Whether you're a Post Millennial who is well-versed in the language of the internet or a frustrated Baby Boomer wondering why everyone seems to be speaking in code, this online slang dictionary is for you. The English language has always evolved with new generations as euphemisms and other alternative or hidden meanings replaced original definitions of words. In the age of the internet, this language evolution has exploded at a rate few can keep up with. This list is a comprehensive guide to some of the more popular phrases currently being used online.
Here Are The Online Slang Dictionary
Starting with one of the more popular and older phrases, this stands for “Laugh out loud,” “Laughing out loud,” or “Lots of laughs.” More recently, it also can refer to the popular online video game “League of Legends.” It used to simply denote laughter, but it can also be used to show empathy, such as, “I love that band too lol”
A variant of LOL, it means, “Rolling on the floor laughing.” It is almost always used to denote laughter, often a great deal of laughter. It is, of course, not a literal statement of that action taking place.
This term has the same meaning as LOL, meaning, “Laugh out loud.” The Z is pronounced and ties to the added internet slang of adding Z to words, such as “Haz,” “PLZ, ” etc. This creative spelling is often meant as a joke and sometimes is used with purposefully bad grammar.
This is an abbreviation for “Lots of laughing out loud.” There can be many more “O” and “L” letters added, meant to imply more laughter, as in “LOLOLOLOL. ”
There are several variants that can mean “Oh my god,” or “Oh my gosh.” It has become such a popular phrase that it is not only used on the internet but also aloud; a person might say, “OMG, I completely forgot!” Few other abbreviations have carried over into normal conversations like this.
“Be right back.” Before texting, this acronym was used during chats or instant messaging to indicate that the speaker was leaving the computer and therefore couldn’t read any new messages. With the advent of texting, it is still used, but generally now means either the sender will not look at their phone for a few minutes, or the person is about to come back to a physical location, like home or school.
This stands for “I don’t know.”
This is shorthand for, “Best friend forever.” It is the more exaggerated version of BF, which simply means “Best friend.” Both are used almost interchangeably, as the term BFF is known to be over-exaggerated.
This stands for, “How (a)bout you?” The question mark is implied, so a text will often just read: “HBU.”
I Can’t Even
This phrase originated with singer Kacey Musgraves during a Grammy Award acceptance speech. It means that you cannot do or say what you would like to. It can simply mean, “I’m speechless.”
“Just kidding.” It is used at the end of a sentence that is meant to be a joke.
This stands for, “You only live once.” It was first used by the rapper Drake in his 2011 album, “Take Care.” It has since become extensively popular on the internet. Often carrying an ironic connotation, it is generally used to promote a self-destructive or ill-advised decision. An example would be, “I just ate an entire cake by myself. YOLO.” Because of the implicit irony, it is often used as a derogatory statement. Millennials, those born roughly between 1981 and 1996, have often been referred to as the YOLO Generation.
This means, “Shaking my head.” Often used in a judgmental sense, it indicates the speaker is looking down or disapproving of the subject.
Here's A Video of SMH Meaning and Pronunciation
This stands for, “What you doing?” It can also be used as, “What (would) you do?” This second meaning is generally used after a hypothetical situation is explained, like, “Someone steals your car. WYD?”
This acronym means, “Hit me up.” It is used as a request to be contacted. The individual wants someone to call, text or otherwise message. It could be used for a specific person, as in, “HMU when you’re home,” or it can be used in the general sense, like, “I’ve got nothing to do. HMU.”
Here's A Video on What is The Meaning of HMU?
“To be honest.” This emphasizes that the speaker is telling the truth. It can be used as an insult, as in, “TBH I never liked you.” It can also be used as a way to say how the individual really feels, like, “I think you’re pretty TBH.”
Standing for “Not safe for work” or “Not suitable for work,” this phrase usually marks a post or message that contains adult material. It is used to warn the reader that a picture, video or message contains nudity, violence, strong language or other adult themes. NSFW, therefore, doesn’t only mean that the content would not be safe to view in most workplaces, but more broadly that it isn’t suitable for a variety of audiences.
This term means “One true pairing.” It uses the language of destiny and true love to describe two people who are particularly well-suited for each other. Often used to refer to fictional characters, it can be used either for people who are already in a relationship or to describe people you believe would make a good couple.
This is the combination of angry and hungry. It refers to someone who is rude or impatient while waiting for food.
A short version of “relationship, ” it can be used either as a noun or as a verb, as in, “I ship them.” The phrase means that you approve of a relationship or you can imagine two individuals would be good in a relationship.
This stands for “Women crush Wednesday,” or “Woman crush Wednesday.” It began on Twitter but is now used throughout the internet. It is connected with a picture, video or story about a particular woman or women that you find attractive, admirable or inspirational. It began by asking users to post WCW specifically on Wednesdays but can also be used on other days.
Very similar to WCW, this refers to, “Man crush Monday.” The idea is that you post an image, video or story about a man or men that you find attractive or that you look up to. Although it is generally used only on Monday, it can be used on other days as well.
This means, “Throwback Thursday.” Again, this phrase is designed to go with a post, in this case one of an older picture or memory that you wish to share, most often on Thursdays.
This acronym became popular before TBT, but it has the same meaning. It stands for, “Flashback Friday.” The idea is still to share something you wish to remember or feel nostalgic about. This is by far the most common use of FBF, but it can also stand for other phrases, such as, “Free beer Friday.”
The true definition of meme is a popular cultural artifact that is spread from one person to another. On the internet, a meme is usually a picture with a caption. There are a number of specific pictures used, which all have a particular type of caption. For example, some pictures are always used to make fun of someone who is socially awkward. Another meme is always used with jokes about differences between Baby Boomers and Millennials. Similar to a cartoon strip, these jokes are often very self-referential.
