnjoying what you are doing instead of having FOMO.
YOLOYou 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)
2N8/2NTE Tonight
L8R Later –> Used as a way to say goodbye.

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Slang & Informal English E-book


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).