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Instant Message Jargon

a Dictionary of Modern Text Message Terms


2013 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. 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.

2. KK


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.

3. W/E

W/E - Whatever

W/E is a dismissive term, often used as a rude way to diminish someone's comment.  It is a way of saying 'I'm not interested in arguing this point any more', or 'I disagree, but I don't care enough to make an issue of it.'

4. 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.


TYVM - Thank  You Very Much

6. 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!

7. GTG

GTG - We're Good to Go

Also: GTG - I've Got to Go


GTG is a way of saying "I'm ready" or "we're ready". It is common when messaging to organize a group event, and everything is in order.

e.g. User 1: Did you get the buns and soda pop for the picnic?

e.g. User 2: Just need the buns and then GTG.


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.

9. IDC

IDC - I Don't Care

You would use IDC when you are trying to make a decision with your messaging friend, and you are open to multiple options. While IDC is largely an emotion-less term, it can sometimes convey a negative attitude, so it is best to use this expression with friends and not new acquaintances.

e.g. User 1: we can meet at the mall first, then head to the movie in one car, or we all meet in front of the movie ticket box. Wut would you like?

e.g. User 2: IDC, you pick.

10. 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!
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