This means, “Ask me anything.” It started as a board on the site Reddit but is now used throughout the internet. To be taken literally, it is used to invite questions about any topic from someone who may have expertise on said topic.
A troll is someone who posts comments or articles that are intentionally divisive. The goal is to cause disruption and arguments and anger others. This is usually done flippantly. Because it is on the internet, the troll often does not face the repercussions of the comments. Trolling is the verb form for this activity. It can also include practical jokes.
This word comes from the past tense of “light.” It has been used to mean someone who is severely intoxicated. Now it has taken on a more general meaning and is often used to simply mean very exciting. For example, “This party is lit!” doesn’t necessarily mean any alcohol or drugs are involved.
From the past tense of awake, “woke” has come to mean being culturally aware. Someone who is woke understands not only the current cultural events but also remembers key areas of history. It is often used in reference to African-American heritage and issues surrounding race.
This stands for “In real life.” One of the more obvious internet slang phrases, it generally is used at face value.
This is a term of affection that is usually used romantically. The word has two very similar meanings. It can be an acronym for “Before anyone else.” It also could be short for “babe” or “baby. ” While generally referring to one’s girlfriend or boyfriend, it can also be used for a close friendship that is not necessarily romantic.
This vulgar phrase means, “As f--k.” It is an exaggeration of whatever comes before it, for example, “He is strong AF.” While the acronym stands for a vulgar phrase, it is often used in contexts where it would be inappropriate to say the full phrase. It can be used as a code word, or as a less explicit version of the same feeling.
This stands for, “Talk to you later.” A quick way to say goodbye, you can also say GTG TTYL, or “Got to go, talk to you later.”
Usually used when telling an unfortunate or tragic story about yourself, this phrase stands for “F--k my life.” It is usually posted at the end of a story as a separate sentence, as in, “My car won’t start for the third day in a row. FML.”
This acronym carries two meanings. The most common is, “For the win.” This term is used as a cheer or congratulatory exclamation. FTW can also mean, “F--k the world.” This vulgar version can carry the same triumphant feeling or it can have a similar message to FML.
An abbreviation of “What you mean?” this is a shortened version of the full sentence, “What do you mean?”
A shortened version of “Turned up,” this expresses a great deal of excitement, or that an exciting event is about to take place. It can sometimes refer to the use of alcohol or drugs, but that is not always the case.
Here's A Video About TURNT: What's That Slang?!
There are several meanings for RT. The most common is “Retweet.” This is a phrase used often on Twitter or other social media sites. It is requesting to repost or reblog a status or post. RT can also mean, “Real talk,” which means to discuss a serious matter or speak with the truth. A third meaning is, “Real time,” referring to an event that is taking place at the moment, rather than the past or future.
This stands for, “Too long; didn’t read.” It’s used in two ways. First, you can use this if someone posts a message or story that is too long for you to read. The second, more common usage is to append a short summary to a longer story. For example, if you write an entire story about finding money after a bad day, you could conclude, “TL;DR: I found five dollars.”
This is a quick way to type the word “Great.”
This is a shortened version of the word “Later.”
This phrase came from online gaming groups and is still most often used in that context. It is a misspelling of the word “own/owned.” The word was originally accidentally written this way, but it has carried on as an intentional typo.
This phrase is generally used in internet chatrooms. It stands for, “Age, sex, location.” It is a quick way to find out three important questions about the individual you are speaking with. This is, of course, only useful if you do not know the person and is often used when the speaker is seeking a relationship.
This means, “Like my status.” It is used on social media sites like Facebook and is usually paired with an offer from the speaker, as in, “LMS for my favorite memory of us.” It can also mean, “Last man standing,” but that is a much rarer use of the acronym.
“Too much information.” It is generally used as a complete sentence without any other words. It usually means the person has given you too much personal information. It can also be used if you receive too much uninteresting or irrelevant information.
Standing for, “Nevermind,” this can also be expressed as NM.
The figurative action of putting your hand over your face, this word is used to convey embarrassment, often on behalf of the other person rather than yourself.
This means, “In my humble opinion.” It is a phrase that is usually used genuinely when attempting to express your opinion without starting an unnecessary argument.
This refers to someone who is extraordinarily cool, popular or skilled in a particular area.
This abbreviation for “Direct message” is popular on Twitter, where there is a function to privately message one person, but it can be used on other social media sites as well.
This refers to being treated like a friend when you wish to be in a romantic relationship with someone. It is often used as a verb, as in, “He’s been friend zoned.” It implies one person wants to remain, only friends, while the other person wants to have a more serious relationship.
This is a shortened version of the word “Suspicious.” It is still used as an adjective.
Not frequently used, this term means, “Explain it like I’m five years old.” It is used to ask for an extremely simplified version of a story or process.
This term from gaming is often used on the internet to indicate a very close friend group, for example, “I’m going out to eat with the squad tonight.”
By the time you read through this list, there will probably be more words and acronyms to learn. Internet slang is constantly changing and expanding. There may still be instances where you need to ask the meaning of certain words or phrases, but now you have a comprehensive internet slang vocabulary. Be cautious using a term without understanding the meaning, but be confident knowing you can understand far more hidden messages with this dictionary.
Online Slang Dictionary
Internet slang will continue to evolve, but understanding communication in this moment is key to keeping up with further developments. Much of internet slang is acronyms that stand for phrases or sentences. Some slang is shortened versions of other words. Internet slang is often created to communicate faster, rather than the desire to create a secret code language. Here is an online slang dictionary for wherever you travel on the web.