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Text Abbreviations You Should Know

Depending on your age (or the age group you communicate with), text abbreviations can be a bit of a minefield. Knowing the meaning of these terms will keep anyone with a phone, social media or even just web access from being constantly confused in the digital world.

Sign saying: YOLO!

So, a good one to start with is IDK because it literally means “I don’t know,” which might be how you feel about all these text abbreviations before you learn what they stand for. Particularly if you still think LOL means "lots of love". It doesn't, it means "laughing out loud". Which, by the way, is one notch down from ROFL (“rolling on the floor laughing”) or JBOL ("just burst out laughing"). Or, it may just be a case of TNTL - “trying not to laugh.”

Short for “you only live once,” YOLO is a rallying cry for living life to the fullest and all that entails, especially in the social media sphere. Going bungee jumping for the first time? YOLO! Although, if you're not really going bungee jumping, you could add JK, which means “just kidding.” Or, if you really are, and you're looking for an alternative to YOLO, you could use NBD - "no big deal." If you have always wanted to go bungee jumping, but haven't, this may cause you a degree of FOMO, the “fear of missing out.”

Here are some more text abbreviations to bring you up to speed:

LMK: This one translates to “let me know,” and it’s useful in all sorts of situations for nudging or putting the ball in someone’s court.

ILY: Short for “I love you.” This is, needless to say, a pretty casual way to say those words.

OMW: If you were supposed to be at dinner 10 minutes ago but you’re still blow-drying your hair, try texting your significant other something like “OMW, see you soon.” OMW means “on my way” and is often used when you’re not even really on your way… but will be soon.

IRL: This is a great one because it’s often a relationship builder. It means “in real life” (as opposed to online or over the phone) and is great for saying things like “Would love to see you soon IRL!”

TMI: "Too much information."

YNK: "You never know.”

FR: Stands for “for real.” You can use it when you agree with somebody, or if you are trying to stress the authenticity and “realness” of a statement you’re making.

ICYMI: This one might’ve confused you on Facebook or Instagram, but it’s a pretty useful text abbreviation to have handy, as it just means “in case you missed it.”

TLDR: This means “too long, didn’t read” and is a common response to long-winded, rambling opinion pieces.

FWIW: One of the most snarky-but-still-polite text abbreviations out there, because it’s a great opener, translating to “for what it’s worth.” It’s a kinder way of preambling a strong opinion and can be used in situations like “FWIW, I never liked your boyfriend anyway.” Another one that can cause the recipient to brace themselves, IMO means “in my opinion.” Or, you could have used TBH - "to be honest."

Hopefully, you can now venture out into the texting / social media world with a bit more authority.


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