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What Is 'WTF'? What Does WTF Stand For?

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Man shocked by the news he has just learned
Bojan Kontrec/E+/Getty Images
Question: What Is 'WTF'? What Does WTF Stand For?
You see the expression 'WTF' used in instant messaging, chat, and even email. But what exactly does WTF stand for? About.com explains WTF below...
Answer: WTF stands for 'What the F*ck', a phrase to express dismay or shock. WTF is regularly used to curse publicly without actually uttering profanities. In modern Internet messaging, 'WTF' will often start a statement around something that is unbelievable. It is also used to end a statement where the user wants to express dismay, surprise, or confusion.

Examples of WTF as a written expression:
  • 'WTF is wrong with people? Why are all these shootings happening in schools?'
  • 'The boss just smashed his computer and walked out. WTF?'
  • 'WTF? Who thought up this stupid law? This isn't enforceable.'
  • 'Why are we even arguing about sales tax? WTF is the point of this debate?'
  • 'WTF are we doing invading Iraq? What's the point?'
LOLcats' visual use of the WTF expression:

The folks at IcanHazCheezburger.com have immortalized the 'WTF' expression as a photographic meme (viral bit of humor culture). Today, thousands of doctored photos of dismayed housecats travel around the Internet, sporting 'WTF' as a caption.

WTF as a modern form of spoken cursing:

WTF has grown to widespread use beyond email and text messaging. WTF has now also become a common type of swear phrase. More and more people will actually utter 'dub-ya-tee-eff!' out loud in daily conversation as a form of polite cursing.

WTF is one of many colloquialisms that have become popular because of email and the World Wide Web. Here are 322 other common Internet expressions and acronyms...

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