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Text Message and IM Jargon, 2014

a Dictionary of Modern Text Message Terms

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2014 is all about handheld internet. Our messages need to be short and thumb-friendly for typing. Yet we still need to pack in meaningful information along with the baseline ingredients of courtesy and etiquette.

Hundreds of bizarre jargon expressions have spawned as a result. Primarily about shorthand, the new jargon saves us keystrokes to say TY (thank you) and YW (you're welcome).  The new jargon also conveys spontaneous emotion and personal expressions ('O RLY', 'FML', 'OMG').

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

Reminder: all of these expressions mean the same thing, whether they are typed all lowercase or all uppercase.

1. HMU

HMU - Hit Me Up

This acronym is used to say "contact me", "text me", "phone me" or otherwise "reach me to follow up on this". It is a modern shorthand way to invite a person to communicate with you further. e.g. User 1: I could use some advice on buying an iPhone bersus buying an Android phone. e.g. User 2: Hmm, I read a great article on comparing those two exact phones. I have the link somewhere. e.g. User 1: Perfect, HMU! Send that link when you can!

2. TYVM

TYVM - Thank You Very Much

3. WBU

WBU - What About You?

This expression is used in personal conversations where the two parties are well acquainted.  This expression is commonly used to ask for the other person's opinion, or to check for their comfort level with the situation.

4. WB

WB - Welcome Back

This pleasant expression is common in online communities (e.g. MMO gaming), or in regular online conversations at people's work desks. When a person types 'back' to announce their return to the computer/phone, the other party types 'WB' to greet the person.

 

5. PROPS

PROPS - Proper Respect and Acknowledgement

"Props" is a jargon way to say "Proper Recognition" or "Proper Respect Due". Props is commonly used with the prepositional phrase "to (someone)". As a stylish way to acknowledge someone's skill or achievement, props has become quite common in modern text and email conversations. 

Example of props usage:
 

  • (User 1) Props to Suresh! That presentation he gave was really darn good.
  • (User 2) Aye, big props to Suresh, for sure. He blew away all the other presenters at the conference. He put lots of work into that, and it really showed this weekend.

6. WTF

WTF - What the F*ck?

This is a blunt expression of shock and concerned confusion.  Somewhat like 'OMG', 'WTF' is used when an alarming event just occurred, or some unexpected and disturbing news was just conveyed.

7. LOL (LOLZ, LAWLZ)

LOL - Laughing Out Loud

Also: LOLZ - Laughing Out Loud

Also: LAWLZ - Laughing Out Loud (in leetspeak spelling)

Just like ROFL, LOL is used to express spontaneous humour and laughter.  It is perhaps the most common text message expression in usage today.

You will also see variations like LOLZ (a version of LOL, ROFL (Rolling on Floor Laughing), and ROFLMAO (Rolling on Floor, Laugh My Ass Off). In the United Kingdom, PMSL is also a popular version of LOL.

"LOL" and "LOLZ" are often spelled all uppercase, but can also be spelled "lol" or "lolz". Both versions mean the same thing. Just be careful not to type entire sentences in uppercase, as that is considered rude shouting.

 

8. OMG (AMG)

OMG - Oh My God!

Also: AMG - Ah, My God!

OMG, just like 'O Gawd', is a very common expression for shock or surprise.

Example of OMG

  • (first user:) OMG! My cat just walked across my keyboard and launched my email!
  • (second user:) LOLZ! Maybe kitty is checking on his eBay bids! ROFLMAO!

9. FTW

FTW - For the Win

FTW is an internet expression of enthusiasm. While there were nastier meanings in previous years, FTW today commonly stands for "For the Win". It is an expression of enthusiasm. "FTW" is the same as saying "this is the best" or "this item will make a big difference, I recommend using it"!"
  • e.g. "anti-lock braking, ftw!"
  • e.g. "spellchecker, ftw!"
  • e.g. "low-carb diets, ftw
*In decades past, FTW had a much harsher meaning. Read more about FTW here...

10. TTT

TTT - To the Top

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